Everyone has their opinion on abortion,
but few people have experienced it, or even talked to someone personally who’s experienced it. The women we followed up with said that making the decision to have the procedure was difficult, but ultimately was the right decision for them—because of where they were in life, they didn’t feel they could bring a child into the world. Read their powerful stories below.
Kassandra, graduate of Lawrence University
Sometimes abortion is absolutely necessary (for the life of the mother) and sometimes it is simply the healthiest possible choice for the woman involved due to complex circumstances that no one else can fully understand. I have had to have one of each procedure during my lifetime. And while I regret neither procedure, they both gutted me and changed my life irreversibly. I have always been pro-choice. But living through the experience made me both more empathetic for everyone who opts to have an abortion and more passionate about preventing situations in which women must make a potentially gut-wrenching choice. Before you judge any woman for her decision, understand that abortion can be brutal both physically and emotionally. None of us who have had to make this choice approached it lightly or are unchanged by its realities and aftermath.
Anonymous, graduate of DePaul University
When I was 19 in my undergrad, I had to make a very hard decision and decided to go through with the abortion. I was taking the birth control pill regularly, but my boyfriend at the time and I were not using condoms. I was the 1 percent they talk about in the directions on the box. It shocked me when I found out, and my boyfriend was not very nice about the unplanned incident. He threatened to out me on Facebook and left $200 in my mailbox and disappeared.
Shortly after he apologized, but considering the facts, I was not ready to have a kid, especially with a guy like that. I felt as though having the child would not be the responsible thing to do. I didn't know what type of life I could have offered him/her, but I had a feeling it would not have been good enough. Long story short, it just felt like the right thing to do but was a very painful decision to make. I think that abortion should be taken seriously, but should be available to women.
Neha, did not attend college
I made the decision because I was too young to have and support a new life. I also know that if I were to tell my parents that I was pregnant at such a young age, I would be living on the street, as they didn't even know that I'd had my first kiss already. I feel it was the right decision for me because I feel that it will always be better to not bring a child into a world that had no place for it. I think my personal experiences with birth control and abortion have definitely affected my views on reproductive rights. [Abortion is] not easy. It's very difficult, nearly impossible, at times. You go back and forth, but the ultimate decision cannot be made based on how you feel in one moment. You have to think long and hard about long term consequences. You might even regret it, but you have to know what is right for any possible future.
Anonymous, fifth-year community college student
When I was 21, I found out I was pregnant while in the ER after a traumatic car accident. I had no intention of getting pregnant, and furthermore didn't know for some time. This was because I was working more than 60 hours a week and barely had time to do anything. If I'm telling the truth I has been abusing alcohol as a way to escape my unhappiness in my current relationship as well as cheating. I was not in a good place in my life to have a child and I am very glad that I made the decision I did. It's the woman's choice.
It's also our responsibility to learn and know about our own bodies and rights. It's not fun and nobody wants to go through it. But it's not as awful if you find out soon and stand by your decision. Make sure to have someone who you trust and who loves you by your side. Speaking about my experience definitely brings tears to my eyes, but it was a decision I'm so incredibly glad that I had the choice to make. We must stick up for that.
Senior, University of Wisconsin-Stout
I was a junior in college. I had been seeing someone named C for a few months. We were pretty casual, and we had some disagreements about our status at several points. We ended up breaking things off because I wanted to move to more of a boyfriend/girlfriend status and he didn't feel comfortable using that wording. After all was said and done, he was the one that ended things. I was heartbroken. I don't handle negatives well, and I went into a spiral of drinking, doing drugs, not eating, and not taking care of myself. I was at a really bad place both physically and mentally. I ended up losing about 15 pounds from the ordeal and developing a little bit of a drinking problem. Fast forward a few weeks and I found it being winter break. I knew the time away from school was necessary, and being around family usually helps my mental health profoundly.
When I saw those two lines pop up I could feel my stomach drop to what seemed like a point of no return.
I was doing really good until Christmas Day, when I knew something was wrong. It had been a few weeks since I had my period and I am usually regular. When I realized how long it had been, I knew right away. I went out before our plans to Walmart, the only store open that day, and took a pregnancy test in the bathroom stall. When I saw those two lines pop up I could feel my stomach drop to what seemed like a point of no return. I instantly knew that I couldn't keep it, and I knew that I couldn't possibly achieve all of the things I wanted to in my life while also trying to raise another human. I ended up having an abortion a few weeks later. I am able to separate emotions from logic, and I had absolutely no logical thoughts about regretting it, but I was struggling with it emotionally. I would see a baby in public, or walk past the baby clothes section of a store and get really emotional. The worst day of my life, potentially, was a few weeks later when I went to my friend’s baby shower. I knew that's not what I wanted with my life, but I couldn't help feeling sad about the happiness surrounding a new human, and I wondered if someday that might be me.
I went back and forth deciding whether or not to tell C about it. I decided to, after another few weeks, and it was the worst decision I'd likely ever make. I knew that he wasn't as mature as me, just by the way our relationship went, but I thought that telling him would give me some relief and also give him insight as to what I had been going through. I met him, and told him what happened. In hindsight, I don't know why I thought he was mature enough to give me what I needed, and it was probably my fault for having such high expectations. He handled it really poorly and completely invalidated any feelings I was having. He laughed and told me it was no big deal, and that I should stop feeling badly about it. Hearing him laugh about something that had taken such an emotional toll on me was potentially the worst of it all.
Hearing him laugh about something that had taken such an emotional toll on me was potentially the worst of it all.
Thankfully, I had a really great support system in my friends and my roommates. I relied heavily on them, and I realize now that I wouldn't likely have made it through everything that had happened without their support and their help. The craziest part was that I didn't even tell one of my roommates what happened, and she ended up being the biggest support to me without even knowing it. Having her treat me the same as before was integral to me getting to that place again. I am happy to say now that I am to a place of complete serenity about the ordeal. I advocate heavily for a women's right to decide her own future, and I take pride in knowing that I made the right decision on my own.
I believe strongly that forcing a women into motherhood is slavery. A child truly is a lifetime responsibility and being forced to raise a child will affect a woman's career, education, social circle, and often family relationships. A child is a great thing, but children need to be born to families that wholeheartedly desire a child and have the means to raise and support it for the rest of their lives. Accessible and affordable birth control and reproductive education is the key to a woman's future.