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Abortion Stories

As abortion access comes under attack, we’re sharing the voices of people who’ve had safe, legal abortions. Here are their stories.

I will forever be grateful to Planned Parenthood for the opportunity to live again.

Sam B., Alabama 

“My story is hard to hear, harder to tell. One thing I know for certain is that I would not be here today if it weren't for Planned Parenthood and the compassionate staff. A former friend/coworker turned rapist decided that he would take me to my bedroom and rape me while I was inebriated.

I woke up the next day bleeding and confused. I moved through life for a month and a half feeling sick to my stomach. By early March, I knew something was off. My period hadn't come for two months. I took a pregnancy test. Then I took another. And another. This nightmare couldn't be real. But it was. Positive. I had to bite my shower curtain to keep from screaming as I crumbled onto my bathroom floor.

I knew that if I couldn't end this pregnancy, it would end me. I would never bring his child into the world. I couldn't. With abortion being so stigmatized, I thought no one would understand. Luckily, I remembered my best friend's saving words — the clinic downtown. I am recovering everyday and getting stronger, and I will forever be grateful to Planned Parenthood for the opportunity to live again.”

I wanted to pursue my career, be a more established parent, and couldn’t afford a child.

Brittany H., Washington, DC

“In August 2012, I just graduated from college, started my professional career at a government agency, and moved in with three roommates. I also found out I was 2 1/2 months pregnant. I already knew what my decision was. I used my choice and decided to terminate my pregnancy. I went to Planned Parenthood in DC with my partner. In the waiting room, I felt like had inflicted a self-derogatory mark or scarlet letter on myself because I was getting an abortion.

In my case, I knew being a parent wasn’t for me at the time. I wanted to pursue my career, be a more established parent, and couldn’t afford a child. As I thought about my choice, I became more affirmed. I had 3 roommates in a three bedroom apartment. The crib couldn't go in the living room. I was eliminating a cycle of poverty. I was the only person employed in my relationship. My partner was a 5th year senior in college. We couldn't afford a child on my salary alone.

I didn't see a foreseeable future with that partner, we never talked about having kids and we wouldn’t make a good parenting team. Most importantly I was affirmed in my values. Providing the best life for my child as a financially stable, older, and more established parent. My doctor gave me pills for the medication abortion, a prescription for birth control, and medical school advice. Six years later, I'm a career woman, a Master's of Public Health candidate, and a future doctor. I'm also in a loving relationship with a partner with whom I foresee a future. In my experience at Planned Parenthood, I received the best care possible and exercised my choice.”

I had been on birth control for years but as we all know, it’s not perfect.

Jasmine C., Washington, DC

“When I was in my early 20s, I had to confront an unwanted pregnancy. I had been on birth control for years but as we all know, it’s not perfect. As soon as I saw that positive pregnancy test I knew the right thing to do was to get an abortion. I located the one abortion provider in town, but with rates the same cost as my rent, they were not an option without financial assistance. 

A few days later, I remembered seeing a sign by campus that said something along the lines of “Pregnant? Need help?” and made it a point to stop by on the way to work, thinking they could help me figure out the logistics of getting an abortion. When I let the employee know that I was there for any assistance with getting an abortion, she turned against me. “How would your parents feel about this?” “What do you think God thinks about it?” I was completely taken aback and offended, as it wasn’t until this moment that I realized she didn’t want to help me at all. Here I was, trying to make the responsible decision for myself but encountering judgment and manipulation.

Thankfully, I was lucky to be on an employer plan that would cover a portion of my abortion costs. It required me to drive two and a half hours to a clinic in central Florida, which necessitated me taking off work plus finding someone to give up their weekday to be with me, but it was hundreds of dollars cheaper. I am lucky because I had health insurance, a plan that respected my needs, a car, funds to drive hours away, and a job that allowed me a day off. So many others don’t have access to these things and live different results. After more than a month, I was able to make the best decision for my body and my life. My experience with the clinic was full of compassion and care, neither of which I received from both my personal doctor’s office or the crisis pregnancy center.”

Legislators in North Carolina didn’t trust me to know what was best for my own body.

Elena S., Nebraska

“I was taking birth control at the time, so we didn’t use a condom and I didn’t think anything of it until weeks later when I missed my period. I had just transferred colleges and started my first semester at a new school in North Carolina when I found out I was pregnant.

