The Best Abortion Ever

“The abortion room was tiny and plain and clean, like a studio-apartment kitchen. I squeezed my companion’s hand through the speculum portion of things, which is fine for me, but in this context, a little more traumatic than your average Pap smear speculum, then through the Novocain shot, which was actually more pleasant than a Novocain shot you get in your mouth. “We wait a few moments,” the doctor said, in an Eastern European accent.

In a minute or so, she said, “Okay, now instrument.” There was a feeling between uncanny and mildly unpleasant, then there was pain. It was like the worst cramp ever times three, but not worse than that. “Just look at me and keep squeezing my hand; just look at me and keep squeezing my hand,” said my companion, and I did what she said, and was finally glad that she’d invested more of her personality in solidity than in wit. It lasted about ten seconds. I was just about to say, “This really hurts,” when, suddenly, it didn’t hurt anymore, and the doctor was snapping off her gloves.

“Was that it?” I said as I felt the speculum come out. The doctor didn’t say anything, but my companion said, “That’s it. You did great.”

“Holy shit,” I said. “That was hands down the best abortion I ever had in my whole fucking life. You’re amazing.”

The doctor gave me a look that I interpreted to mean, ‘Crazy ladies are all the same.’ She left. I didn’t care. I loved her.”

—Sarah Miller, “The Best Abortion Ever.” The Cut. June 19, 2019.

More about the abortion experience than I’ve ever seen anywhere before. If you think RU-486 makes much of the aboltion discussion moot, it probably helps to know that it can also be “intense”?

Also, I loved the adjective, “hippie-adjacent”. Aspirational.

5 thoughts on “The Best Abortion Ever

  1. I have written a few things in response and deleted. There are no definitive answers, I also would never tell someone they had to be a mother. It is hard, the hardest thing I ever did and without help and support would have been close to impossible.

    ” Are we human beings having a spiritual experience or spiritual beings having a human experience” and if we can ever come close to answering that and if it seems relevant, how would that factor in? or do we just consider the human body?

    no answers but agreement there should be choices, always enjoy discussing things……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Abortion is only hard because society has decided to make it hard, and the burden falls on young women. The abortion “debate” has been solved by products like Norplant, Nexplanon and other forms of contraception for years. And just like abortions, these products are not easily or generally available because its not only about embryos and fetuses, it’s ultimately driven by notions that women taking control of fertility interferes with some divine plan. That’s the unvarnished truth about why its all so hard.

      What happens when controlling fertility is easy? The answer is abortions become last line and rarely occur.

      I think the structural tendency compelling childbirth will become even more pronounced in the coming few generations when fertility plummets and the population implodes. We’ll see even more stringent control over means of controlling fertility and more social emphasis on being a mother. The only improvement is the pool for this lottery will be much smaller and be better for most women.

      Imagine a world where you had to pay the cost of an abortion or contraceptives to get pregnant. While this would obviously discriminate against poor women who wanted children, what else would be different about that world?


      1. I like the way you look at things logically and pragmatically “abortion is only hard because society has decided to make it hard” and then you lay out the facts.
        Again I have written and deleted my response a few times, this is a conversation that goes very deep with me not on any moralistic basis but intuitively, emotionally….in ways that would be hard to discuss without an in person back and forth. My mother had two abortions before she had me, this was in the 1940’s when it was illegal. She was a very pragmatic woman, “if I didn’t want a baby I wasn’t going to have it”
        I want women to have choice, I want to have choice, I made a choice to make sure I didn’t have to make a choice I probably couldn’t live with…..there is just so much more under the surface….. no easy answers.
        As you say the future will bring many more dilemmas to deal with……


  2. This is to me very disturbing…..I am pro choice and have (thankfully) never had to make the decision to abort a fetus.
    The flippant way she describes having four abortions takes me back to the closest I ever came to the whole experience. I had three pregnancies, one ended in a miscarriage (the first) and then two live births that happened within 14months all in all my body was in pregnancy mode for about a two year period I would not describe myself as the most maternal person but I think I was and have been a good mother. My two daughters now in their 40’s with their own children would back me up.

    Having had quite enough of pregnancy and babies all at once I decided to get my tubes tied as it was called back then. I was very sure I would never want to have another baby and have never regretted my decision.

    I also knew having been pregnant three times I could never abort a fetus myself, hence making sure that I would never have to face that decision. The day surgery I underwent was done at a day clinic of a local hospital and unbeknownst to me it was also the day that that the abortions were performed and when I woke up in the recovery room I was with six other women all of whom had just had an abortion.

    I had a 14 year old curled up in fetal position in the bed beside me crying, across from me two women in their twenties (I was 28) casually talked this being their second and third abortions and talking of the relief they felt. I am pro choice but I am also pro birth control and protection and being responsible when you are sexually active.

    I understand mistakes are made, I understand not wanting a baby or a pregnancy and I would fight for a woman’s right to choose. Three and four abortions, talking about it flippantly, not taking proper precautions ……. some might find this judgemental, I do not know the circumstances of these pregnancies but I go back to that recovery room many years ago when I hear the back and forth regarding abortion. There is no black and white, right and wrong like everything there is that grey area where there are no easy answers


    1. The question of abortion is ultimately a question of personhood. When does an individual have moral standing? The distinction is largely arbitrary. Is it at conception? Is it at viability? Is it birth? There was a time, still a tradition in India at 9 months after birth, that children weren’t named until a certain point because infant mortality was so high.
      I think the question this article invites us to ask is: what would abortion look like if getting one were trivial?
      Personally, I think the person who has to birth and care for a child gets to make that decision and carry the moral weight of it. It isn’t my place (or the place of society) to tell someone they have to be a mother. And should they choose it, then the process should be as painless as possible.


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