Share Your Late Term Abortion Story

For decades, Dr. George Tiller dedicated his life to providing care to women in need of late-term abortions. Because of misinformation about the number and reasons for late-term abortions, and because of the stigma surrounding abortion created by radical right-wing hate groups, the stories of women seeking out such procedures are rarely heard.

RH Reality Check has opened this forum to allow women (or their partners) who have undergone late-term abortions to tell their stories, whether using their own names, a pseudonym, or anonymously. It is simple: Use the comment boxes below to write about your story and experience. The identities of those writing anonymously are safeguarded by our system. If instead you wish to post in a reader diary, you can easily set up a diary (and remain anonymous as well) by following these simple instructions.

Because this is a forum in which can tell their stories, we will not tolerate and will promptly remove comments harassing, threatening or otherwise denigrating any woman (or her partner) posting their personal story here.

The RH Reality Check Team.

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  • invalid-0

    In the 19th week of a planned and wanted pregnancy, my water started to leak. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks trying to save the pregnancy. Then it became evident that the water was infected, the baby was in distress and I started running a fever as the infection became systemic. THe baby wouldn’t have survived if we had waited until the possibility of a “live” birth but it was very likely that neither would have I. I was induced and, as expected, my baby died during the labor. It was a horrendous thing to go through. I was sick for a long time and very depressed and I mourn my son until this day, 26 years later. However, I would never have been the mother of 3 wonderful children, ages 24, 21 and 17, had I died during that pregnancy and my husband would have been widowed as well. I am very grateful thatmy doctor terminated that pregnancy to save my life.

    • invalid-0

      Inducing labor after your water has broken is often done, as it was in this case, because there is no choice. The natural conditions ended the pregnancy. The baby happened to pass away in the process.

    • invalid-0

      Inducing labor after your water has broken is often done, as it was in this case, because there is no choice. The natural conditions ended the pregnancy. The baby happened to pass away in the process.

    • invalid-0

      I was in my 13th week of pregnancy when my water broke. I was bleeding and the water burst down my legs. I went to the doctors who confirmed using two tests that my water did break. I was also in the beginning stages of labor (as much as you can be at 13 weeks). I thought for sure I was miscarrying. An ultrasound was given and I saw my baby who obviously looked like a baby and not a bunch of cells. I could see hands, feet, a head and even a face. There was little amniotic fluid. I was told that within 24 to 48 hours I would lose my baby. There was very little chance I could reseal.

      I was on strict bedrest and required to drink a lot of water. I didn’t even move for two weeks. I felt like I was in the beginning stages of labor – I could tell because this was my second son. I was told that if my temp went above 100 degrees that I had to go in and get an D & C (I think that is the name). That was really not an option. After completely seeing my baby on ultrasound, I really couldn’t do it unless I was on my death bed. My temp was slightly above 100 degrees for a week.

      Needless to say, my baby hung on. I did reseal. He was born at 38 weeks with severe respiratory distress syndrome and was in NICU for seven days – needed surfactant and required intubation. This is rare in babies born on time. That usually occurs in babies born around 28 weeks or earlier. The possibility was lack of amniotic fluid during those crucial months.

      I met some other woman whose babies survived even given little chance of survival. Some of them had babies born severly premature but made it, These babies also had little amniotic fluid. They didn’t give up and many of them have healthy babies. The ones who didn’t have very happy children.

      Of course, it didn’t appear that my baby was infected and I didn’t go through some of the other experiences I am reading on here but I have read many success stories.

      It was suggested many times that I have a medical abortion. I am so glad I didn’t as I have wonderful healthy active 2 year old boy.

  • jodi-jacobson

    A number of stories posted by women who were helped by Dr. Tiller are posted on a website called A Heartbreaking Choice.


    The section called Kansas Stories contains contributions from these women. The most heartbreaking entries are by those who faced these horrendous and difficult decisions were demonized by the so-called pro-life protestors they encountered upon entering the clinic run by Dr. Tiller.

    Other stories on the site speak to fatal prenatal diagnosis as well as other conditions.

    I simply do not understand how anyone feels they have the right to judge these people or criticize the efforts of a doctor seeking to assist them in making the most difficult choice any parent or potential parent could possibly make.


  • invalid-0

    In 1969, when my mother was 19 years old, she had an old metal IUD put in. They told her to expect cramping and other unusual symptoms. Shortly after, she became pregnant despite the IUD. She thought she had the flu. She had random bleeding for a while and though nothing of it. It never occurred to her that she might be pregnant. By the time she realized that something was wrong and saw a doctor, it had been about 6 months and the fetus had grown around the IUD. Her abortion was an in-patient hospital procedure under general anesthesia. I know it was hard on her, but there was really no other choice. I’m just glad that there were no laws governing the care her doctor could give her and that he was just able to do what needed to be done.

  • lynda-waddington

    It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has past since RH Reality Check first afforded me the opportunity of openly discussing, and reliving some of the raw emotions, associated with the late abortion I had 14 years ago. Although I had spoken with groups of individuals about my experiences, the piece that ran here and a sister piece were really the first time I had typed it all out for public consumption.


    My story isn’t so much different than other women who have undergone late abortions. I was buzzing through life, enjoying a planned and wanted pregnancy, when a routine ultrasound discovered numerous and terminal neural tube defects. My first reaction was denial. After all, I lived in the greatest country in the world with thousands of hospitals that made technological advances each and every day. I wanted so badly for all of it to just be fixed… for there to be more options in front of me than the few horrific choices that had been explained to me. Of course, there were not and I made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.


    When I initially told my story, I was braced for the worst. I anticipated nasty e-mail messages, horrible comments and all types of sordid things. That being the case, I was not surprised when these things arrived. I was a "foolish woman," a "harlot," a "sinner," and (my personal favorite) "someone incapable of ever loving anything." The words hurt and the threats were scary initially, but then I realized two things: 


    1) Once I informed those sending the truly violent notes that my intention was to hand them to law enforcement for investigation and prosecution, the really bad things went away.


    2) Those who spit the most vile comments were people who had been convinced that people like me — women who had late abortions for medical reasons — were mythical. My very presence in this world had shaken the foundation of something much larger than my one experience. 


