Abby Johnson: Counselor for My Abortion Had 9 Abortions

Opinion   |   Abby Johnson   |   Apr 23, 2012   |   5:59PM   |   Washington, DC

I had a surgical abortion when I was 20 years old. I don’t remember many details. But what I do remember was not pleasant.

I don’t remember how far along I was in my pregnancy. I do know that I paid $500.00 for my abortion.

I went through a group counseling session with several other women. My “counselor” told me that she had 9 previous abortions. I think she said it to make us feel better somehow…and it worked.

I don’t remember walking into the exam room. There was a nurse there giving me IV drugs to help me relax. I can’t say that I remember the stick of the needle in my arm. I laughed when I looked at the wall. There was a picture of a cat hanging on a tree. The caption below said “Hang In There.”

The sedation was beginning to work and it appeared to me that the picture was falling off the wall. I would blink and it would be back in the right place, then would start to fall again. I said something to the nurse about this picture and she responded, “It’s just the medicine.” The doctor came in and started the procedure. An ultrasound was done by someone, but I don’t remember it at all.

The next thing I felt was an incredible pain. Then it started to feel like I was being pulled. I remember that my body was literally being jerked around the table. When the suction came on, I remember the nurse telling me that “this will be the worst part.” She was right. I couldn’t believe how loud the suction machine was and how painful it would feel. I know that I was making noises because I was in so much pain…but the nurse just kept rubbing my arm and continued to tell me that “it is almost over.”

The doctor never spoke to me. I don’t know if I ever knew his name. It was quick, it was painful, and it was over.

I woke up in a recovery room, slouched over in an uncomfortable chair that didn’t recline. I was in a line of young women just like me. Many were still asleep and hunched over. Some were crying. Some were staring ahead with a blank look on their face. As soon as the nurse (I am guessing she was a nurse) noticed I was awake, she came over and told me to get dressed. She did not come and take me to a private area. She gave me my clothes right there in the middle of the room. I redressed in front of everyone, was given some water and was sent on my way.

Now, what part of that sounds traumatic to you?

The actual abortion? Maybe the humiliation of having to bare all in a large recovery room? Yes, both of those things were very traumatic. How about the ultrasound? Did that sound terribly traumatic? I hope not, because it wasn’t. I don’t even remember it being done. I know it was done because I remember seeing the black and white image on my chart as I was leaving. No one asked me if I wanted to see my ultrasound picture before my abortion. That wasn’t even an option. Maybe seeing my child on the screen would have changed my mind. Maybe not. I will never know.

So why all the controversy over ultrasounds? Do ultrasounds traumatize women? Is it an unnecessary procedure being forced upon women and the abortion industry? Do women deserve to have full informed consent before surgery?



Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Abortion Federation both REQUIRE ultrasounds to be performed before an abortion takes place. During a first trimester procedure, a transvaginal ultrasound is required. An abdominal or transvaginal is allowed in the second and third trimesters.

There is one reason for this. They need to be able to see exactly how far along the woman is in her pregnancy so the abortion facility knows how much to charge for the abortion. There is one reason they don’t want women to see their ultrasound…it is too risky. Ultrasounds expose the lie of the abortion industry. They show that it is not just a “blob of tissue” or a “mass of cells.”

Ultrasounds show the humanity of the child. They don’t oppose ultrasounds because it is too time consuming. They are performing them anyway! They are required (by their own rules) to perform them. It is not traumatizing for the woman. They are about to perform an invasive and painful procedure on these women and they are seriously worried about how an ultrasound will feel? Of course not. They only oppose ultrasounds because of the risk…a woman may choose life and they may be out several hundred dollars. It is pretty plain and simple.