When I first heard *Callie’s story, I was really unsure of how I could help her. Her situation was so grave—so completely messed up—that I didn’t even know where to begin.
Callie called me from her cousin’s phone one afternoon frantic about her positive pregnancy test. “I need an abortion as fast as possible,” she told me.
“My grandparents monitor my period and they’ll get suspicious.”
That’s right–Callie’s grandparents, with whom she lived, monitored her period every month to ensure that she wasn’t sexually active. She had missed her last period and her grandparents’ suspicion was growing. It comes as no surprise that they also monitored her every move. Callie was not allowed to have a cellphone or to use the Internet, and she was rarely allowed to leave the house, unless it was for school. To further complicate the situation, Callie’s grandparents never allowed Callie to speak with her doctor alone.
Despite her deplorable circumstances, Callie appeared to be a pretty normal teenager: she often used her cousin’s phone, frequently ending her text messages with Emojis. She also had the same sass as I did when I was 17. Importantly, though, she faced a whole lot more adversity than most of her peers.
Callie’s grandparents were her legal guardians. Her biological father had been missing since she was a baby, and her biological mother’s parental rights had been terminated after bouts of abuse and abandonment. Alongside Callie’s grandparents’ fierce opposition to premarital sex, Callie knew that if she became pregnant she would be immediately kicked out of the home. She knew this because, as a teenager, this happened to her mother. Callie was now living with those same people who kicked her mother out of the home when she was pregnant with her.
Yet, as we’ve come to learn, people will go to great lengths to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. With the support of Jane’s Due Process, Callie was able to make it safely to her court and clinic appointments, and receive the abortion. No doubt, however, it was a close call; if Callie’s grandparents had discovered her pregnancy, I fear where she might be today.
Emily Rooke-Ley is our hotline coordinator and the director of this project. Please contact her at [email protected] with any questions or inquiries.
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