I walked into the Des Moines, Iowa Planned Parenthood on September 1, 1988 and underwent an abortion. I never thought I may one day need my medical records from that place. I wasn't thinking of much other than hope that Planned Parenthood could get rid of my "problem pregnancy." I had gone all summer suspecting I was pregnant but quickly dismissed the possibility. After all, I had just started birth control pills I had obtained from the Fort Dodge, Iowa Planned Parenthood in May of that year.
Ten years ago, I was able to obtain my records from Planned Parenthood in Fort Dodge, Iowa. But when I called to get my records from the Des Moines Planned Parenthood where I had my abortion, there were no records of me ever being a client there. I was transferred to the manager of Planned Parenthood. I asked him, "if I was a client in 1988, would I be in your computer system? He said, "yes you should be in the computer." He then began reading the names of women who shared my maiden name. He could have been reading the name of my sisters, cousins, etc exposing their privacy as a client at Planned Parenthood. So much for the "right to privacy" that they so closely guard.
I always wondered if my abortion was botched somehow. I never knew exactly how far along I was. Based on the records I did obtain, I would have been 15 to 16 weeks pregnant at the time of my abortion. My plan was adoption, but a friend gave me the number to Planned Parenthood. I decided to call them for information on abortion. The PP operator asked how far along I was and I said about 3 months. She said I needed to get in right away and told me to bring 200 dollars cash the next morning. I returned my college textbooks to obtain the cash. I did not tell my family of my plans to go to Planned Parenthood the next day. When I arrive at PP, I gave them my 200 dollars cash and sat in the waiting room what seemed like all day. I went into a "counseling" room. The woman at the desk said, "you seem sad." the reality hit home and I started to cry. She then handed me a little white pill and said, "take this, it will make you feel better." I assume it was a tranquilizer by it's affect on me. The friend with me said I was snoring in the waiting room. I don't remember them calling my name or how I even got on the exam table. I vaguely remember a male figure walking into the room. There was a loud vacuum noise and I felt excruciating pain. It felt like they were ripping my internal organs inside out. I was screaming loudly and people came in from nowhere to get in my face and yell, "just take deep breaths." When it was over, everybody in the room, including the anonymous doctor fled without a word. I was sitting in a pool of blood.
I never met the doctor who performed my abortion. He never said a word to me & I never saw his face. My plan was to move to California and place my baby for adoption. Now there is a couple in California who never got to raise the baby I aborted, Rebecca. She would have been 22 in February. I have had several pregnancy complications since my abortion, including abruption of the placenta, an ectopic pregnancy, and premature labor. I believe these complications stem directly from my abortion but I cannot prove it.
I have no records from the Des Moines Planned Parenthood. Based on my conversation with the PP manager, the doctor who performed my abortion may have been Dr. Martin Haskell. He is now a late term abortionist in Ohio. He is one of the founders of the "partial birth abortion" technique. He developed the gruesome method because it was "safer" for women. He would talk about "blindly going in", basically chopping the baby to pieces in order to suction the baby out easier. This method was more dangerous to women because as Dr. Haskell stated he "blindly went in" and often times a uterus would be punctured. with partial birth abortion, the baby is partially delivered feet first, and then the Dr. jabs scissors at the base of the babies neck. the contents of the baby's brain are then sucked out to make a "safer" delivery for the woman. I often wonder if the curette knife, dilating rods, or suction machine used in my abortion did damage that led to problems in my future pregnancy. Apparently Planned Parenthood is so concerned about a woman's "right to privacy" that they want to keep a women's medical records private even to herself.
Planned Parenthood of Fort Dodge Iowa did give me the records they had of me obtaining birth control pills from them in early May of 1988. I had been abstinent for 10 months but had recently started a new relationship. I remember specifically asking Planned Parenthood for Ortho Novum 1/50. I had been on Ortho Novum 1/50 in high school and it helped clear up my acne. The Planned Parenthood employee insisted the 1/50 was too high of a dose and prescribed Ortho Novum 1/35. I was pregnant by the end of May. Surely Planned Parenthood knows that the lower estrogen dose means a higher rate in break-through ovulation. Most young women have such busy schedules that they often miss a pill. There is also a risk of ovulation and thus pregnancy if the pill is not taken at the same time every day. Still to this day Planned Parenthood prescribes low dose birth control pills. Planned Parenthood is more than willing to fix an unintended pregnancy with a "safe & gentle abortion."
There was nothing safe or gentle about the abortion I had. Unfortunately I may never know the extent of the damage I endured from the abortion at Planned Parenthood 23 years ago. The statute of limitations has long expired for me to take legal action. I could only hope that for men & women considering abortion that they will consider the risks. Humans have a soul from conception and no matter what abortion method is used, there is always physical risk to women.