I promised a couple of weeks ago that I would post the letter I wrote to Senator Cory Gardner about my experience at Planned Parenthood. Since I have no idea if Cory Gardner reads his letters or if he can read at all (ok fine, I’m sure he can read), I thought I’d make it public.
I think it’s important that women share their stories. It’s important that women know they aren’t alone. This is why I am incredibly grateful that a friend of mine wanted to share her letter here, as well.
Because I’m polite and stuff– guests first. I’ll post mine tomorrow. Please show this the respect it deserves.
To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Rachael, I am 37 years old, and I support Planned Parenthood. When I was 16 years old, I became pregnant. While I felt that I was old enough to have sex, I was not comfortable having a conversation about sex-and I bet my boyfriend at the time was not comfortable buying condoms. I will never forget the day my mother confronted me and asked if I could be pregnant. Up to this point, I was never in trouble; I did well in school and was always home before curfew. I still feel disappointment in myself when I think of my father purchasing a pregnancy test for his 16 year old daughter-20 years later I am still disappointed in myself. I remember sitting in the bathroom as the test turned positive immediately; I sat there the full 15 minutes hoping that it would somehow turn negative-thinking somehow I was not really pregnant. I remember the conversation with my parents when they asked me what I wanted to do. My mother let me know if I choose to have the baby, I would still finish high school-it would not be an option to drop out. My parents will help me raise the child as I finished school, if I choose the option. For me, having the child was not an option. Not only did I want to finish high school, I wanted to go to college. I wanted to do more than my parents did.
Walking into Planned Parenthood I felt that I would be judged. I looked around the waiting room and felt that the others were looking at me and judging me-judging me for being so young and pregnant. I remember watching a video with another young woman and thinking she must be in college. I remember her looking at me with sadness in her eyes and saying,” Well, this doesn’t look so bad”. I remember the procedure and crying the entire time while a worker of Planned Parenthood held my hand through the entire procedure. I ran into that woman months later at the grocery store I worked for and she introduced me to her son who was developmentally disabled. I remember the compassion in her eyes as she talked to me. I will never forget her. I hope she knows how thankful I am to her.
I still feel guilty to this day. There are times that I stop to do the math; today I could have a 19 year old child; I could have a child that is in college. I wonder what my life would have been like if I had given birth. I have to wonder if I would have even gone to college, if I would still be on food stamps now because I am not able to work a high paying job-and I definitely would have been a single mother. The father and I were no longer together when I had the abortion. I wonder if I would have had a daughter, and if she would have gotten pregnant at 16 as I did, and as my mother did. I still hold the regret to this day, and I feel ashamed for what happened.
For many women, the choice to get an abortion is not an easy one. It never crosses our mind that abortions can be an alternative form of birth control. For many, there is a reason why we choose to terminate a pregnancy. After I terminated my pregnancy, I graduated high school, went to college, and have earned two Master’s Degrees. I was able to purchase a condo in just my name, and have a stable job where I get to help people. I am not sure I would be able to accomplish all of this as a single mother.
Unfortunately, there is very little support for young mothers, and for single parents. There is a lot of talk that every child is a wanted child, but Republicans are cutting programs that help children. They are trying to push legislation in which any person on welfare would have to submit to random drug testing. Based on the Republican agenda, not every child is a wanted child.
I am 37 years old and am facing a time where I may lose my right to choose. I am faced with a time where birth control may no longer be affordable to me. I am scared of what the future holds for me, and I wonder if I need to tie my tubes as that may be the only available birth control option under this administration. I no longer feel that my government is working to protect my freedoms. For the first time in 37 years, I feel less than my male counterparts. I understand there are others that are morally opposed to birth control; these individuals feel this goes against God. I respect their beliefs and wish they would respect my beliefs. They do not have to agree with my decisions, nor do they need to make the same decision. But please let me make that decision for myself. Also, trying to shut down Planned Parenthood does not mean abortions with stop. Abortions will still happen, but they will be more dangerous. Women will be putting their life in danger to terminate a pregnancy. Remember, abortions were not legal in the 1950s-but women still had them. By working to shut down Planned Parenthood, women will take dangerous means to terminate their pregnancy. For every woman that dies from an illegal abortion, their blood will be on your hands and God will see this. God will judge you, and will see your sin.
I implore this administration to separate their religious views, and their personal views, from law. Please allow us the right to choose. It is not your place to make the decision, nor is it your place to judge-please let God do that.
I support a woman’s right to choose. Do you?