|TESTIMONY OF MICHELLE ARMESTO
TESTIMONY OF MICHELLE ARMESTO
Sept. 7, 2007 Kansas Special Committee on Federal State Affairs
I. My parents find out about my pregnancy
• My father takes it the hardest
• They inquire about the length of my pregnancy
• My father despairs because I am past 14 weeks and cannot get an abortion
• After school my mother shows me Dr. Tiller’s website
• I tell her its murder and that I will not do it
II. My parents isolate me from outside influences
• My parents are upset that I will not abort
• During this time we were all three preparing for graduation (My mom from vet school, my dad with a bachelors, and I with my high school diploma)
• My dad takes me on one of the few drives
• He explains his childhood (a single mother w/ no education) and how its
• caused him to not trust anyone and has made his life miserable
• During one of the other drives, he asks how I will pay for the child and for housing and school etc. I explain to him that my fiance was making decent money (30+ a year) and his parents had offered their basement and to watch the baby while I attended school.
• The next few days I pack and weigh my options
• My mom has me call Dr. Tiller's clinic to discuss with a counselor my situation
• The woman on the phone has a twenty minute conversation with me
• The conclusion was for me to abort the baby and go to college
• I was still not convinced so I was sent a packet
• The booklet was full of information that seemed to cover any doubt about abortion
• It named a Catholic organization that believed in abortion and that you could baptized your aborted baby and it had other rebuttals to allow you to accept the abortion if you were a Christian as I
• It seemed very biased.
• The next cycle of abortions at Dr. Tillers was in two days
• I was told that I would be kicked out of my family and to not come back
• I asked my mother if she had it to do all over again would she abort me and she said yes
• At this time my mother also mentioned how my dad wanted to kill everyone of my fiance's family members but he was short a bullet
III. The night before the abortion
• I decide my parents plan to send me to Oregon and completely leave behind friends and my fiance might work
• I decide this way I would not have to face anyone and it would make my family happy and they would not kick me out
• At this point I became numb and went through the motions
• My parents ask me to go and visit my fiance and say good bye
• I met him at his car in Wamego and I said absolutely nothing
• He knew something was seriously wrong
• He handed me a back pack filled with candy and a diamond engagement ring (larger than the one he had purposed to me with)
• The gesture made it even harder because the symbolism of the back pack and the ring suggested he would take care of me and help my dreams come true. This made things even harder
IV. The Clinic
• (Tuesday) We arrived at the clinic late everyone was already watching a video on Dr. Tiller's legacy
• The room had about four to five other girls (one woman was over forty the rest were 22 and younger)
• After the orientation the patients and I went different directions
• I was taken into a room and given an ultra sound, when I looked at the screen they abruptly moved the screen away. The woman giving the ultra sound was one of the nurses.
• I was then taken to another examine room and that is when the baby was killed. The procedure was done by woman doctor with a nurse they used a needle and an ultrasound machine. The needle was large and it took two times to hit the baby.
• After the procedure, I went to the lobby and joined my mother. At this time I signed all the paperwork. It was various papers that asked vague questions and vaguely explained the laws concerning abortion and privacy laws.
• While I signed the papers, I met the "counselor" whom I talked to over the phone. She appeared to be a receptionist and not a counselor.
• After signing the papers, my mother and I went to the business office to pay for the procedure. During the business side of the abortion, a nurse took me to an examine room and took my weight and a sample of my blood.
• During all this time we had slowly figured out who was who amongst the patients. One was in my exact same situation, another was fifteen and her rather was with her and really did not want her to abort the baby, the third was a college student who wasn't sure her and her boyfriend could take care of a baby, the fourth was an older woman in her forties who felt her boyfriend was too immature and was not ready for a baby. None of the other patients explained their reason for being there neither because they were mentally unstable nor because the baby was deemed unviable by their obstetrician. All were there because they thought this would solve their problems.
• We all left and went to our hotel.
• (Wednesday) The next morning started around ten and I went in and had my cervix packed with laminaria sticks. It was used to soften the cervix so the baby would deliver easier.
