Abortion and Stigma

(somber solo guitar music) – When I was 20 years
old, I had an abortion. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to focus
on my education and my future, so it wasn't a difficult decision for me to terminate the pregnancy. But I was really, really nervous about it. But mostly I was just
afraid of telling anyone. I was afraid of anyone finding out that I was having an abortion. – I could not run to my parents because I was raised in a
Mexican Catholic household, and even the word of abortion
is just terrible to them. So I could not go to them and tell them that their daughter was pregnant at 18. – A lot of stigma
surrounding people of faith to have abortions, and I like
to stand for that and say that my faith led me
to getting my abortion and it helped me through
the entire experience. – And I have really wonderful friends, but I also felt like I couldn't tell them because we were all Christians, and as a member of my faith community, I knew that abortion is something that's very stigmatized within my faith, and I was afraid that that would change how they saw me and
how they felt about me. And I felt really
isolated because of that. – For the longest time I was told that God was gonna punish me, coming
from a Catholic household. I don't think that is true. I don't think God works that way, and I think I did what I
needed to do for myself. – At the time I didn't
know much about abortion. I didn't know where to get it. I just didn't really know
how accessible it would be because I live in the bible
belt and all I had ever heard about people who had
abortions was very bad things. – With that stigma, I
felt that I was wrong for wanting to have an
abortion, and I felt alone. – I did have a lot of barriers
or stigma that I had to face with the judgemental and racist pro-lifers outside of the clinic that
I already had been facing because I'm also an escort. – There was a lot of self-stigma, stigmatizing of myself, I guess, because I couldn't find stories like mine. It's easy to make the assumption that there are no stories like mine, which I later found was not true. – When I was going into the clinic, I didn't see anyone that was
already previously a parent and having to go through
the judicial bypass route. So it was kind of a little
bit of an isolating situation even though I had
support, because I thought I was the only one and
I know now that I'm not. And I think it's important for us to educate not only on
teens getting abortions, but also teens being moms, and also teens being
moms that have abortions. – There's a lot of misconceptions
and stigma associated with having two or more abortions, and I remember in my head thinking, well, what am I gonna do now? And I decided not to go
with Planned Parenthood because I didn't want them to know I had another abortion, and so. – I have had to experience others putting their own feelings onto my story, and that abortion should be something sad or something that isn't joyous, something that shouldn't be celebrated. I don't feel that way. I loved having my abortion. It was one of the best
decisions I've ever made. I don't regret it. I would do it again. And those feelings are something that I'm not willing to let
anyone take away from me. – It was interesting because the nurses, when I had went there previously for testing and checkups,
they were a lot nicer. And when I went there for my procedure, they weren't nice and they
kind of weren't talking to me. And they kind of just let
me go through that alone. – I sat down with the
doctor and I told them that I was ultimately
looking for an abortion if that was accessible to me, and they said that they didn't know. The Reproductive Health
Equity Act had just passed in Oregon, so there was
no abortion restriction in Oregon, really, anymore. I thought that would be in my favor. I was wrong, because stigma still exists and people ultimately
didn't want to help me. – Eventually I got my abortion, and eventually I got
the care that I needed, but I share my story so
that people are aware that there are barriers to overcome even if abortion is legal. I didn't have access to my rights, and without access to them
what rights did I really have? – I remember just how
much, for the first month, I really wanted to tell
my mother every day, but I was so scared. Because I knew that I
was gonna be met with so much judgment and so much hate. So I kept it to myself. – The stigma surrounding
teen abortion made it worse. In a family in a community where abortion is not talked about, it made it harder for me to
have someone I could trust. – I sometime wonder what
it would have been like if I had been able to tell my friends, if I had been comfortable telling them. What it would have been like if I had a bigger support system around me and maybe I wouldn't have
carried this stigma and shame with me for so long and not felt quite as isolated in this experience. – I decided to start sharing my story to reduce the stigma around abortion, and especially in my community
as, like I mentioned, a first-generation,
low-income Latina woman, there's still a lot of
discrimination around abortion and I tell my story so that
others feel less alone. – And I want to share this
message with other girls that might be going through
what I went through. That might feel alone,
that might feel alienated, that might feel like
everybody is telling them that what they need to do is wrong and they feel like they
don't have any support. – I'm here to tell all of you young folks that abortion is okay,
and if you choose to do it it's gonna be okay and
there's resources and support out there and you're not alone. – It is absolutely not okay for us to have to wait to get access to care. You can't make policy assuming that everyone is on an
equal playing field. You can't make policy assuming that everyone has access to their rights. – And you live in this
black and white world that doesn't make any sense because things aren't black and white. And I wish that I had a
space that I felt safe enough to come into at that age so that females like me, people with uteruses period,
can just feel safe enough to share their story and feel safe enough to know their options and choose what option is best for
them and have the support to support that option because it's so important to not make any young person feel alone. – It took a village for me
to receive abortion services, and without them it might
not have been a reality. And for that reason, I hope
that abortion is accessible, safe, and without
discrimination for all people.

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