    And, then, in the midst of everything I had expected, came an incredible blessing. Women who had also been through a late abortion began to contact me as a person who could be trusted with their story. One woman, after exchanging e-mail messages with me for more than 2 months, phoned me in tears and only wanted to tell me one thing — her dead daughter’s name. It was the first time that she had ever said it out-loud to anyone. It was the first time, she said, that she felt worthy enough to say that name and claim the child she so much wanted but had to let go due to anomalies. 


    For those women who have been in a similiar circumstance and are considering sharing their story here or elsewhere, you should know that in my experience, the good responses have out-weighed the bad 20 to 1. When you are ready, there are literally thousands of women who will read and understand all the missing emotions between the words you wrote.


    Thanks again to all the great folks here at RH.

  • invalid-0

    I posted a story about how I regret my abortion and it was removed! Why?


    • brady-swenson

      Your story was removed in error. We apologize and invite you to repost it here.

  • invalid-0

    I am just speaking from experience. I personally regret my abortion and wish I had went the adoption route. That’s all I am saying. And I just wanted to share that so maybe other young women will choose adoption over abortion and avoid the emotional damage that my abortion has caused me.

    If they still want to choose abortion, I am not going to stop them. I simply advise against it. Is that such a bad thing?

    I have no intention of taking away their choice. I simply feel adoption needs to be encouraged a little more.

    If you think that makes me some kind of extremist, well, no pun intended, but that’s a bit extreme.


  • jodi-jacobson

    You are misusing my words, perhaps purposefully.


    You are welcome to your opinion.  I never suggested that choosing adoption was extreme nor did i suggest that making women aware of adoption was extreme–but women are not stupid and assuming they do not already know about this option is demeaning. Rather, I pointed out that the defamation of Planned Parenthood with false statistics and lies about their services is a regular tactic of the extreme right.

    It is perhaps difficult to grasp this point, but I support the decisions of individual women faced with unintended/unwanted pregnancy, whether that is to terminate the pregnancy, or to bear a child and keep it, or to bear a child and choose adoption.  it is her choice.  Your regret about your abortion experience, if you in fact had an abortion, is irrelevant in the context of the next woman.  Your choices and feelings were your own; the next woman’s choices and feelings are her own.  "Encouraging" one choice over another is vastly different from offering non-directional counseling that informs a woman of all her options and supports her final decision without judgment.  Your form of "encouragement" taken beyond the statement of your own experience borders on coercion.

  • invalid-0

    Last fall I self-published a book where 46 women (including myself) shared our stories of interrupting a much-wanted pregnancy due to either a fetal anomaly or a serious complication with the mother’s health. The book is titled “Our Heartbreaking Choices” and can help to open people’s eyes to the other face of abortion. Most people see abortion as a black or white issue. But with my book I tried to show that there are many shades of gray, and sometimes abortion is the most moral option.

  • invalid-0

    I am disheartened that the news media has covered Dr. Tiller’s murder without any insight into the range of healthcare services he provided women including those faced with the heartbreaking choice of terminating their late-term pregnancy due to severe fetal anomalies and cases where there would be irreparable harm to the mother. I am one of those women and am deeply mourning Dr. Tiller’s loss.

    Ironically it is very near the June anniversary of my loss in 1997–I was very excited to go to my OB for my 26-week ultrasound (beginning of 3rd trimester) but something was very wrong–the baby was measuring at 18 weeks and my OB sent me to a major hospital where a medical team conducted a high resolution ultrasound. The confirmed diagnosis was the most severe form of osteogenisis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) and my poor little one had broken bones throughout his body and was underdeveloped. I was told my baby was “incompatible with life” and if I went through live labor and delivery, I would most likely kill my baby as he passed through the birth canal.

    I felt the most loving and humane informed choice I could make for my baby was to end his suffering; it was agony knowing that every move I made could be causing him pain. My OB arranged for me and my husband to fly to Kansas to Dr. Tiller’s clinic. We felt like fugitives having to leave our own state and could only use a certain travel agent, hotel, and cab service because of the pro-lifers stalking Dr. Tiller’s patients. We passed through protestors on our way into the clinic who were yelling at me that I had a choice. I wanted my baby, and I wanted him to live–that would have been my choice, but that is not the situation I was in.

    We could not have been treated with more dignity, compassion, love, respect, caring, etc. by Dr. Tiller and his staff. He was by my side the whole week and provided superb medical education & care. Before we left Kansas,as part of the healing process he showed me my angel boy and why he wouldn’t have been able to live on this earth. I held my baby and remember his perfect tiny little feet and his mop of black hair.

    The other couple there that week had a baby with 1/2 a brain–incompatible with life. Dr. Tiller told us of a 9 year old girl whom he’d recently helped–she had been molested and impregnated by her father and if she had carried the baby to term her body as well as her psyche would be destroyed.

    I am aching for those couples who flew to Kansas last Sunday after making a very difficult choice…..where do they go now? Who would want to take on Dr. Tiller’s work and put themselves and their families at life risk? Dr. Tiller had to take extraordinary measures for his safety as well as that of staffers and patients, and anyone associated with Dr. Tiller (including their families, friends, and even businesses in the community that served them) were targets of unbelievable harassment by supposed “godly” pro-lifers. Bill O’Reilley targeted Dr Tiller for the last few years calling him “Tiller the Baby Killer.” What would Bill say if he had a daughter in such a difficult predicament? Women like me don’t openly share our stories for fear of retribution.

    Dr. Tiller kept doing the work he was doing because he was a true advocate for women and their health and well-being. He is a brave hero and is a huge loss to this world. He was also a husband, father of four, and grandfather who was ruthlessly murdered. The killer has been dismissed as acting independently, but many of them are cheering the fact that Dr. Tiller is dead, and the majority of people in the US would not even think of supporting late-term abortion. I am hoping by sharing stories like mine, a greater education and understanding of the need to maintain women’s rights to choose as well as there being a true medical need for those grey areas of choice including late term abortions is critical.

    • invalid-0

      Whether the woman has the right to abortion? As we recognised abortion by murder, and on murder of the right are not present at anybody then, as at the woman of such right is not present.

  • progo35

     Jodi-censoring someone’s story is EXTREME. People have a right to express their opinions on a forum that asks for "your late term abortion story." If the forum invited all "late term abortion stories as long as you think it was the right decision" than that’s different, at least you’re being honest. But don’t pretend that this forum is for late abortion stories if you are going to censor the stories of those with experiences that you feel may damage your mission, or something.  