• After the procedure a Unitarian pastor came and talked to us and told us how God would forgive us and that we were already here and you have to take care of the ones who are here not the ones who aren't born and here presently. Nothing was mentioned of baptism nor did he ask us how we were doing. We ate pizza and got to know everyone a little bit better.
• Some time during this day I spoke with Dr. Tiller, it was a few minutes and it felt like a casual conversation more than one about my medical well being. I remember talking about his teenage child or children and how they if in the same situation would do the same thing.
• We all left to return to the hotel and to pick up our prescriptions for pain medication (hydrocodene and a smooth muscle stimulator).
• That evening I started having severe cramps and couldn't sleep. I thought I heard my fiance's car that night and that morning developed into a huge ordeal. One of the biggest of my life.
• (Thursday)My mom left the room to get coffee and my fiance waited for her to come back so he could push by her and talk to me. He begged me not to go through with the abortion and I told him it was too late.
• During this tune my mom had called the police and they had shown up. A women officer talked to me and told me that I shouldn't do it and I was almost done with my pregnancy. She told me how she was a young single mother and was glad she kept her son. I told her as well that it was too late. She left and was still upset. The police detained my fiance because he had let the air out of our tires in hopes that the abortion wouldn't be possible. He yelled out how he loved me.
• The nurse staying in the hotel came and picked us up and took us to the clinic.
V. Today we would deliver.
• It began with an IV of fluids. It took the nurse several times and locations to administer mine. After the IV was in, they injected pitocin and a twilight anesthesia.
• I remember after a while of laying in bed half conscience they took me into a room with an examine table made of metal. There they took an instrument and broke my amniotic sac. I remember a warm gush of water.
• My labor progressed to the final stages and the nurse took me into the bathroom to push the baby out. I remember yelling at the nurse and calling her names and telling her I did not want to be on the toilet. I finally birthed the baby and I distinctly remember seeing the baby onthe floor to the left of the toilet. That image haunts me daily. It was especially made worse by the birth of each of my subsequent children.
• After the birth all of us whom were done with the delivery had a conference with the abortion doctor and an older nurse, during this conference an interesting fact was relayed to us, we were told that 1 in 3 women who have a late-term abortion get pregnant within a year. We were then given birth control. We also had to write down our goals and how we would avoid getting ourselves in the same situation.
• After the conference I was released to my mother. Upon leaving the clinic we were told to have a check up done by a doctor within a week.
• That night I was thrown into a whirlwind of out-of- town relatives and cramped quarters. I slept on the floor that night.
• (Friday) The next morning was my mom's graduation and following was a party. I went home early. During the whole time my fiance followed me around making sure I was ok, but he went unseen.
• (Saturday) Today was my dad's graduation it was a huge commencement ceremony and it lasted a few hours. After the ceremony he had a party at the lake for his graduation as well as his birthday.
• (Sunday) My graduating class was large and the ceremony was too. Afterwards I finally spoke to my fiance face to face and he apologized to me for anything that could have caused me to abort our baby. My family and I then left to a restaurant.
• (Monday) I packed my things into my car and left my home following my grandmother on a cross-country journey. We made a stop in Branson, Missouri to have a mini vacation during this time I made an amends with my fiance and he told me to come back to Kansas with him. I did not because I was worried my parents would be angry and I was not sure what they were capable of at that time.
• The follow up examine was never performed and neither was it sent to Dr. Tiller's office. His office never followed up to see why they had never received a follow up exam.
• On our way to Oregon I decided to return to Kansas and fix my life.
• I had become numb to my emotions and to the enjoyable things in life. That fall I enrolled in Kansas State University and ever since have continued my education.
Currently, I am married and have two children. I am working on my bachelor's degree and pursuing my dreams, but I am haunted everyday by the abortion. I feel that I was exploited for the 2500 dollars the procedure cost and was thrown out as soon as it was done. I love my children very much but neither of their pregnancies was like a normal pregnancy where you tell all your family excitedly. I have always felt reservations for telling people about my pregnancies because of the experience I had with my first one. Thankfully, I have a supportive husband and supportive in-laws that have helped me get through such a difficult time. I hope to tell my experience to as many people as I can to make aware the truth about late-term abortions.