Abortion a woman's decision,
a woman's right
(Editors note: This was the original informational brochure passed
out by the Abortion Counseling Service.)
What is the Abortion Counseling
We are women
whose ultimate goal is the liberation of women in society. One
important way we are working toward that goal is by helping any
woman who wants an abortion to get one as safely and cheaply as
possible under existing conditions.
Abortion is a safe, simple, relatively painless operation when
performed by a trained person in clean conditions. In fact, it's
less complicated than a tonsillectomy. People hear about its horrors
because desperate women turn to incompetent people or resort to
unsafe methods. Much of our time is spent finding reliable and
sympathetic doctors who will perform safe abortions for as little
money as possible. You will receive the best medical care we know
Although abortions are illegal in Illinois, the state has not
brought charges against any woman who has had an abortion. Only
those who perform abortions have been prosecuted.
Any information you give your counselor is kept confidential.
She will not give your name to anyone or discuss anything you
tell her without your permission. It is vitally important that
you are completely honest about your medical history with your
counselor and the doctor.
abortions are illegal and in such demand, they are exorbitantly
expensive. In fact, an abortion frequently costs as much as the
combined doctor and hospital bills for having a baby. The ACS
believes that no woman should be denied an abortion because she
is unable to pay for it. We have a small and constantly depleted
non-interest loan fund for women who would otherwise be unable
to have an abortion. It is non-profit and non-discriminatory.
Twenty-five dollars of what you pay for an abortion goes toward
maintaining this service If you receive money from this fund,
please repay it as promptly as you can so that the money may be
used to help other women. An unpaid loan may mean that we cannot
lend money to someone else who needs it desperately.
About the operation
Confirm your pregnancy by a pregnancy test at a medical laboratory.
Try to figure out as accurately as possible how many weeks pregnant
you are. If you have any special physical condition (like allergies
or heart trouble) which would call for special precautions, tell
your counselor and the doctor about it before the operation.
When you keep your appointment with the doctor you should take
with you a sanitary napkin and belt not a tampax or tampon.
You may want a friend or relative to go along to go home with
you. Notify us beforehand that someone will be with you. The day
of the abortion, eat lightly and stay away from heavily spiced
THE OPERATION ITSELF: An abortion is simple and takes only a few
minutes. You'll probably be given a local anesthetic. The injections
are relatively painless. After the anesthetic has taken effect,
the neck of the uterus is opened and the lining of the uterus
is scraped out with a loop-shaped instrument called a curette.
The operation is called a dilation and curettage, or a D&C.
After the operation is over the doctor may give you a shot or
pills to prevent infection and bleeding. Lie down and rest for
half-an-hour or till you feel normal. Before you leave, the doctor
may give you antibiotics or other pills and will explain their
function and use. One of the pills may be ergotrate to help the
uterus contract and prevent excessive bleeding. Feel free to ask
the doctor or us any question you may have.
AFTERWARD: If the doctor asks you to check back, it is very important
that you do so as instructed. Also call us so we know how you
are feeling and whether you are perfectly satisfied with the doctor
we sent you to. You should be examined by a gynecologist within
a few week after your abortion. If you like, we can recommend
a gynecologist for the post-operative examination.
You may bleed or cramp mildly for a few days or feel other slight
effects for a few weeks. On the other hand; you may have no after-effects
except slight bleeding. Physical response varies from woman to
woman. If you bleed for longer than three weeks or pass big blood
clots, call us or go to a gynecologist. Again, if you have questions
or need reassurance, please call us. Don't engage in strenuous
exercise or take tub baths for about ten days, and make sure you
move your bowels regularly. Hold off on intercourse for at least
ten days to a month, or till you're fully healed.
You may have some emotional "blues" after your abortion.
Partly this is because of the way we're brought up, partly it
is because of hormonal changes in your body. If you want to talk
this over with someone, call us.
If you have not been using any contraceptive and would like to
start now (it beats an abortion), ask the gynecologist about it
when you go in for your check-up. Women who have been using birth
control pills should not start taking them again until after their
first normal period has started. The pills are frequently not
fool-proof during the first month of their use. A diaphragm may
no longer fit you after you have had an abortion. If you use one,
you should be remeasured by a gynecologist to see if you need
a new size.
Abortion as a social problem
We are giving
our time not only because we want to make abortions safer, cheaper
and more accessible for the individual women who come to us, but
because we see the whole abortion issue as a problem of society.
The current abortion laws are a symbol of the sometimes subtle,
but often blatant, oppression of women in our society.
Women should have the right to control their own bodies and lives.
Only a woman who is pregnant can determine whether she has enough
resources economic, physical and emotional at a
given time to bear and rear a child. Yet at present the decision
to bear the child or have an abortion is taken out of her hands
by governmental bodies which can have only the slightest notion
of the problems involved.
Cultural, moral and religious feelings are largely against abortion,
and society does all it can to make a woman feel guilty and degraded
if she has one.
The same society that denies a woman the decision not to have
a child refuses to provide humane alternatives for women who do
have children, such as child care facilities to permit the mother
to work, or role flexibility so that men can share in the raising
of children. The same society that insists that women should and
do find their basic fulfillment in motherhood will condemn the
unwed mother and her fatherless child.
The same society that glamorizes women as sex objects and teaches
them from early childhood to please and satisfy men views pregnancy
and childbirth as punishment for "immoral" or "careless"
sexual activity, especially if the woman is uneducated, poor or
black. The same morality that says "that's what she gets
for fooling around" also fails to recognize society's responsibility
to the often unwelcome child that results. Punitive welfare laws
reflect this view, and churches reinforce it.
Our society's version of equal opportunity means that lower-class
women bear unwanted children or face expensive, illegal and often
unsafe abortions, while well-connected middle-class women can
frequently get safe and hush-hush "D and Cs' in hospitals.
Only women can bring about their own liberation. It is time for
women to get together to change the male-made laws and to aid
their sisters caught in the bind of legal restrictions and social
stigma. Women must fight together to change the attitudes of society
about abortion and to make the state provide free abortions as
a human right.
There are currently many groups lobbying for population control,
legal abortion and selective sterilization. Some are actually
attempting to control some populations, prevent some births
for instance those of black people or poor people. We are opposed
to these or any form of genocide. We are for every woman having
exactly as many children as she wants, when she wants, if she
wants. It's time the Bill of Rights applied to women. Its time
women got together and started really fighting for their rights.
Governments have to be made to realize that abortions are part
of the health care they must provide for the people who support
If you are interested in giving your energy and time to help bring
about a better life for yourself and your daughters and sons,
get in touch with Jane.
note: What followed were addresses and phone numbers to contact
Jane. These are omitted in this Internet version.)