I do not regret my decision to have an abortion. I’m not sad about it. I’m sad that I was required to wait 72 hours between appointments to make sure I didn’t want to change my mind. I’m sad that I was forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound. I’m sad that I had to listen to the heartbeat because legislators in North Carolina didn’t trust me to know what was best for my own body.

Once I graduated college I began volunteering as a clinic escort, and I currently volunteer at the clinic here in Bellevue. I escort patients because I want them to know that someone sees their humanity. I want them to know that someone cares about them and trusts that they are making the right choice. I want them to be able to see past the anti-choice zealots who scream and yell at them and try to shame them into changing their mind through lies and intimidation. Thankfully there is now a Planned Parenthood that performs abortions in Asheville.

While I didn’t have my abortion at a Planned Parenthood, without them I would not have had the knowledge or the language to make that choice. Planned Parenthood has since provided me with cancer screenings, birth control, and regular reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood saves the lives of patients every day, and I will continue to fight until we can ensure that abortion is accessible to every person, and that both patients and providers are protected and safe. I am so grateful to the abortion providers here and throughout the world, and I am in this with you.”

They have provided me with a free pregnancy test, affordable screening for STIs, and a legal and safe abortion.

Clara W., New York

"They provide excellent care. I've never come across more caring and well-trained professionals than those that work at Planned Parenthood, particularly those at the Bleeker Street location in Manhattan. I've been a patient of Planned Parenthood for a few years. They have provided me with a free pregnancy test, affordable screening for STIs, and a legal and safe abortion, and now they serve as my ob/gyn and I receive free no cost birth control because of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2016, when I suspected I had become pregnant unplanned, they tested me, counseled me, and offered me all of my alternatives with no shame or question. When I called to schedule my abortion, I was able to meet with a social worker as well to discuss my choice and options. We spoke about my decision and ensured I felt I was making the right one. I cannot thank them enough for the care and treatment that I have received there.

They are always kind, patient, and willing to let me cry or work through coping mechanisms. These men and women that work there provide excellent care without judgment. People always assume it’s easy to choose to take birth control, but there are risks and the cost is not always affordable or accessible. At Planned Parenthood they take away all of your doubts and listen to your concerns and suggest the best ones for you."

It wasn’t traumatic at all. I felt almost nothing.

Ebony W., Tennessee

“When I had my abortion, I was 22. It happened out of the blue. I went into Planned Parenthood. I went in, and went through the entire process. Towards the end of the appointment, I did the pill. So I did the at-home abortion. But what I think is interesting about my story is that for me having it wasn’t traumatic at all. I felt almost nothing. I was very thankful to have my friend there with me, and she was so much there with me that the next day, when I had to do the at-home miscarriage, she let me stay at her house and her other roommate took care of me through the entire process.

I think that the hardest thing for me was not having that particular guy take responsibility. I spoke to him later on that day after the abortion happened, and of course he had some excuse as to why he didn’t text back. Then he said he would help out and be there the next day and completely was not, completely bailed. That was really the hardest part. But I don’t regret my decision at all. That’s not someone I would want in my life, and I wouldn’t want to bring a child into this life with that person being the father, and him always being in my life.  I am so incredibly thankful that I had the resources and the access to Planned Parenthood so that I could do that, that day. I can’t really imagine today having the abortion and waiting 48 hours. I didn’t have to do that then.

I got it done right then, that day, and I moved on with my life the next day. That’s exactly how I feel like, if that’s how somebody wants to do it, then that’s how they should have the right to do it. They should definitely be able to do it like that. We’re all different people. We’re going to have different decisions.”

Iowa lawmakers would have forced me to carry my pregnancy to term.

Leah V.B., Iowa

“I grew up in a conservative, religious community in Iowa. I have struggled with my mental health for well over a decade. I have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. I attempted suicide when I was just 12 years old. My mental health is now my priority, and I will do whatever I need to protect it. So when I found out I was pregnant two years ago— recently single, a week into a new job, alone in a new city — I never questioned what I would do. My very first thought was that I wanted to die. My next was that I needed to have an abortion. Risking my recovery and giving up everything I have worked for wasn’t an option. I put my mental health first. 

I had my abortion when I was 7 weeks along. About a year ago, Iowa passed a law banning abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected. Thankfully, in January a state judge ruled the law against Iowa’s constitution. Iowa lawmakers would have forced me to carry my pregnancy to term — a woman struggling with an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. The reasons an individual decides to have an abortion are personal and private, but the fact that some are unable to access care should be public concern. When I needed an abortion, I had so many privileges: a flexible work schedule, private health insurance, financial stability, working car to carry me across state lines if I needed, and a support network.

