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10 things you wanted to know about my abortion but were too afraid to ask.

I had an abortion this year, and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

10 things you wanted to know about my abortion but were too afraid to ask.

Abortions are common.

That's just a fact. Although we don't talk about it a lot publicly, 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in their lifetimes.

But even though terminating a pregnancy is a fairly ordinary health decision, there's still a lot of misinformation out there about the procedure and women's own experiences — mostly because of the immense stigma that surrounds abortion.


A demonstrator at the Supreme Court during the landmark case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. Photo by Jordan Uhl/Flickr.

In many cases, women don't feel comfortable talking about their abortions because they don't want to be shamed or ridiculed.

I had an abortion this year, and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

I wasn't ready to have a kid, I didn't want to be pregnant, and my partner fully supported my choice. Although sometimes people say terminating a pregnancy is "the hardest choice a woman can make," it was a fairly easy decision for me.

Now that it's over, though, I want to demystify the whole thing as much as I can. So here are 10 things you wanted to know about abortions but were too afraid to ask:

1. What was your abortion like?

I got my abortion on a Saturday morning at a clinic owned by an independent provider. When my boyfriend drove up to the clinic, there were protesters outside, but it was easy enough to ignore them. I was at the clinic for about five hours, but the procedure itself lasted only five minutes.

As soon as I got there, a nurse gave me pills to take — antibiotics, pills to soften my cervix, anti-nausea medication, a pain pill, and an oral sedation pill. I passed the next few hours reading, chatting with other patients, and nodding off in my chair (the sedation meds work, by the way).

When it was time for the actual procedure, I went into a normal-looking exam room. The nurse gave me IV sedation, which put me into a half-awake/half-asleep state.

Then the doctor inserted a thin tube into my uterus, which felt like a pinch, and turned on the aspiration machine to empty the contents of my uterus. I felt some pressure and pain. Then, before I knew it, it was over. I sat in a comfy recliner in the recovery room until my ride came.

2. How much did it hurt?

It hurt a little bit during the actual procedure, but it was nothing major (and definitely nothing compared to childbirth!). I had cramps on and off for the next few days, but they were no worse than period cramps.

3. How much did it cost?

Because I was only six weeks along, my abortion cost $550 — but that cost goes up for people who are farther along. I'm also lucky because I live a few miles away from my clinic, so my boyfriend just dropped me off. Lots of pregnant people have to travel hundreds of miles, find lodging, and miss work when they get an abortion.

For patients who can't afford their procedure, abortion funds provide grants to help cover the cost.

4. Why did you get a surgical abortion instead of taking the abortion pill?

Some people decide to take the abortion pill because then they can go home and miscarry in private. But I wanted to walk into the clinic pregnant and leave with all of it behind me. It's just a matter of preference.

5. Did you feel ashamed afterward?

I wondered if I would, but I didn't. I've been pro-choice for as long as I've known about abortion, and I felt comfortable with my decision. A lot of women do have complex feelings about their abortions, and that's OK too. But no one should have to feel ashamed for making a decision that is right for them. I hope that the more we talk about this, the less shame we'll all feel.

6. What was recovery like?

Honestly, it was a little annoying. For the week after the procedure, I bled as though I was on my period. And even though the cramps were mild, they weren't fun. Also, you can't put anything in your vagina or have sex for two to four weeks.

But it was also way better than healing from pregnancy and childbirth.

7. What surprised you the most about your experience?

The waiting room was a really friendly environment. Many of the other patients shared their stories of how they got there. Most were mothers already, and some had gotten an abortion before. It was comforting to be in a safe, open place with the other patients.

8. Did you tell your friends and family?

Yes to friends, no to family. I'm lucky because everyone who I told about my pregnancy and abortion was supportive.

9. Did you become depressed/become an alcoholic/get breast cancer? Are you infertile now?

No, no, no, and I'm pretty sure no. The idea that abortion causes mental health issues, breast cancer, or any physical side effect that isn't also a side effect of childbirth is patently false.

10. What was the worst part of the whole thing?

The worst part of my abortion wasn't the abortion; it was being pregnant. I didn't realize how much an unexpected pregnancy would affect my day-to-day life: I was exhausted, my breasts were sore, and my emotions were out of control. I imagine it might be a different experience for people who actually want to be pregnant, but it was a nightmare for me.

I've been an advocate for abortion access all of my adult life.

But after going through the experience of terminating a pregnancy myself, I feel an even stronger enthusiasm for this fight. Now it makes me even angrier to see politicians vilify women for the decisions they make about their own bodies. Because these are our unique bodies, and solutions aren't one-size-fits-all.

How can we keep fighting for this? I believe the first step is for us to keep talking about abortion publicly because there is power in sharing our experiences with the world.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.