This letter is for my friend Gina. Gina, I am sure, would
have written a letter for herself but she died in 1969. We
were both freshman in college, 18 years old, full of adventure,
and thought we knew everything. Gina died of septic
shock caused by an infection from the illegal abortion she
obtained in Mexico.
When Gina returned from Mexico, we knew she was sick,
but she wouldn’t go to the local doctors. Her parents had
thrown her older sister out of the house when she became
pregnant. Gina was afraid to tell her parents about the pregnancy
itself. To speak of an abortion was unthinkable.
After Gina finally collapsed it was too late. None of her
friends were able to attend Gina’s funeral, and her parents
made sure no one really knew why she died.
But I knew, and I will never forget my lovely, witty, wonderful
friend, Gina. She would be here today if abortions had
been legal in 1969. How can anyone forget that?
Letter in “In Our Own Words… Collected Recollection in
Honor of Roe v. Wade,” edited by Elizabeth Lake in