Choices -- three true stories.

"Joyce" just sobbed. Robert cursed silently. They had done everything they could. They'd planned their family responsibly. Their three children -- a son and two daughters -- were in a private school, the one Robert had attended. That created a serious financial burden, but both felt the kids were flourishing.


Joyce and Robert always had practiced birth control carefully. Now they were in their early 40s, and Joyce had decided to change careers. The required schooling would be fairly inexpensive but would take as long as four years. She'd have to quit her job. Things would be tight.

She and Robert had talked things over. Joyce decided to have a hysterectomy. She was past her childbearing years, she had reasoned.


So how could she be pregnant?

Sometimes, her doctor said, the operation failed.

Joyce decided to terminate her pregnancy. She hardly liked the idea. But she considered her options thoroughly,consulted Robert and made the decision. Robert wasn't thrilled either, but he supported her choice.

Joyce believes she made the right decision, but even now, three years later, she recalls the trauma andrelives her very private pain.


"Sally" awoke slowly. For a few moments, she drifted between anesthesia and alertness. She felt different -- alone, somehow.

And she was alone. Her marriage had ended. Her fiance had split. They'd have been married by now, but when he'd discovered she was pregnant, he ran.

She and her small son hadsuffered abuse at the hands of another man. Sally had thought this guy was different.


So here she was, expecting her second child, already a single parent. What now?

Sally considered the options. Her parents, though upset by the situation, helped her think it through.

Sally was wide awake now. The baby was gone -- she never saw her, much less held her. But that was all right. Sally had chosen, and nowher baby would have a stable home with parents who were financially and emotionally able to meet her needs.

In her mind, Sally knows she made the right choice for herself, for her son and for the daughter she has never seen. Sometimes she wonders what her daughter's name is.


"Becky" wondered why he had come. He hadn't bothered fourof the first five times. It was always out-of-town business, or a sale that couldn't wait, or a crucial meeting. All those times she wanted his support and approval, he had more important things to do.


Now that their marriage was absolutely over, here he was. Together they waited.

Becky still was angry and hurt. She had worked while he finished school and kept working when they began having children.

She had borne five children during their seven-year marriage. She hadstruggled to be a good mother and a good wife.

Meanwhile, he'd had one affair after another. When Becky found out and confronted him, they went to marriage counseling and she hoped he would change.

Then, after learning she was again expecting -- and after telling him -- she heard from a friend that he was seeing another woman.

Becky had had enough. She couldn't live with a man she couldn't trust. But what about this new pregnancy?


Becky knew what she must do, thoughthe choice went against her maternal instinct. She would terminate the pregnancy. Her future was too uncertain to take responsibility fora sixth child.

So here they were in the waiting room of the clinic. The procedure would be quick and safe. Afterward, they would go home and she would resume packing and looking for an attorney.

Today, Becky still is wistful. She wishes she hadn't been placed in that position, but she knows in her mind she did what was right for her andher family.


The law in Maryland allows women to make the choices they believe are necessary for themselves and their families. And rightfully so.

Choices, three true stories -- that's the way it is.

For the record

Due to an editing error, a medical term was used incorrectly in Jeff Griffith's column (" Three women stories show the value of right to choose) in the Feb.17 issue of The Carroll County Sun.A woman underwent a tubal ligation, not a hysterectomy as reported.