A young woman lived in a town where only one bus went to the court each day. She arrived at the bus station on time, but had to run into the restroom because of her morning sickness. While she was in the bathroom, the bus pulled away. Determined not to miss her hearing which would force her to delay her abortion, she hitchhiked 40 miles to the courthouse, something she had never done before.
In examples from Minnesota and Massachusetts, one young woman was sitting in a court corridor when her sister’s civics class came through; another saw a neighbor in the courthouse; a third encountered her godmother, who was employed as a court officer; another had to hide in the bathroom to avoid being seen by a family member who worked in the courthouse; and a young woman ran into her father right outside of the courthouse.
The much older adult sister of a pregnant youth disclosed to a clinic that since learning of her sister’s pregnancy, her parents had engaged in a prolonged period of degrading her sister (by, for example, repeatedly calling her a whore and telling her that she was no good) and isolating her from all outside sources of support. As a result, the pregnant youth became so depressed the sister was seriously afraid that the pregnant youth would try to kill herself.
The older sister thought that the situation was so dire that, after talking to clinic staff, she called DCFS about her own family.
A young woman attempted to get an abortion at 26 weeks. After she was told that an abortion was no longer an option given the stage of her pregnancy, she decided to place the baby up for adoption. For the rest of her pregnancy she hid her condition from her parents because she was scared that they would force her to keep and raise the child. She went so far as to refuse to be hospitalized for preeclampsia at 32 weeks against medical advice because she feared her parents would become suspicious when she did not come home. She was desperate to continue to hide her pregnancy, believing it was the only way she could preserve her relationship with her parents.
A young woman had an older sister who was thrown out of the house by her parents when she became pregnant as “punishment for her sin.” Since then, her parents acted as if they had only one daughter. This young woman did not want to lose her family and home, or the sense that she ever even existed for her family.
One young woman had four older sisters, each of whom became pregnant as minors. In response to the news of each sister’s pregnancy, her parents would throw the sister out of the house. This young woman was an excellent student, had a college scholarship, and, in general, felt that she had her life ahead of her. Given what she had seen, she feared that, if her parents found out about her pregnancy, they would throw her out of the house too, destroying her dreams for the future.
A young woman in Massachusetts, a state with a mandatory parental involvement law, refused to involve her parents because they had forced her to carry a previous pregnancy to term against her will, and she was determined not to let that happen again.