When I found out the news about the abortion ban in Alabama and Gerogia, I was struggling to find the words to express my sadness, anger, and fear for the future. I also felt incredibly concerned with all of the humans triggered by these headlines, tweets, and captions.
While it’s imperative we share our stories and that we speak up against these inhumane laws, I felt like most platforms demanding we shout our abortion stories weren’t keeping in mind how many spaces, especially online spaces, were unsafe to do so. And if it’s unsafe for many cis women, imagine trans men and non-binary folks. I know that many of my friends were having trouble speaking up about their abortions. For some it’s too painful of a reminder, for others the shame and grief around their experiences still feels debilitating.
I stand in solidarity with all the humans that are affected by the #abortionban and I also wanted to create space for the humans who want to share their story but just don’t feel safe to do so. Down below are your anonymous abortion stories. If you’d like to share your story, please comment down below. Take care of yourself during these heavy news cycles. Be kind to yourself. And speak if you feel safe to do so.
“I had an abortion. After having 2 beautiful, healthy children my husband and I decided on a third. Our baby was very much wanted and loved. However, 16 weeks into the pregnancy we found out that he had Down’s Syndrome as well as some other health complications. We knew as soon as we got this news that our family as we knew it would be turned upside down. I was not ready or willing to be a mother to such a high needs child. I was not ready to give up time with my first two children to be in surgeries and therapies multiple times a week with my third child. I was not ready to leave my children with the burden of caring for him when my husband and I grow old. I had an abortion at 18 weeks. I gave birth, held my baby, and said goodbye. And though it is a heartbreaking grief that I carry in my heart every day, I will never regret it. I know my whole family’s lives are better for it. And it was a radical act of self-care personal.” – Anonymous
“I was 17. And to this day (now 31) it was the hardest decision I have ever made. And I had people in my corner! I had a family physician who confirmed the pregnancy and referred me to a clinic. I had a hospital with a private entrance a mere 20 mins drive from my home. I had a caring partner who held my hand and was there for me both before and after. And I had a circle of women in all different stages of their lives who smiled at me in the recovery room. Knowing the weight this carries on my heart to this day – I cannot imagine how heavy it would be if there had been any obstacles…. Had it been any harder…. Because the decision itself is hard enough. And it is ours to make.” – Anonymous
“It has been 2 years since my experience and the world has been very triggering. I can’t imagine going through my experience and also having abortions be illegal. Who knows where I would have ended up, because God knows I still would have found a way.” – Anonymous
“For me, it’s not that I haven’t processed my abortion, it’s that I have to shout my procedure for men to understand how insane the world is now. It’s never been a secret, but it’s also never been anyone’s business that I’ve had an abortion. And now we have to scream about a simple medical procedure, that I had more than a decade ago, so woman throughout this nation can be believed when they say they know what’s best for their body.” – Anonymous
When I think of my story, I think about all of the people who were not and are not privileged enough to have a safe abortion, of the women who had and will have no one to hold their hand during the procedure, of the women who have had and will have to hide in shame around their own abortion stories, of the women and children who have not had and will not have the choice . I think about how the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, was also the most selfless act of my life.” – Anonymous
“I was 25 and in a relationship with a man I loved when we got pregnant. We weren’t ready to start a family. My career was just getting started, I had $20k in student loans, and despite two years together, we just weren’t ready. That was 3 years ago. We’ve now been married a year and I’m currently nursing our 3 month old son. Our family on our terms.” – Anonymous
“I was 21 with a 2 year old I was raising and supporting on my own. I cried so hard at my appt that the doctor asked me if I was sure. Because of my choice and right to an abortion back then, I have been able to get on my feet and provide a stable home for my daughter who is now 10. I’ve told no one. Not a single friend or family member. This week in particular has been so lonely and hard.” – Anonymous
“I’ve never told anyone my story. I have an extremely supportive family and friend group but I always kept it to myself. Shame? Not sure. My husband and I started dating when I was 25. We got pregnant immediately. We were at the beginning of our careers and relationship, uncertain of our future and not capable of having/supporting a child. We are now married and will start trying for a baby soon. I believe the abortion WE had saved us as a couple and because of that, soon we will be able to be parents to (hopefully) many children.” – Anonymous
