By Crystal Kupper | Life in Oregon Editor
Approximately one-third of abortions in the U.S. are medication abortions. In these abortions, mothers first take mifeprex, a hormone blocker, at an abortion business. Around 24 hours later, they take mifepristone later at home to induce labor and deliver their dead baby. A 2019 FDA report linked the deaths of 24 women with medication abortion, along with more than 4,200 “adverse events” like permanent injuries and hospitalizations. Even when the trauma doesn’t show outwardly, women get hurt.
Just ask Stayton resident Elizabeth Gillette.
Gillette grew up believing that if she became pregnant before she was ready, she would have to sacrifice her career, education and relationships. After graduating college, Gillette discovered she was expecting. She worried she would not be able to juggle a career and motherhood so young.
Even so, she did not want to stop her unborn baby’s already functional heart.
“I wasn’t convinced abortion was right, but I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood,” says Gillette. “[The doctor] had a Dixie cup with pills in it, and she said all you have to do is take this. No one counseled me, or told me my options.”
Gillette asked to see the ultrasound but wasn’t allowed to. Instead, the employee took a still shot of the monitor and deceptively told her scared patient that her pregnancy wasn’t viable.
“I knew the truth,” Gillette says. “Had I seen the actual ultrasound with the beating heart, I would have gotten up and walked out.”
It was the exact opposite sort of woman-centric treatment Gillette had been anticipating at an organization that claims to “care, no matter what.”
“I looked to my abortionist; I wanted her to tell me it was possible and she told me the opposite,” Gillette says. “Nobody told me I could be a mom and continue working, that there were programs to help me. It was just, ‘Life is over if you continue doing this.’”
Gillette cried for approximately 45 minutes, at war with herself, before downing the pharmaceuticals.
“I lost to myself,” she says. “I really did not have the courage to say I wanted my child. I didn’t have the courage to stand up for him or her — my baby.”
Today, Gillette is a 32-year-old married mother of four working as a marketing manager at her in-laws’ family mushroom farm in Scio. She still can’t forget what came after swallowing those pills.
“I had no idea what was coming,” Gillette says.
Deep and intensely painful contractions tormented her while she delivered at home, alone and afraid. It was nothing like the “light period” that the workers at Planned Parenthood had promised.
Gillette held her baby in her hands. “It was this tiny little gummy bear,” she remembers. She also bled extensively, but no Planned Parenthood workers called to check on her.
After recovering physically, Gillette was launched into years of PTSD and anorexia. Today, she shares her story with anyone who will listen, including Life Issues Institute, The Federalist, The Susan B. Anthony List and others.
Gillette realizes that sharing that story in a state like Oregon can be a challenging road. Her “heart breaks” thinking about all the Oregonian women now walking in her shoes.
“There is a culture here that abortion is normal, and a culture of fear breeding in Oregon,” she says. “We teach girls that they can’t be mothers and go to college, so that abortion is the only way they can achieve the lifestyle they want. They’re being told that medication abortion is safe and effective and that they’ll feel relieved. And you know it’s not the truth, and they’re walking around dead inside.
Someday, Gillette would like to have coffee with Governor Brown and share her experience with medication abortion.
She just wants the top politician in the state to know the truth.
“I would like Kate Brown to know what [medication abortion] actually does to the human body and psyche,” Gillette says. “It’s severe and it does have consequences whether you like it or not.”
“It’s not routine care. It’s not a contact lens, or prescription toothpaste — it’s serious and women are coming out of this procedure with mental illnesses and bodily harm.”