In 1966, I was in graduate school at UCLA and roomed in a huge house in Culver City. A friend of one of my housemates arrived from Berkeley, pregnant and desperate. She combed the city for a place that would perform an abortion, but after a week all she had was a phone number in Tijuana. I tried to talk her out of going, but she was determined, and would go by bus. I realized I had to drive her.
We were accompanied by a Peace Corps friend of mine, who also spoke Spanish. A car with two men met us on a littered street corner. They took her and told us to drive around for 2 1/2 hours and meet them back on the corner. When we returned, we saw her huddled on the corner where she’d been dropped.
She left Los Angeles, and I never saw her again — but the image of that frightened young woman hunched over on a Tijuana curb, and the faces of earlier friends who had no safe procedures available in their own country and took dangerous risks, still haunt me. A woman’s right to safety and to choice should not be abridged.