    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    I never even saw it.


    I imagine another of the editors did so because it did not meet the criteria clearly set forth in the introduction to this piece.

    As editors, and as per our clear guidelines we reserve the right to edit and/or delete any non-pertinent comments.


    If it was a late-term abortion story respectful of the other posters and within the guidelines set forth above it would not have been deleted.


    Thanks.  Jodi

  • jodi-jacobson

    Thank you for sharing the link to this book.

    I would be grateful if you could contact me privately.

  • invalid-0

    Many years ago, I underwent a late term pregnancy termination at Dr. Tiller’s clinic. Early in the pregnacy, when I still unaware I was pregnant, I had been exposed to high levels of radioactivity while working in a research lab. No physician could estimate the extent of the damage that such early exposure to ionizing radiation could do to fetus in development because it was impossible to determine the actual dose of radiation received.
    I decided to see Dr. Tiller at his clinic. I had to make my way through a bunch of demonstrators that were picketing round the clock. I saw him arrive in an armoured vehicle, escorted by body guards. I remember thinking: This is a BRAVE doctor, truly dedicated to his patients.
    His staff was outstanding. They offered me all the support I needed to make the right decision. I will NEVER forget the relief I felt when Dr. Tiller said: “It’s your choice and we are all here to help you and support you with whatever you decide”. I never regretted the decision.

  • invalid-0

    My story is not mine, but that of a friend. In 2004, a couple I knew who had tried for years to get pregnant finally conceived. They were ecstatic with joy, and all of our friends with them. For 5 months they planned and decorated their to-be child’s room. Then one day they came home from their routine OB appointment, both shaken and crying. Their longed-for baby was anencephalic – it had no skull, barely a brain stem. Its “life” was merely involuntary reflexes and cell growth. They were shattered. All this time and finally, after hoping and dreaming and celebrating, to lose that. After much discussion with their doctor and parish priest they decided on a late-term abortion, which required a flight and hotel stay. Several of us got some money together and were able to hire an artist who specializes in memorializing babies who die at birth or are late-term medical abortions. When my friend was finished and recovering from the D&X procedure, the nurses put a cap on her daughter’s head, dressed her in a white nightgown, and gave my friend and her husband privacy to grieve, and take the only photos they will ever have of their longed-for daughter. There was no judgment, only love and grief for their loss. A compassionate woman artist was there to do plaster molds of their daughter’s hands and feet, and take photos as they requested. Those photos and plaster casts are hanging in their bedroom.

    I cannot imagine the grief my friends went through. After losing their baby they did something even more courageous – they donated her body for scientific research into anencephaly and underwent genetic testing. Their hope was that doctors would be able to use their tragedy to help prevent the same tragedy happening to others. Such love they have, to do that. Their hearts are still loving, and desiring of children. Rather than risk another tragic pregnancy, they have become foster parents, and are working to adopt their foster children.

  • invalid-0

    On January 12, 2004 my obstetrician diagnosed my unborn baby with several and severe congenital heart defects and a kidney defect. An amniocentesis didn’t indicate my daughter had any chromosomal abnormalities. He recommended terminating my pregnancy, since the defects were extreme. He also added all the other things that “could” be wrong with her including extremely small arteries, and an unattached abdomen. I was told in the state of Iowa (where I live) that I would have to start the termination procedure that day by 5:00pm or go to Kansas.

    I felt so much pressure to make a decision but relied on my doctor’s recommendation to terminate to save my daughter from suffering. I was told that she would endure many surgeries, will probably need a heart transplant, and most likely would die. I was told she currently had congestive heart failure and was suffering at that moment. I was devastated. I desperately wanted my daughter and was ready to have another child. I had been ill and worn down my entire pregnancy. I knew something was wrong and tried to tell the doctor’s my fears but it fell on deaf ears until I was 23 weeks pregnant and they saw it on the ultrasound.

    I am a strong person but the pressure and the trust I had in my doctor plus the fear of my daughter suffering scared me to death. I didn’t know where to turn or who to trust. After careful measurements of my daughter, even though I was within Iowa law of termination, she was too big to terminate so my own doctor sent me to the wolves, Dr. Tiller.

    He gave me Tiller’s information packet and a phone in his office to call to schedule the appointment. He faxed my records and his diagnosis to Tiller.

    I researched Tiller on the Internet and found horrible accounts and terrible things written about him. My baby’s father forbid me to search any further and told me he would take care of the paperwork and travel arrangements. I again trusted someone else.

    We arrived in Wichita on January 17, 2004 and checked into the hotel. I was distraught and uncontrollably shaking. Upon arrival at Tiller’s clinic on the morning of January 18th the pro-life advocates were setting up and I was horrified. I begged my baby’s father to take me home. He covered my eyes and drove on by. I blame myself for being weak. I should have left.

    We were the first couple of four. We watched a video and they talked. I was clearly sobbing and the other mother’s were composed. I can’t speak for their feelings but they were chatting and seemed fine. I couldn’t understand that. I was devastated and withdrawn. Tiller came in and spoke to the group and answered questions that this was legal, that we were all there to protect our children and our bodies. He seemed proud of himself to actually learn our names. I think he was trying to make us feel like we are people to him, but clearly I was not.

    I had to sign some forms and a form that stated I read the information and was within the 24 hour waiting period. I had not read that information but my fiance said he did and that was enough. We were told we needed to pay four thousand dollars, and if I wanted to wait it would be an additional five hundred dollars every day and after 26 weeks it would be even more because he needed a second physician’s signature. As soon as we paid I was taken for an ultrasound. Dr. Tiller concluded with my doctor that the baby was not viable and then met with me in his office to explain my individual circumstance. I wanted to leave, but how can someone leave when their own doctor sent me here.

    Dr. Tiller had pictures of his family all over, and I longed for a family. He has letters of thanks framed from other mothers who suffered.

    Tiller sent me back to the waiting room. Again I sobbed. I was called back in the ultrasound room, and he gave me a twilight sedation and injected my baby with digoxin to stop her heart. He packed me with lamanaria and sent me back to the waiting room. He also told me he had to give me extra sedation as my body was fighting it and to relax or the process will be very difficult. I was allowed to use the rest room prior to that and I begged my baby for her forgiveness and told her good-bye. We waited for about an hour, then he checked for the heartbeat, and when he didn’t find one, he said “I’m sorry, your baby has died.” I wanted to scream, “You killed her!” I was sent to get hydrocodone and benadryl.

