“I Had an Abortion When I Was Six Months Pregnant”

Confronted with desperately ill unborn twins and great risks to her own health, a young woman steps into a political minefield.

  1. By Gina Gonzales as told to Barry Yeoman.

    I never thought I would care passionately about the abortion issue or that I would find myself defending one of the most controversial medical procedures a woman can have. But then, during a routine ultrasound in April 2000, my life changed completely.

    “It’s a girl,” said the technician, scanning the first of my babies.

    I was so filled with joy that tears came to my eyes. For four years, my husband, John, and I had been trying to start a family. I’d had three miscarriages and was starting to believe it was never going to happen. But after treating me for endometriosis and a uterine polyp, doctors told me I would finally be able to carry a pregnancy to term. Six months later, at age 27, I discovered I was pregnant, and soon after I learned that I was carrying twins, which run in my family.

    For four months, my husband and I prepared for the arrival of our children. We furnished their bedroom with matching cribs, and my mother started sketching a wall mural of Noah’s Ark because of the animals entering in twos. We registered for gifts. We picked out four names—two for boys and two for girls. And we went through a battery of sonograms, all of which indicated that the babies were healthy. By the time we got to the more detailed 20-week ultrasound, our biggest question was, What sex are they? I wanted daughters—I had visions of Girl Scouts and fishing trips. So when I learned that the first baby was a girl, I was thrilled.

    And then the...

Originally published in Glamour, October 2001