“4 years before I had my son and placed him up for adoption, I was pregnant once before that and had an abortion. The adoption was much, much harder and I am sad, angry and scared for all the women in this country right now. Both of those instances, I was able to take full control. I made my choices. Both of them were the two best decisions I have ever made and I won’t ever regret them. But having an abortion was accessible to me in both instances and I applied my freedoms each time.” – Anonymous
“I am alive today because of an abortion. When my mom was 16 she found out she was pregnant, and she was able to go into the hospital and have an abortion. Her best friend and brother had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her family was in turmoil. Her boyfriend was a blip on the radar. She hadn’t finished high school. She smoked pot and drank to cope. Her parents were horrified, but they supported her decision to abort. My mom went on to complete high school, then college, then the education program then a friggin masters degree in counseling. My mom also went on to have 2 healthy babies in her thirties with a partner and money in the bank. When she tells the story of her abortion I hope she doesn’t feel shame. I know she’s grateful it was available to her in Canada. Even if the nurse who checked her in that day told her and three other girls that it was “garbage day at the hospital.” I’m alive today because of my mom’s right to choose, no matter the people who disagree.” – Anonymous
“I was 19 with someone that i knew i loved but things just weren’t right. My mental and physical health were the worst it had ever been. I knew that if i had carried through with the pregnancy things would have gotten so much worse to the point where i think i would have either ended my life or abandoned the child and my lover. I’m beyond grateful i had the choice to make that decision for not only myself but the two other lives that would have been seriously affected as well.” – Anonymous
“I was 31 with a one-year old married, middle class. Condom failed. Barely keeping our heads above water with a baby already, breastfeeding plus my partner battling deep ppd. The day of my scheduled termination, I started bleeding. Ultrasound confirmed no heartbeat. Overall a very confusing and heartbreaking time, but grateful for the choice, options and support. Sometimes I share my story as just having a miscarriage, sometimes I share it with the truth of my intention of terminating anyways. I refuse to edit my story any longer for the risk of judgement. Sharing this has been very healing.” – Anonymous
“I was 24 and six months into the most beautiful, loving relationship of my life so far. When I found out, I became extremely conflicted about what I was going to do. I was in no place, financially or otherwise, to have a child. But my intuition defied what made logical sense. I personally didn’t want to have a baby, but something deep inside of me was pulling me to that choice. I told a couple of my most trusted friends who supported me wholeheartedly, regardless of what I would choose. I told a couple of my family members, who immediately gave me their unwanted and hurtful opinions that had nothing to do with them – that I would burden them if I had the child, etc. I didn’t know how to listen to my own intuition at the time. I also didn’t want to burden my family members, and I certainly didn’t want to “ruin” the life of my at-the-time partner (I felt that I would be solely responsible for changing the trajectory of the rest of his life). I spent weeks waiting for the safe time to have the procedure as I experienced debilitating physical nausea and tremendous emotional confusion. I went through with the procedure, in the safety of my reputable gynecologist’s office. My then partner held my hand the whole way through, as tears streamed down my face. I was so emotionally wrecked afterwards, and that, combined with the hormonal changes, led me into a long depressive period. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I still carry the trauma with me to this day, despite the massive amount of self-work I’ve done around it. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of it. The experience taught me how to follow my own voice. I didn’t know until I became pregnant how badly I yearn to be a mother. I have since had a miscarriage. I only have one ovary as well as a handful of other health complications that effect my chance of both conceiving and carrying a baby to term. I will be utterly and completely devastated if I am unable to have a child in the future. To think of the possibility of losing the potentially only chance I had to be a mother is the most soul crushing, devastating thought for me. However, I still stand by my choice. I am empowered by my choice. I did what I knew was best at the time, despite how immensely heartbreaking and difficult it was for me. – Anonymous
photo by Erica Chidi Cohen