    That night I had severe cramping.

    The next day he told the group that he sent one girl back to her home state as she was only there for the digoxin shot, because the delivery would have been to risky due to prior c-section deliveries. He said he doesn’t normally do that, and went on to say, “I never want to see your cervix’s again in here, especially Whitney (the girl who was going home to deliver) because she has been here before”. I wanted to be sick.

    Tiller checked all of us and repacked me with lamanaria under sedation and sent me back to the hotel. The two other couples left were admitted to deliver because they were ready. Tiller told me I was not ready and sent me on my way. I just wanted to get it all over with. I was miserable. I was in so much pain that night. We called Edna, the nurse on duty, and she told me to take double the hydrocodone and double benadryl. That only helped for a couple of hours. We went back in and Dr. Carhart was on duty, and I sat there for what seemed like hours that night and ended up leaving. I was on a lot of medication, so it’s hard for me to remember what was said but I remember I was really afraid of Dr. Carhart. I made it through the night shaking and not eating or sleeping.

    We checked in again on January 20, 2004 nd Tiller checked me. He said I was ready to be admitted. My baby’s father had to wait while they got me in my bed. I don’t remember how I got to the room, but I remember the beds with the curtains. I remember an angel statue that I focused on to try to keep my mind clear. I was hooked up to an IV and given a pill to hold under my tongue. They then allowed my fiance to join me.

    I would guess we were there for two hours and the pain got so bad I cried out. I think it was Kathy that checked me and said I should have told her I was ready to deliver. I couldn’t even stand up for fear I would deliver on the floor. She got Tiller and he gave me more of the twilight drug and I remember having the urge to push. I delivered in the bed. Then he made me stand up on my own and walk to another room and get in stir ups. He gave me more of the twilight drug, and at that point I had given up, because I don’t remember what he did then.

    I woke up back in a recovery bed and then was sent back to my hotel empty hearted and empty handed.

    On January 21st, I returned to hold my baby girl, name her, and have her baptized. I went into a room and she was wrapped in a blanket and there was a pastor there. I sobbed and sobbed as I held my daughter. She appeared perfect. I felt like I had been tricked. I felt like I was in some sort of nightmare. The pastor sprinkled water and blessed her and he actually cried at my grief. That is the first person in that awful prison that showed humanity. Edna was very proud of her “cleanup” of my baby and discussed a job working with my fiance in Iowa as he is a funeral director/embalmer.

    I was released with some prescriptions for antibiotics and more pain relievers and was told we could drive back to Iowa that day which is a nine hour drive. I don’t remember much of that drive back.

    I didn’t get any follow-up from Tiller’s office until weeks later a package arrived with my daughter’s ashes and a note saying they were thinking about me. I don’t really know if those are my daughter’s ashes or someone else’s, but I put them in an urn and a keepsake box of my horrible experience in Kansas.

    I never want to return to Kansas, I hate that state. I wish Tiller’s clinic is closed and I wish it was closed in January of 2004. I have so many regrets, and I will never forgive myself.

    Upon arrival in Iowa my ex-fiance put an obituary in the paper for my daughter citing stillborn. In my opinion to rub it in to me. He is a funeral director and has the power to do something so vicious. He made my life miserable the minute I found out I was pregnant and was relieved when termination was an option. He forced me to terminate. He guilted me into abortion by saying my daughter who is alive will suffer the most if I was in hospitals all the time with the baby, and he mocked me while we were in Wichita, and I was suffering.

    I was 34 years old at the time, so there is proof that even adults can be coerced into something they don’t feel is right. If I could convince one woman to be strong and stand up for herself and her baby, then perhaps I could relieve some of my sadness.

    • aspen-baker


      Every woman’s story with abortion is important, including yours.  There is a lot to be learned from your words and feelings and I believe that you are not alone in your experience. What you have to say should never be minimized or dismissed. I too, hope, that you have found a way to work through your grief and regret and have found strength and joy in your life.    

    • invalid-0

      Sorry, “Michelle”, but I just don’t buy your story. I work at Planned Parenthood, and there would be hell to pay for “forcing” anyone to choose abortion. We are regulated out the yazoo, and so was Dr. Tiller. No one is ever forced into an abortion at a medical facility. However, I have heard of women being forced into illegal abortions back in the day by men who “wanted it gone”, or “didn’t want the expense” of another child.

      I’ve seen anti-choicers posting stories like this on blogs before to gain sympathy for their archaic cause (sending women to the mafia doctors or back rooms in warehouses for unsanitary abortions), and many of these stories are even posted by males, posing as emotional females supposedly regretting their abortions. It’s sick.

      Please post the newspaper name and date where your daughter’s obituary was placed, if indeed any of this is true. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, and think that my request violates your privacy, try respecting the privacy of others by supporting women’s freedom to make choices in this supposedly free country.

      • invalid-0

        I’ve seen this exact story before, word for word, on an anti-choice website. It looks like copy/paste.

  • invalid-0

    My family threatened my life if I did. I had been told within the first month that something was terribly wrong and that I should have an abortion. There was a lot of excess amniotic fluid indicating genetic problems.
    I remember my father took the time to tell me “now you can have an abortion” when I was late in my pregnancy.
    I’m now divorced with split custody. I had a child that had a normal pregnancy later. My ex husband has custody of my 17 year old daughter that has to have blood transfusions every 3 weeks in order to stay alive: congenital sideroblastic anemia. She also is mentally less than one and autistic, completely nonverbal.
    I had full custody of both children until they were three and four. I reached a point where I was ready to discontinue the blood transfusions, considering them life support but my ex husband told me if she died he would kill me so I gave him custody.
    I really am disgusted that my choices and my life has been repeatedly threatened by Pro-Lifers.

  • brady-swenson

    Thank you to everyone who has shared their late-term abortion story on this thread. My apologies to Jackie M, whose story was deleted in error, as noted above. I have gone through and delete about a dozen posts that were not late-term abortion stories themselves. In this forum we ask that women with first or second hand stories about late term abortion post them, anonymously if preferred. Please do not post reactions to these stories here.

