I will always remember the day I found out I was pregnant and had to tell my boyfriend at the time. I was not in a good relationship at the time, emotional abuse was the least of it, and none of my friends or family members liked the male I was involved with at the time. No one supported the relationship, and that should have been my first sign.
I was absolutely terrified to tell him, and he did not take it well. There was no other option but abortion. This pregnancy was a wake up call for me as I could not imagine spending more time with him and I could not imagine being a mother in my very early 20s.
I was also terrified of the judgement of others. Even an on-campus doctor, who called to check up on me after confirming a blood test, had some judgement in his voice when I told him I had already made my decision to terminate. He said he was "surprised how quickly I came to the decision when I should know I have options."
In North Carolina, where I was at the time, there are strict abortion laws and very few places to get an abortion. The first place I sought for help actually turned out to be an anti-choice place in disguise and they would not even discuss any options or procedures for abortions. I finally figured out I would have to drive over an hour away to Planned Parenthood for help.
We made an appointment and drove to Planned Parenthood for the first appointment. They confirmed the pregnancy, as is required, and reviewed North Carolina laws with me. When I got my abortion, and still now, the North Carolina law requires an ultrasound prior to the abortion, state-directed counseling that included information that seemed to discourage an abortion AND a 72 hours waiting period after your first appointment before having the procedure. It all felt like a punishment designed to make me change my mind.
An even more absurd NC law now exists that requires doctors to send the ultrasounds of women seeking abortions to state officials.
It was very restrictive when it was supposed to be my decision and, to me, it felt very much like the state was trying to persuade me against my own decision, which I should have a right to with my own body.
Ultimately I chose the Misoprostol abortion pill route, which was the best choice for me. I paid out of pocket since it is not covered under insurance and, being under my mother’s insurance at the time, I would not have wanted it on any record or would not have wanted any of my conservative family members to see or find this information
Does the guilt still get to me? Yes. I have not really talked about this with many people, but I feel it's more important today than ever to share my story.
But I will always remember it was the best choice for me at the time and I do not regret my decision. I hope to help other women by sharing my story. I also hope to erase some of the stigma and taboo around abortions.
What has been important to me is that I have had my very close friends and brother support me along the way. As I told them I was pregnant and as I told them of my decision, they were there to support me and see me through every single step of the way.
And as time has gone on, I have become more comfortable sharing my story with people in person and publicly speaking out against restrictive reproductive healthcare rights and speaking for abortion rights.
Did you know 1/3 women may have an abortion in her life?
We cannot afford to remain silent.
We cannot let the stigma and taboo continue.
We must preserve a woman's right to choose.
Even as I write this now, my heart is pounding that I am about to publicly share my story. I am aware there could be consequences, this knowledge is out there forever and some may even view me differently. But I will not be fearful, I will be bold and I will reach out to others who have shared my experience. I cannot afford to remain silent about my experience any longer.
I stand beside other women who have had to make this difficult decision and I am here to talk and share my experience as I fight to maintain this right to choose to have an abortion. I will continue to fight and speak out.
I hope my story and sharing this will help even one woman with their story. And I'm always here to talk if anyone has any questions or needs any help with the story too. We are stronger together <3
Thinking about sharing your story? This guide helped me and I hope it can help you too.