by Katie Walters
When I got an email from Gainesville Women’s Liberation advertising a planning meeting around the issues of abortion and birth control, I knew I had to attend. Why is the issue of abortion and birth control access so timely? After all, there has been no report of anti-choice legislation introduced so far in the Florida legislature.
Well, first of all, our state already scores a big fat F for abortion access (prochoiceamerica.org). We have many laws that place (medically unnecessary) restrictions on both women and abortion providers. Secondly, Texas! The laws that passed in Texas certainly will be tried in other states. We need a united movement that demands no restrictions on abortion — and we need to be ready to fight and show our strength in a moments notice. I encourage readers to join NWL’s listserv to stay on top of this issue in Florida. (To get involved, call Kendra at (352) 575-0495, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I decided to publicly speak out about my abortion because I am tired of attempts to shame and silence women. Like our sisters in Redstockings of the Women’s Liberation Movement proclaimed in 1969, “Women are the experts!”
Here is the testimony I gave at the speakout (as it was written):
When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately knew I wanted an abortion. I didn’t want a baby at that point in my life. Not to mention the fact that I had no money and barely part-time work! I was very lucky; my best friend and roommate worked at an abortion clinic. I knew exactly who to contact.
When I came to Gainesville, I had a pregnancy scare and I searched for information on abortion services and had a difficult time figuring out what was real and what was a crisis pregnancy center (these are anti-abortion organizations who lure in women with free sonograms and then proceed to explain why abortion is “wrong”).
I was lucky that part was easy, because the rest wasn’t. The guy who I got pregnant with, simply put, did not have his shit together to handle the situation. I did not have the luxury of not having my shit together. I had to handle it, find the money (at the time $400), find a ride, take time off work, and go through the actual procedure and aftercare. This is why it sickens me to hear about partner consent laws — men are able to walk away from your uterus, you are not.
It’s pretty simple.
The abortion itself was much less of a big deal than I imagined. It wasn’t fun, there was quite a bit of cramping, but I was awake and aware the whole time and felt fine. I remember being so angry at the protesters outside and as we left I yelled at them, which made me feel better. Being pregnant releases some hormones that were quite a bit to deal with, but all the emotions and yelling and crying were not because I regretted my abortion. In fact, the abortion was a breath of relief in the middle of a very stressful situation.
I went to work for the clinic that treated me for about 4 years, so I have been lucky again in getting to show women respect and care during their abortions. Every story is different, but the one thing they all have in common is that they really needed that option. I have often thought about the crosses the pro-lifers put out for all the “children murdered” by abortion. I think a truer representation of what abortion does for us would be little diplomas and “goal accomplished!” and “had a baby when it was right!” signs to represent each abortion. I know it changed my life.
The women and men who fought back in Texas inspire me. Join the fight for abortion rights — no restrictions, no apologies!