  • invalid-0

    Several years ago while I happily anticipated the birth of my second child, what was to be a routine ultrasound turned my world upside down. The radiologist noticed something, a bubble as he described it, and I was told by my doctor not to worry about it and that a repeat ultrasound would be done in 2 weeks. At that follow-up, I knew something was terribly wrong, when several doctors kept coming into and out of the room to look at my baby’s sonogram. I was then told that the baby had a rare birth defect of the lungs, in which cystic masses develop instead of a functioning organ. In the 2 weeks which had since passed, the birth defect had become very apparent. It was very severe in the left lung, completely rendering is useless, and the right lung was moderately affected. However, the pressure and increasing size of the masses as they continued to grow were literally crushing the baby’s heart, which put the baby at a high risk of succumbing to heart failure before the end of the pregnancy. Even if the baby had somehow survived until birth, there would be no way for the baby to be able to breathe and would expire. I was in shock; and desperate for help. I went to two well-respected perinatologists praying for a miracle. There would be no miracle. They agreed with the other doctors’ prognosis and told me my only options were to either wait until nature took its course or end the pregnancy. Still reeling, I ultimately decided that it was cruel to put both myself and my baby though any more suffering if I was going to end up losing her anyway. It was then that I was referred to Dr. Tiller. Both he and his staff treating my husband and I with the utmost care and respect. At no time did I feel anything other than compassion from anyone there. Dr. Tiller spoke with me often, listened to me while I cried, and held my hand. I truly feel that I received more compassion from him than any of the medical doctors that I had been in contact with in the previous weeks. Dr. Tiller will be missed and I just wanted to share my story in honor of his memory.

  • invalid-0

    I was referred to tiller’s clinic by another abortion clinic, because I was too far along or them to perform an abortion for me. That was the hardest week of my entire life.

    My father and I arrived in Wichita on a Sunday morning and Tiller had us come into the clinic that afternoon to fill out the paperwork and so he could get the waiting period out of the way. On that day, I had my one-on-one consultation with him, and I explained to him that I has been raped, and I didn’t feel like I could have the baby, but I wasn’t sure about the abortion either. He asked me if I could stand having the baby and giving it up for adoption, not knowing where he was. I said that would be hard on me. Then he asked me about my plans for the future, and I said that I planned on going to college, and he asked me if I thought I could do that having a baby. I said no, but I still was unsure about the abortion. He said that if I changed my mind and left and then wanted to come back, I would have to wait a week and it would cost my parents more money and they had already put out so much to come that far. At that point, I agreed with him that abortion was the best option for me.

    I went back into the clinic Monday morning and I met the other girls in my group. There were 8 of us including me. I only really bonded with one girl on that day. Dr. Tiller took us one by one to give us sonograms. He did mine and he told me I was almost 28 weeks pregnant and he would perform my abortion. At that point, he took out a long needle and told me that he was going to stop the fetal heartbeat with an injection to his heart. He shoved the needle into my stomach, and I jumped because it hurt. He yelled at me and told me if I move, he will just have to do it again. I stayed still and I remember staring at the ceiling trying not cry staring at this koala bear poster. After that, he and Edna did my first round of laminaria. That hurt like hell too. I kept writhing around on the table, and he got angry again. He held up his hand and told me that he was going to give me a biology lesson, that my body was bending in ways that his fingers did not and I was just making it harder on myself to move, that it would hurt worse the more I moved. After everyone in my group was done, we went into our first group counseling session with Fran. I honestly don’t remember much about the first session except for a lot of crying and Fran held my hand the whole time because I was the youngest one in the group.

    Over the next few days, they changed the laminaria and we had more counseling. The whole process was physically painful.

    Finally, Thursday came and it was time for him to induce my labor. We all were at the clinic at 6:00 am that day. Me and the 7 other girls were taken into the basement where the beds are all lined up side by side and given hospital gowns to change into. I was in the 4th bed and after we were all changed and in our beds, the nurses came around and hooked us up to IV bags. I had two IV needles stuck in me, one in my hand and the other at the side of my wrist. Then, they put in the oxytocin to induce my labor, and I immediately felt like I was going to die. The contractions were so strong and I felt like I had to pee really bad, so I told the nurse and she said I didn’t have to, it was just my water. I made her take me to the bathroom and I could not pee. She then told me it was time to go see the doctor. She took me into the operating room and I asked him for a painkiller and he told me that I would not be getting any painkillers during the procedure because it would increase my risk of complications. He told me that I better not scream or I would scare his first trimester patients upstairs. Then, he said he was going to break my water, he took long curved scissors type things and broke my water. It was just a gush and it somehow came back onto my gown and it soaked me. He got annoyed and said that now he had to change my gown. I told him that I hurt so much that I didn’t care about the stupid gown. He said he did care and he changed it. Then, he put his whole entire hand inside of me to turn the baby around. Then he took the forceps and pulled him down further. I was crying and I begged him for painkillers again and he said no, not to ask again. I had no drug addiction or any reason why he could not give me pain medication. He just told me that it would increase my risk of complications, no other explanation out of him.

    He yelled at me quite a bit throughout my procedure because I was hurting. He then sent me back to my bed and told me not to push until he told me to. I laid there for awhile and I couldn’t help it. I started to push. Then, the nurse came and took me into the bathroom where she laid this blue thing over the toilet, and she told me to start pushing. I did and on my last push, she put something in my IV that knocked me out. The next thing I remember is waking up in my bed and seeing my chart on the wall behind me. I grabbed it to look at it and that’s how I found out that my baby was a boy. Then, Edna grabbed my chart and said I wasn’t allowed to look at it. After that, I had to go back and see Tiller, and he suctioned something out of me. The next day, he did a follow up exam and that was it.

    Edna was very rude and condescending the entire time I was there. On my way our after my induction (after I had just given “birth”.) I was sitting in the private room waiting for Tiller and I had put my feet up onto the couch and she asked me if I was born in a barn and told me to get me feet off the couch.

    While I was at the clinic, he made me sign a paper saying that if I had any complications during the procedure, I would go to the nurse staying in the hotel with us, never to the emergency room.

