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When I had an unplanned pregnancy in 2008, I knew right away that abortion was the best option for me. At the time, I was living in Washington, D.C., which fortunately has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country, so I decided to quickly google “abortion clinic” in order to find out information about my options.

A lot of results came up, and I clicked on the clinic that was conveniently located and and easy to access, which was great for me because I was a graduate student working full time. I didn’t have a lot of money to travel very far, and I also wanted to make sure I got the care I needed quickly. The clinic was metro accessible, so I called and said I was pregnant, and that I wanted to talk to someone about my options. I was at a pretty vulnerable moment in my life, and it felt really uncomfortable to call up a stranger and just bluntly say, “Hi, I need an abortion.”

They told me “Great, come on in,” and that they were “happy to talk about that.” I felt relieved, and thought I was going to get the information I needed from someone I could trust. But when I got there, rather than talking to me about my options and giving me counseling for an abortion, they told me lies and made me have an invasive ultrasound. Looking back on the experience, I’m honestly not even sure the women “helping me” were medical professionals or if they even had any proper training.

Instead of scheduling my appointment for abortion or referring me elsewhere, they gave me a printed picture of my ultrasound. They said it was for me to “show [my] partner and to keep with [me].” At this point, I was pretty upset. I didn’t know why they thought I needed an ultrasound— much less a picture of it—when I was very clear about the choice I was making to terminate my pregnancy. When they saw I was upset, they told me it was a “standard procedure” that they “did for everybody.”

None of it made sense from a healthcare perspective, it really felt like they were just trying to push their agenda and deny me the information and healthcare I was looking for.

It was only later, after I had left the so-called clinic, that I realized what had happened—I had gone to a fake women’s health center. Which I learned is essentially an anti-choice operation that exists to counsel or pressure women out of getting an abortion.

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