INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two Indiana women have two abortion stories and two different sides to the issue.
News 8’s Hanna Mordoh sat down with the women to hear their unique perspectives on abortion a week before Indiana lawmakers meet for a special session to adopt new restrictions on abortion.
Chelsea Pell and Michelle Mimms-Duchan both had abortions, and now one is for abortion rights and the other is anti-abortion.
“I don’t want to have a baby, so I had an abortion,” said Michelle Mimms-Duchan, of Indianapolis.
“It was my choice to terminate the pregnancy and I made peace with it,” said Chelsea Pell, from Bloomington.
Pell and Mimms-Duchan both got pregnant young and both had abortions – but their opinions differ on this.
“I know what I did was wrong and I know the importance of the seed in your body,” Mimms-Duchan said.
“For you it might be killing a baby, but not for us. And we’re okay with that,” Pell said.
Chelsea Pell’s Story
Pell grew up in Bloomington and became pregnant at 21. She wasn’t in a serious relationship and barely had enough money to survive.
“Bringing a baby that you can’t properly care for is, I think, irresponsible. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to the baby,” Pell said.
Pell always wanted to be a mom and tried to find a way forward that included a baby, but she didn’t see that future working. Therefore, at 8 weeks, she took the pills to terminate the pregnancy.
“I went through the abortion process on my own… It was awful – I don’t wish it on anyone. No one wants to go and have one done. And I went on to live the rest of my life,” Pell said.
Pell went to college, had a career, and when she was ready, she married and had her own family. She has a stepson and had 2 daughters, but one died of natural causes in the womb.
“We lost her at 29 weeks. And it was devastating,” Pell said.
Her daughter Clara’s heart stopped beating, however, Pell’s body did not recognize that the baby had passed through her womb. Pell said the same drug used to help mothers with certain abortions or miscarriages helped her deliver the stillborn baby.
“It breaks your heart…and if I couldn’t have had that kind of medicine at that time, I mean, I would have died,” Pell said.
It’s his fear for women now, that they won’t get the treatment they need or want. That their choice for their own body, their medical needs or desires, will be gone.
“I know people who have had abortions, but I don’t know anyone who’s regretted it,” Pell said.
The story of Michelle Mimms-Duchan
“Children are a blessing, not a curse,” Mimms-Duchan said.
Mimms-Duchan says she regrets her abortions.
“I know it’s wrong. God has given us all a choice here. Even if we have a choice, that doesn’t mean it’s fair,” Mimms-Duchan said. “I think about the kids and who they could have become.”
For her, not having a choice might have been better. She grew up in Indianapolis and became pregnant at age 15. She was so scared that she decided to have an abortion. Then, at age 25, she found herself in a similar situation.
“I just cried – I cried every day. Because, Lord, I don’t want to have this baby, I’m getting ready to graduate. I have two kids. I’m divorced,” Mimms said -Duchan.
She had the abortion and then, a year later, she was pregnant again. She considered abortion but said several signs from God prompted her to keep the baby.
“It’s a blessing to have chosen to keep the child,” Mimms-Duchan said.
Mimms-Duchan graduated from college and continued her career. She is now the mother of three adult children.
“That’s the mistake I could have made and I couldn’t have had them in my life,” Mimms-Duchan said.
His son, Thomas, is an adult and is himself a father. She wants people to see it and choose life.
“I just hope they (the women) make the right choice,” Mimms-Duchan said, “to keep the baby.”
Abortion Statistics in Indiana
Indiana Department of Health data shows that 8,414 women had abortions in Indiana in 2021. Only 105 of those abortions took place after the pregnancy reached the 14-week mark. More than half were women in their twenties and 234 were under 18.
What Mimms-Duchan and Pell think about abortion
When asked, “Do you think it’s a good thing if lawmakers ban abortion here in Indiana?”, Mimms-Duchan replied, “I think so…I think so. yes.”
Pell vehemently disagrees. “Women should have a choice in this matter. It’s their body and it’s their choice.
Now, despite differing stances on abortion, these women have similar fears about the potential repercussions of Indiana’s abortion restrictions.
“Abortion isn’t going to end. Safe abortion is going to end and we’re going to be caught in this place where there are either a lot of hurt women trying to get them or a lot of women who just can’t afford it. to take care of them (a baby),” Pell said.
“It is hopeless. Either it will be legal and [there will be] done a lot, or it will be illegal and a lot of women will lose their lives,” Mimms-Duchan said. “Everyone has a choice. If they want to do it, they will, laws or no laws.