    • invalid-0

      I’m sorry, I do believe all experiences are valid, but as someone who worked along side Dr. Tiller in an internship, I can say with confidence that your story is not indicative of ANY of Tiller’s actions… ever! In fact, it looks a lot like the manipulated accounts by women who claimed to have visited the clinic, but in truth we had no record of those women ever even setting foot inside. Of course to “prove” that these women ever visited would have required to put all our patients’ confidentiality on the line, so we never did.

      Please stop polluting Dr. Tiller’s memory with false accounts of the way he operated his clinic because face it, women are “coming out” about their experiences and there’s not a thing you can do about it.

      • invalid-0

        Count me as one who also finds Jeanne’s story about her experience in Dr. Tiller’s clinic hard to believe. Dr. Tiller treated all of his patients with respect and a caring, compassionate demeanor. According to her account, she was very young, and from what I personally observed he was extra sensitive to his youngest patients. I cannot believe that “Jeanne” would be treated any differently.

  • amie-newman

    and hope that you are or were able to find the resources needed to be able to talk about your feelings of regret; to be able to explore what happened in a safe environment. 

    From the personal relationships many of us have with those who worked with or knew Dr. Tiller, and from the immense of amount of research and time devoted to Dr. Tiller’s murder, your experience does not seem indicative of the experiences of most women who were cared for by Dr. Tiller.

    Our thoughts are with you.

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    I had an abortion when I was 15 and in my first trimester but that is not what this is about. I’m not a writer and I’m not especially good with words, but here is my story of a late term abortion. In 2001, my partner and I decided we were ready to have a baby. We agreed that she would have the first one. She was artificially inseminated. We weren’t really expecting it to work the first time, but to our pleasent surprise a few weeks later we were pregnant. We were both very excited and so were our families. She declined to have the triple screen done because her sister had had two false positives during her pregnancies. We both believed at that time that no matter what we were keeping our baby. At about 24 weeks we went in for another routine ultrasound. We were looking forward to finding out the sex of the baby. We were having a girl. I couldn’t have been happier. Then we noticed that the ultrasound technician looked a little confused. She started taking additional measurement and stills. When she left the room, we started to get concerned. She came back in with the doctor and he looked at the stills she took and that he started to do the same thing. He then explained to us that our little girl had spina bifida. We were then sent to a genetic counselor who explained what that was. After that we met with the doctor again he advised us to contact Children’s Hospital for additional testing. We made the appointments for about a week later. We spent the entire day there; her having test after test done. When they were finally finished with the tests and had all of the results, we were called into a room with 5 doctors who told us that my partner and our daughter were candidates for in-utero surgery. We were relieved. Our daughter would be fine. Then they explained to us all of the test results and that the damaged that had already been done was irreversible. They told us that with out the surgery our daughter may not live and if she did she would never walk, never talk, would never eat on her own, and that she would not have control over her bowel or bladder. We were leaning toward having the surgery. We discussed with the doctors what the process was. It was explained that my partner would have to move into the Ronald McDonald house after the surgery so that she would be close to the hospital. We were told that someone, friend or family, would have to be with her 24 hours a day after the surgery until it was time to for our daughter to be born. We are not well off. It would have been really hard to be able to take that kind of time off work and the bills for the Ronald McDonald house and for the experimental surgery would bury us. We were also told that after the surgery my partner would be on complete bed rest and that if she and our daughter made it through surgery there were no grantees. There was a strong likely hood that my partner would go into early labor and loose our daughter anyway. They also discussed the option to terminate. We were totally against it. They gave us some paperwork, told us we had two days to decide and sent us home. (2 days b/c she was 25 weeks and the law in PA is 26 weeks for termination.) I called our families and told them the news. We spent the next 2 days in isolation discussing and crying over what to do. I told her, it is your body, your decision. I loved them both. I tried to be supportive, but I didn’t want my opinion to cause resentment later. Eventually we both broken heartedly admitted that we felt the only fair thing to do for our daughter was to terminate. After the decision was made, I contacted the doctors to let them know. We were directed to another hospital and another doctor. I can’t even remember his name. He injected something into our daughter’s heart and it stopped. It was devastating. All of our hopes and dreams stopped at that moment. We were sent home and told to come back to the hospital to the maternity ward at 6pm. When we got there we were sent home because they didn’t have a bed. We spent a sleepless night waiting for the phone to ring so we could head back over to the hospital once a bed was available. When the call came my partner and I were both relieved and terrified. She spent the next 36 hours drugged up while they gave her medication to dilate her cervix. Eventually she was dilated enough that the doctor could break her water and administer pitocin. I called our families to come to the hospital. Sometime around 3 am our little girl came into the world. Our families were there for the baptism. The grandmothers and grandfathers were able to hold her. When we were getting ready to leave in the morning, one of the nurses came in with a box. It was a long time before we were able to open that box, but when we did I was so grateful to the staff at that hospital. It contained foot prints, hand prints, photos, only two articles of clothing our daughter ever wore and a record of death with both of our names (two women) listed as the parents. My partner was unable to function for a long time after this. We decided not to have a service as it would have been too painful. We had our daughter cremated. I picked up her ashes on a Wednesday. Physically my ex is fine. After this experience, we both decided we didn’t want to get pregnant again. I was supposed to have the next baby. We are no longer together, partly because of this experience. It destroyed us as individuals and as a couple. We stayed together for a couple of years after it, but it was never the same. No that I expected it not to change, but we were never able get on the same page long enough to move forward together. I’m sorry for rambling, this just isn’t something I normally share and it feels good to finally write it all out.

  • invalid-0

    Michelle, your story is very heroic and tragic. You were a victim and so was your baby. In your words are found true remorse, sadness, and a hope filled wisdom for others facing that same decision. But you shook off your victimhood the moment you took a stand and sent this post. God is merciful: rely on his mercy, forgive yourself and continue in spreading your story to others. As a fellow human being, who once faced the same choice but with a different outcome–I forgive you. Mark.

  • invalid-0

    Thank you for your candid and honest post of what a procedure with Dr. Tiller was really like. I will keep you in my prayers. Btw–you have the kind of courage that can only be born in tragedy–something we can all learn from. Mark.

  • invalid-0

    You might be selling it, but I’m not buying it.

  • invalid-0

    The previous comment was directed at Jeanne and her fake story.