There are millions of people who don’t have those things, and abortion should not be a privilege.”

I had an abortion at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Kalamazoo, MI the year before it was destroyed by anti-abortion terrorists.

Kim J.G., Michigan

“I had an abortion at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Kalamazoo, MI the year before it was destroyed by anti-abortion terrorists (1985/86). And then in 1987 I had my daughter alone, at age 20. I married the man who would adopt her and become her father when she was 11, and his daughter, at the time, was 9.

Together, my husband and I struggled with infertility. It took us 6 years to have our son together, when our daughters were fourteen and sixteen. He is almost fifteen. And almost three years ago we took guardianship of our nephew, who is also now 15. So, I have or am raising four children, two of whom are not my own. Being a mother — I call myself Everymom —is a huge part of my identity. I never talked openly about my abortion. Though I stopped practicing when my daughter was young, I was raised singing and being very active in the Methodist church where I grew up.

I began speaking up and speaking out for Planned Parenthood after the 2016 election when I heard Reverend Nathan Dannison tell me and a theater full of people at K College in Kalamazoo, that "Nowhere in scripture is abortion condemned." Because those words changed my life and they lifted the cloud of shame I'd carried since I was very young. I think my story is compelling, and I want to help others, quite possibly moms, stand up and be able and willing to say I am 1 in 3. I want to make a difference.”

I am marginalized in every aspect of my existence in ways that are never in my control. I am in a constant fight for survival.

Cassy J.M., Michigan

“In my first year of college, I had an abortion and I told no one.  Not because I was ashamed of my choice — I knew it was the best decision for me. I was living at home, going to school full time. We struggled just to make ends meet. My mother did everything possible to make sure we dreamed bigger than our circumstances. She had so many plans for me. I couldn’t raise a child or sustain a family.

I told no one because I felt that my body didn't belong to me. It belonged to a spiritual belief system, not of my own;  it belonged to a society and their view of women like me who have made the choices I made. 

I exist within a system that is, every day, failing my body. As a fat woman, the medical industry routinely fails us, especially when it comes to reproductive health. As a black woman, my health is at risk in a country where racism is the air we breathe. I live in a state where people of color are denied access to basic essentials to survive like clean water to drink and a decent education. I am marginalized in every aspect of my existence in ways that are never in my control. I am in a constant fight for survival. My body has protected me through trauma and I will always fight for her protection. All I have is my body, my agency. No one has the right to legislate what decisions I make with my doctor. No one has the right to push their moral agenda on my medical decisions.”

My abortions made my dream possible.

Erin P., California

“I’m a 32-year old Thai-American, cisgendered Buddhist woman with immigrant parents, and I’ve had two abortions. I attribute my access and ability to abortion care with the successes I have today. Planned Parenthood has been there for me for over half my life and I would not have been able to live the life I want if I could not get the care I needed. I had an unintended pregnancy at 18 and again at 27.

I was neither prepared or interested in parenting then. In fact, I was absolutely certain I wanted to and will be an amazing mother, when I’m ready. At 18, because I was able to get an abortion, I went on to get a Women’s Studies degree at UCLA. At 27, I had been using my Nuvaring religiously and had no reason to think I could be pregnant so it was a huge shocker. I was in my first year of law school and I was already as lost as ever trying to navigate post-grad education as a first generation American and first gen college student. I wasn’t ready. I just wasn’t ready and there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to have an abortion.

Thanks to my abortions, I went on to graduate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and land my dream career. I now further the Reproductive Justice Movement on a daily basis by organizing law students across the country bringing RJ to their campuses and communities. This is my dream and my abortions made my dream possible.”

After my abortion, life continued on like
normal — which is all I was hoping for.

Sarah S., Alabama

“In early July of 2017, I found out I was pregnant. Neither I nor my boyfriend of six months wanted to have a child. I knew from my volunteer work that abortion services at the Planned Parenthood health center in Mobile were not consistently available, so I immediately began researching other options. I called American Family Planning and made an appointment for 6:15am the following morning at their Pensacola, Florida location.

Even if services at the Mobile clinic were consistent, I likely would have chosen to go to Pensacola in order to avoid Alabama's 48-hour waiting period. I paid $515, which my boyfriend had withdrawn from his student loan funds, for a surgical abortion with twilight sedation. The price included an out-of-state discount. After my abortion, life continued on like normal — which is all I was hoping for. I was confident in my decision, was able to handle it privately, and had a supportive partner.”