As the Roe vs. Wade 45th anniversary approached, I found myself coming across many articles surrounding reproductive health rights, including those about Trump’s anti-abortion executive order, the Women’s March on Washington and videos of powerful women speaking about the topic, but there was one article in particular that stood out to me.
It is titled “Here’s what 44 women want you to know about their abortions.” The title alone shook me and still gives me chills every time I read the women’s testimonies. The article, written by Casey Gueren and published by Buzzfeed News, includes 44 testimonies from women who have undergone an abortion, either medical or surgical.
One aspect these testimonies all have in common is each woman’s expression of either loss, regret or both. Each woman went through a unique experience, some feeling regretful and some not, but all feel the same loss as the next. These women went through a period of pain, hurt in their heart and soul that no one else can compare, sometimes leading to various levels of depression. To those who believe in “pro-life,” all these women did too. They chose their life. They chose the suffering and hurt for themselves in order to make the best decision for their body and life path.
One testimony in particular sounded very familiar. An 18-year-old young woman, just out of high school, involved in an exclusive relationship with a boy, got pregnant. She was in a state of depression and turned to her friends and boyfriend to figure out what to do. Their advice to her was to drink alcohol all day and all night for an entire week straight. The young woman complied and took off from her job in order to abort the fetus.
Ultimately, she had success aborting the fetus by having what she explained as a “most painful miscarriage,” but also did excruciating damage to her body in the process. She thought the process was behind her, but a couple weeks later she was rushed to the hospital after hemorrhaging in her sleep and was put through a surgical procedure to repair the damage.
I would be lying if I denied ever thinking of this as a route to aborting a baby when I was her age. The negative stigma associated with abortion surrounds and encourages this type of thinking. So many young people think that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or other similar dangerous acts are actual routes to avoiding getting an abortion, but what they don’t know are the repercussions of putting your body through such damage.
Luckily, this young woman survived, but what will happen to the 21 million other women who either have limited access to the proper health care or the financial resources? According to the Change Center for Health and Gender Equity, 13 percent of them will die from unsafe abortions.
The scariest part is, because of President Donald Trump’s recent anti-abortion executive order, women around the globe will be resorting to these kinds of dangerous acts to abort their fetuses. The anti-abortion executive order, according to CNN, “reinstates the global gag rule on overseas discussion of abortion by individuals and organizations receiving federal funding.”
This federal funding covers about $600 million a year for family planning and reproductive health services for over 27 million women around the globe. Without this, women, just like the scared 18-year-old young woman, resort to dangerous methods that can end in their sudden death.
Access to reproductive healthcare is crucial to ensuring the safety of not only our nation’s women, but also the world’s. More importantly, a woman’s right to make decisions about her body is solely between herself and a medical physician, not between herself and the government.
As the swirl of news continues to fly during this time of transition, choosing to take the time to reflect and read perspectives and research on important issues helps to soothe the soul of hurt and gain trust in those who share the same values.
Erin King is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at EK800454@wcupa.edu.