  • invalid-0

    About 4 years ago I was expecting my second child and thrilled to be pregnant. I was hoping for a boy as we already had a daughter, but truth be told I would’ve been happy either way. I had some bleeding close to the end of the first trimester, but an ultrasound was done and everything looked great. I went in for my 18 week ultrasound and the technician was having a lot of trouble seeing the baby, so I was asked to drink more water. I did, and they resumed the ultrasound. We saw a heart beat, a brain, a spine, etc… and left assuming all was fine. I even went shopping for new baby clothes, disappointed that I didn’t know whether I was having a boy or a girl. When we got home there was a message from my doctor telling me that they had discovered there was a problem- the baby had an abdominal wall defect and the internal organs were outside of his body. He would need surgery immediately after birth and I was going to be transferred to a high risk pregnancy doctor, but my doctor would see me one more time to review the ultrasound report with me. When I went in for that appointment, I received more bad news. The technician had been having difficulty seeing because I had very little amniotic fluid and they had been unable to locate kidneys. The earliest I could get in for the level II ultrasound was the following week, but my doctor was very candid with me- it didn’t look good and if there were no kidneys, the child wouldn’t be able to survive. I spent a week on self-imposed bed rest practically drowning myself with water, hoping I could increase fluid production. When I went in for my level II ultrasound we found out the worst- my son had a limb wall body complex, a rare and fatal condition. He had no kidneys, a hole in his heart (and possibly a missing chamber, they were unable to get a clear picture), underdeveloped lungs, severe scoliosis and and a large abdominal wall defect. (An autopsy after his birth would show that he also had fluid on his brain and no external sex organs or anal opening). There was nothing that could be done, he wouldn’t survive. We were told we had have 30 minutes at most after his birth. The doctor offered to schedule a termination, but I wasn’t sure what to do so we declined and I decided to carry to term. If only I had realized what that meant- strangers congratulating me on my pregnancy and asking questions, depression, inability to eat and sleep. I could barley work, I couldn’t take care of my daughter, I sobbed hysterically whenever I felt movement. I went in for weekly ultrasounds to monitor him and watched as his growth slowed. My blood pressure spiked, I started to retain fluid and I was having contractions. Finally at 27 weeks my husband and I decided to end the pregnancy. We checked in on Friday night and they inserted the laminaria and I was allowed to go home. They gave me a cytotec pill to take in the am and I went back to the hospital. I had lunch and pitocin was started at 3 that afternoon. I was having contractions come and go and they would increase the pitocen every couple of hours. They turned it off overnight as my blood pressure plummeted, but turned in back on Sunday morning. My doctor stayed in the hospital most of the day and at 6 told us if something didn’t happen soon, we might have to explore other options. At 8 that night I started bleeding heavily and went in to heavy contractions which caused me to throw up. I was given morphine to help with the pain, and the rest of the night is a blur, though my husband tells me that I was hallucinating. My doctor stayed by my side the whole night, watching me. At 3 am I woke up and was told I was 8 cm and I could push if I felt ready. I pushed twice and my son entered the world silently. He was moving, however, so he was cleaned up and dressed and handed to my husband while I was checked for any problems. He was then handed to me and grasped my hand while I held him and talked to him. His eye was swollen shut and he had bruises on his head from where he had been bumping against my uterus without the protection of amniotic fluid. 28 minutes later my son died in my arms. I have peace with my decision- my son died peacefully with dignity and my husband and I were able to begin the grieving process instead of being stuck in the nightmare. After giving my body time to heal, we were able to conceive again and went on to have a healthy full term baby boy a little over a year after we said good bye to his brother. I still miss him so much I can’t describe it and it’s been almost 4 years. I think there will always be a hole in our family where he should be, but it’s a bittersweet feeling because I know that without the loss of our first son, we wouldn’t have my youngest child. I know we did the right thing for our family and our son and it has forever cemented my feeling that women are in the best position to make decisions concerning their pregnancies.

  • invalid-0

    My heart aches for you, Anonymous. Two consecutive 5-month stillbirths, after three obnoxiously easy “gestations.” (We kept trying for that little girl.)

    Many years have passed, and the loss still lives in corners of my heart and mind. Back in my day, the pre-routine ultrasound days, “these things just happen.”

    I will always be grateful that the decisions were taken out of our hands. I will always regret not knowing all the reasons.

    I could go on, but I just wanted you to know your shoes…I might have been you.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  • invalid-0

    As long as the fake story by Jeanne remains up, how are women with very REAL stories like mine supposed to feel comfortable sharing here?

  • jodi-jacobson

    could you contact me directly at or
    thanks so much.


  • amie-newman

    I appreciate what you’re saying and it is not our intention to make anyone feel unwelcome sharing their honest stories. The editorial team is discussing the best way to ensure that all women and men who want to share their authentic, honest late term abortion experiences, are able to. We do not want to censor someone’s story and yet we also do not want you to feel unwelcome sharing yours.

    For now, we will leave Jeanne’s comment up but when our entire editorial team is able to discuss this tomorrow, we may come to a different decision.

    I want you to know that we absolutely value your comment and your experience and are taking it to heart as we decide the best course of action. Thanks!

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • on-the-issues-magazine

    Thanks to all for sharing. We have to keep fighting, to make sure that there are doctors ready and willing to perform these abortions that are so necessary.

  • invalid-0

    For what it’s worth, I think your site has a right to delete stories that don’t fit what you’re asking for. You’re not a media group or organization. Your goal, it seems to me, is to share stories from women who had to make an horrific decision to have a late terms abortion. The general public doesn’t hear these stories enough. So treat your site like a magazine. Publish the stories that fit the goals of your focus. Abortion foes create their own space for their rebuttals and lies. Don’t let them deter your goals. This is your site and you have a right censor whatever you like. Anti-abortion sites would censor stories that don’t fit their agenda. Your site can provide a place for women who had to make difficult decisions to speak out.

    • invalid-0

      Opponents of abortions/supporters of an interdiction of abortions, somehow, share on ideological (those who is convinced that human life begins with conception, hence abortion – human life deprivation) and protest against abortions for this reason. In the second cases abortions – only one of claims.

  • invalid-0

    A few years after we had our first child, my husband and I decided we only wanted one child, and he had a vasectomy. As we got older, we changed our minds and he had it reversed. I got pregnant easily within two months after the reversal.

