explains why it’s important to bring abortion out of the shadows.
AT AGE 19, I found out I was pregnant. I was living in Denton, Texas, and attending my second year of college at the University of North Texas (UNT). I was a busy college student who was interning for Texas Equal Access Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides abortion funding to low-income women.
Despite the fact that I was unexpectedly pregnant, I really felt lucky, and I remember telling myself, “At least I am pregnant while I’m interning at a non-profit that will provide financial assistance for my procedure. At least I can terminate this pregnancy and not have to scrounge up money from friends and family, or sell things, like most poor, working women do. At least I have a supportive community that will hold my hand the entire way.”
… I WENT through the standard Planned Parenthood protocol of signing waiver forms and speaking with a counselor to make sure I wasn’t pressured to have an abortion. I was given a sonogram and asked to look at my five-week old bundle of cells, and lastly given my RU-486 packet, otherwise known as the abortion pill. Being asked to look at the sonogram screen is a sick way to guilt women.
I was advised, after I returned home, to take my RU-486 packet and take it easy for the next day or so. I experienced the regular symptoms of inducing an abortion—nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, etc. Due to prolonged symptoms, I had to call into work and was told to put in my two weeks’ notice since my manager did not agree with me taking off work for having an abortion.
Not only was I asked to put in my two weeks at a place I dedicated three years of my life to, but prior to that, I was asked to bring in paperwork from Planned Parenthood to prove that I had an abortion. I ultimately think this was done to humiliate me. Now I had to wait to physically heal, and then immediately hit the pavement to find a new job.
I look back at that situation with anger, like, I’m sure, many women—single mothers, poor women, marginalized women—who are fired from their jobs because they had to take off work to have an abortion. Not only is this procedure expensive, but having to miss days of work and possibly pay for travel expenses and hotel costs if there is not a clinic within the surrounding area is not financially feasible for working-class women.
We live in a society that has pushed abortion under the rug, separating it from every other medical procedure, and silencing those who have experienced it. I am ready to pull it out from under the rug and make abortion accessible for all.