UnNews:Maria speaks to us
19 December 2010
NAZARETH, Texas -- Abortion is regarded as one of the defining culture wars issues, spliting most right down the center into the 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life' camps. However, what is usually missing from the debates are specific socioeconomic factors. Studies show that half of all pregnancies are unwanted, with the average abortion rate for the United States being around nineteen out of a thousand pregnancies. While abortion rates overall are in decline, there are sharp increases among the poverty-stricken and minorities, unmarried women and women in their 20s or younger.
Maria Sánchez, a maid who works at The Hotel Guadalupe downtown, fell into all of these categories at one point. Ms. Sánchez has agreed to sit down with UnNews and tell us about her terminated pregnancy.
What made you want to tell your story?
- Oh, you know, sweetie, there's a lot of girls out there goin' through this. I want them to know they're not alone.
Tell us about your background.
- Well, I grew up in an average Hispanic family. We ate tacos all the time, spoke bad English, danced around hats, and had gringos help us sneak family into the country every Sunday after Mass. I was the littlest of several brothers and sisters. We were pretty piss-poor. Mama had us all home-schooled 'cause we were hiding from the government.
- When I was 18, I dated a man named José for awhile. My family thought of him as our meal ticket. We talked about getting married, but we never decided on it.
How did you get pregnant?
- It happened when I was visiting my cousin Elisa. She took me to a fiesta one night, where I met a guy named Gabriel. He was, uh, how you say, a real smooth talker, with the body of a god. Long story short, a few weeks later I was pregnant.
- Funny thing is, I was so drunk I don't even remember having sex with him, though I do remember it being heavenly bliss.
When did you realize you were pregnant?
- When I missed my period. I took a pregnant test and it came back pregnant. My entire life came crashing down before my eyes when I saw that little cross. I could see Mama and Papa disowning me, José leaving me, being hated by the community.
- I told Elisa and she suggested abortion, but being raised a strict Roman Catholic, the very idea was a no-no.
When did you decide that abortion was the answer?
- I knew could never raise a child. I wanted to put it up for adoption, but that costed more money than I had. I even thought about leaving it on a church doorstep, but I was afraid they would would be too busy to love my child.
It was at this point that she started sobbing. I offered a bite of my grilled cheese sandwich to console her, but she refused. I handed her my napkin to wipe her eyes with. A few minutes later, she was ready to continue.
Tell us about the pregnancy termination procedure.
- It was a cold winter night. I snuck out in the middle of the night and went to the nearest Planned Parenthood by myself. It took so long to get there, my ass was give out.
- The waiting room inside was very cold, too. I remember the tv reception was great. I would call it immaculate. Pretty soon a nurse came out and told me it was a busy day and there was no more rooms. I begged her, "Oh, pleeease, señora", and she said I could have it done in the back alley.
- A few minutes later a doctor named Herald Finklestein came out. I told him I was scared, and he told me, "Don't worry my shiksa, I'm a balmalocha." I remember seeing the most beautiful star shining in the sky, and feeling comforted by this. Too bad it faded away so fast. I held my breath and waited for it all to be over.
How did you feel after you went through with it?
- I felt a wave of relief, but did I ever feel that Catholic guilt, too. When I got home, I got really stoned. Then I went to sleep and had a terrible nightmare where I was having the baby and a red dragon with seven heads tried to eat it. Creepy as shit!
- Since then, I've been more at peace. I figure it was probably for the best. I could never have given the child all its needs. I mean, it's not like a bunch of food would appear by magic!
What were the long-term health effects?
- I mostly had cramps and was sick to my stomach for a few weeks. My breasts were so tender and swollen. Soon, my period came back. It was the worst period of my life! Everyone started calling me "Bloody Maria."
Did you ever tell anyone?
- Yeah, I told my brothers and sisters. I so wanted to tell Mama, but it would've broken her heart.
Did you ever see Gabriel again?
- No, I never saw the beautiful bastard again. Once in a while, I meet someone who says they slept with him, or his brother Michael. Man-whores, both of them!
Have you had any children since then?
- I'm Mexican.
Oh, right. So you are.
There was one question left on my notepad. I was hesitant to ask it, yet I worked up enough courage to proceed.
Finally, do you have any regrets?
- My biggest regret was being too scared to ask friends and family for help. They love me no matter what. I should've know this. My other regret was not being a little more responsible as a young girl. My loved ones think I'm perfect, but I fuck up like e'ryone else, you know? I tell my kids the only perfect Person is God.
Thank you for your time, Ms. Sánchez. Peace be upon you.
- ¡Gracias, señor!
Once the interview was finished, I drove home with a wide spectrum of thoughts and emotions raging in my mind. Then an overwhelming sadness came over me when I remembered my own mother was pregnant with me as a teenager. How she struggled to raise me on foodstamps. I didn't think it could happen, but I started crying myself. I sat in the parking lot waiting for the tears to dry up before going into the UnNews building--whose strong aroma of mildew, unfortunately, made them water up again.
|This article features first-hand journalism by an UnNews correspondent.|
- Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States, Guttmatcher Institute