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View Diary: The Farm Maid's Tale: Jailed for Her Own Abortion (104 comments)

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  •  Yes, she is strong and brave (4.00)
    Abortion providers hear a lot of sad, bad stories, but that's why this one wouldn't let me go, and why I had to share it. Imagine being isolated in a country where you don't even speak the language, let alone understand the law -- imagine what it was like to be Gabriela Flores.

    Gabriela reminds me so much of all the Spanish-speaking patients we see who are in their second trimesters because they don't even know that abortion is legal in the US until they finally summon the courage to confide in the right friend.  

    She probably didn't realize that she had any other choice -- and considering how little money she could have had, and how far away she was from the nearest clinic, the reality is that in practical terms maybe she really didn't.  Maybe she had no more choice than many women across America might have very soon. Where abortion is outlawed, only outlaws have abortions -- and right now, in my own state of Texas, a woman who doesn't have $3,000 and a way to travel to Dallas or Houston can't have an abortion after her 15th week of gestation.

    Even if we don't feel for Gabriela, we should defend her for our own sake.  This is a test case, a precedent for prosecuting any woman who falls afoul of the pregnancy police now or in the future.  Abortion wasn't invented by the Supreme Court in 1973, and it doesn't stop when the law tells it to -- which is why Gabriela's sister knew what Cytotec could do in the first place.  

    But whatever the outcome of her trial, at least Gabriela's alive. Abortion with Cytotec is very risky in the second trimester (and despite the arrest warrant's allegation that the fetus was 5 to 6 months old, the given weight of 8 ounces coincides with the weight of a fetus at about 17 weeks, and therefore with Gabriela's statement that she was 4 months pregnant).  If the uterus fails to contract there can be a dangerous level of bleeding.  And in a woman who has had a previous Cesarean delivery, the contractions induced by the drug can even cause the uterus to rupture.  If that had happened to Gabriela Flores, she would probably have been as dead as her fetus within minutes.

    Even if she doesn't have to fear the law, that's already much more risk than a woman should have to take, but it happens every day in places where safe and legal abortion isn't always one of the choices a woman has -- places like Mexico or Dallas, Texas or Pelion, South Carolina.

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