Activists tell their abortion stories to get justice for Jane

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Emily O’Brien24, graduate student, activist and writer

“I had my abortion when I was 19 in a small town in rural Indiana, and it was incredibly difficult to do it in such a conservative place,” Emily says. “Indiana is a conservative state, and I had my abortion right after [former Indiana governor and Vice President Mike] Pence started attacking Planned Parenthood here, so it wasn’t friendly. People who heard about what I did vandalized my car, I lost friends and generally felt isolated after making this decision. The stigma attached to abortion creates so many hostile conditions that it is quite toxic. I also had to drive an hour for the procedure and stay in a hotel, and had to pay entirely with my savings, which drained my savings. Luckily, I had savings to fall back on, but a lot of women aren’t so lucky. Since…so many abortion clinics have been closed due to anti-abortion legislation, abortion can be quite inaccessible for many women, especially women of color and low-income women,” she says.

“As a student and activist-academic, I focus a lot on the power of storytelling, which is why the 1 in 3 campaign is so important to me – we are inundated with false abortion narratives, and it is our chance to tell our stories…. Abortion experiences are too often flattened by the inaccurate or single-story accounts circulating in our public discourse, and that’s why this project is so important; to shine a light on the complexities of abortion and allows us to use our voices to share our experiences.

Read Emily’s writings on abortion health care here.

Benny Del Castillo27, Case Manager, DC Abortion Fund

“This year, I’m really looking back on my story and expressing a life-changing reaction when I told my sister about the abortion I had just had. She looked at me and simply said, “I never thought you would be one of those women. This statement has always stuck with me and is the main reason why I have never told any other member of my family about it. I’ve told strangers about it, but I can’t tell my family because of the way one person responded,” Benny says.

“I found out I was pregnant while I was in college. At that time I was in an abusive relationship and that was definitely a key reason why I chose to get myself to abort. If I had a baby with this person who had done such horrible things to me, I would be forever tied to him – and I just couldn’t accept it. At that time, I had never met someone who had an abortion – yet I believe that’s not true, I think I just hadn’t heard anyone’s story. It was very much related to shame and judgment still concerned about this procedure.

“As a case manager for the DC Abortion Fund, I have worked with several people who literally jump hurdles to get basic health care. I mainly work with Spanish speakers. A woman I worked with was about 20 weeks pregnant and lived in Virginia. Living in Virginia alone limited her choice of clinics because most don’t perform abortions beyond 13 weeks, except in Richmond, which was over two hours from her home, and it wouldn’t be feasible for her. her because she didn’t have a car. And so we had to get out of Virginia and look at Maryland and DC We had an option in Maryland; however, the procedure had to be completed in two days and she could not have been more than 15 minutes from the clinic for safety reasons. Again, this was not feasible as she also had work and three children. We eventually found a clinic in DC that was more expensive but had no distance requirements. However, because the clinic was trying to increase security and limit any form of threat or danger, no one could enter the clinic unless they had an appointment and paid a deposit. Now, we can look at that and see no problem. However, while the woman I was working with had the money to pay the deposit, she did not have a bank or credit card (which is quite common in the immigrant and undocumented community) and could not so don’t pay over the phone. We bypassed this and got a prepaid card, however, when we called to activate it, they asked for a social security number. I asked why a social security number was needed and was told it was a requirement due to the Patriot Act. Barrier after barrier after barrier. And through it all, we must recognize that these barriers target specific communities – the most marginalized and oppressed.

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