    I never gave any thought to the possibility of birth defects. My first pregnancy was completely uneventful. But because I was over 35 at the time of this second, my insurance paid for an amnio, so at 15 weeks I had one.

    A couple weeks later, the phone rang. I was home from work with a cold, and the first thing the geneticist asked was “Are you alone?” I thought that was odd, but said that I was, and asked her what she knew about my pregnancy. I fully expected that she would tell me the gender and that all was well, and I’d have good news to tell everyone I knew. Instead, she asked me if I had ever heard of chromosomal translocation. I had actually, as I had majored in biology in college.

    It turns out that I’m a carrier for this condition, and statistically 50% of fetuses I might conceive would suffer massive birth defects. In short, if I gave birth, my child would never sit up, recognize me or speak. Massive heath problems, such as heart, lung or seizure disorders would probably occur. A sonogram that day revealed that a large part of the brain was missing. With the intensive care my husband and I would by law, be required to pay for, this child might live for years. We had health insurance, but we would probably still lose our home, face bankruptcy, and be unable to send our first child to college. We found the prospect of the emotional and financial stress we faced bleak and miserable.

    I had always been pro-choice, but it had been a theoretical concept to me before. It had never occurred to me that I would have to exercise this choice. I was happily married and wanted another child. Why would I ever chooses an abortion?

    My insurance was willing to pay for the abortion if we waited two more weeks for an appointment with the provider they chose. By now, that would have put me at 19 weeks. I had done nothing buy cry since the diagnosis, and my husband was really worried about my emotional stability. I could feel it moving inside me. I thought I would lose my mind. I wanted it over as soon as possible. I found a local clinic that was able to take me the next day and perform the termination.

    At the clinic, I was given the choice between being induced and delivering or having a D & E (dilation and extraction, also called partial birth abortion). I chose the latter. My labor with my previous pregnancy (and later successful pregnancy) were long, over a day, and as I said, I just wanted to be done. And fetal demise was actually instantaneous with the method I chose.

    I cried throughout the whole procedure. Just before we were about to begin, the nurse said “You know, you don’t have to do this.” I explained that the fetus was grossly abnormal, and that there was nothing I wanted more than a baby. She hugged me, then held my hand and spoke kindly and softly through the entire abortion.

    Neither my husband nor I have ever regretted this decision. We were stuck in a no-win situation, and I chose what was for us, the best of all available options. As awful as this experience was, I was extremely lucky. Lucky that the technology was available to inform me that problems existed. Lucky that I chose to have the amnio, even though I initially planned to forgo it. And lucky that I live in a state where I was able to make use of the choice that the laws of our country still guarantee. There were people in the waiting room from hundreds of miles and other states away.

    Finally, I don’t for a minute believe that anyone would go through this experience trivially. To the detractors who say that irresponsible women just wait too long out of denial, laziness or some other character defect, all I can say is, just let them be in my shoes for a couple weeks and then speak. And I remember clearly that there were no happy faces in the clinic waiting room that day. Everyone seemed fully aware of the gravity of their specific situations. Many women were crying and being held by loved ones. This was not a room of women who would rather go on vacation than stay pregnant.

    One more thing. Our airwaves are constantly bombarded by hate speech. These more or less mainstream broadcasters with their own fully financed hate network compete with each other for ratings, and do so by being as outrageous and inflammatory as possible. Dr. Tiller was followed by these people and harassed for months. Even after Dr. Tiller was murdered, these “journalists” went on the air to tell their listeners that he got what he deserved. Where is their accountability in inciting murderous behavior? We now have laws against hate crimes. Where are the laws against abetting these crimes by giving the perpetrators legitimacy? Why doesn’t the family of Dr. Tiller sue O’Reilly and his minions, with the assistance of the Southern Poverty Law Center? I’d love to see justice done for the family members of Dr. Tiller, and this justice and accountability extends far beyond the hand of the actual shooter. How long will we have to wait for justice to be done?

  • invalid-0

    As I sit here in my wheelchair, in a highrise condo I bought myself and my little red sportscar parked downstairs, all purchased with my wages which I earned at a cushy federal job that I landed after I earned my Master’s Degree at one of the top colleges in the USA, I shake my head at the outdated stereotypes which “RealityCheck” fosters about congentially disabled children, such as I was/am.

    Has “RealityCheck” picked up a newspaper in the last 20 years or so, and updated its preconceptions about what the lives of children with disabilities are like? Yes, I had several painful surgeries between ages 6 and 12, to improve my ability to walk–big deal–that was 35 years ago.

    I have cerebral palsy, some people have spina bifida or other moderate to severe disabilities–many go on to live normal lives. I work in an office with people who are blind, deaf, mobility impaired, learing disabled–you name it, we all get along, and earn fat paychecks that we pay taxes on, just like you. Half the disabled folks in the office are parents themselves.

    Other people in this country have even more severe disabilities–they may live in a group home, and go to work at a supported job. Their parents must be watchful and fiesty, and plan in advance how the child will cope when they are not around. Is it easy? No. But it usually gets done and the disabled folks live happy lives.

    So in summation, I’d like to say to “”: Can YOU get a reality check, do a little background research, and THINK before you publish as fact suppositions about the lives of people with disabilities, when you have no experience with disabilities to valdidate the suppositions as true?

    Thank you,


    • invalid-0

      The level of disability referred to in the fetuses is such that the child would be a vegetable, a far cry from ‘having to have a few surgeries to improve [their] ability to walk’. These women are sharing some of the hardest decisions and experiences of their lives, stop trying to belittle that.

  • crowepps

    Certainly ideologists being willing to kill other people because they value those ideas more than they do the real-life persons who are being affected by their ideology is not at all surprising — humans have been doing exactly that for tens of thousands of years.

  • invalid-0

    It seems strange that if a post is a positive statement on Dr. Tiller then it must be true, but if a negative statement is posted about Dr. Tiller it is determined to be false.

    I have been reading through all the posts about a man I knew nothing about and it is just an observation. From a neutral observer there does seem to be a bias to only one side.

    I do understand the difficult decision that women go through to make such a difficult choice, however, from talking with women who have had an abortion (some regret it and felt forced to have one, and some don’t regret it and are fine) it does seem possible that there might be some negative experiences with Dr. Tiller and that they should be able to tell their story also.

    Just a thought.

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