Francine’s Story: My Peace Corps Abortion.

November 9, 2020

I wanted to be a Peace Corps volunteer since I was a little girl and finally achieved that goal in March of 1982. I left my small town in Presque Isle, Maine, to begin my service in the Dominican Republic.

Later that year, I found out I was pregnant. While I was fond of the person I had been having sex with, I did not want to have a baby. So,  I went to the Peace Corps nurse, who informed me that I had two choices:

1) I could be discharged and have the baby; or

2) I could be flown to the USA to have an abortion and return to complete my Peace Corps service.

Peace Corps informed me that they would cover all my expenses except the cost of the abortion procedure itself, which was $444.00.  I chose option 2.

Peace Corps flew me to Washington, DC. They gave me a phone number to call upon my arrival at the DC airport to find out where I would be staying and other details. At the airport, I found a payphone to call, and a man gave me the address of the apartment where I was to go for the 10 days, sharing space with two other volunteers in DC for medical reasons. Fortunately, I had lived in DC briefly before going to the Peace Corps and knew my way around.

At the clinic, I had to confirm that I wanted to go through with the procedure several times and sat in a room for an intentional ‘waiting period’ before the procedure. After the procedure and rest in the recovery room, I walked back to the apartment.

A therapist cleared me to return to service after requiring three counseling sessions. After that, I flew back to the Dominican Republic and completed my service. I was fortunate that I had a choice and that the government, at that time, allowed me to exercise my right to an abortion.

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