I want other people to understand that they deserve the same options and opportunities that I had access to. Not everybody is that lucky.
It was Valentine's week when I had an abortion. I was very fortunate to have had my abortion early in 2013 — before Wendy Davis filibustered Texas's HB2 and the clinic shutdown law went into effect. At this time three years ago, I was blissfully unaware of all that was happening in Austin.
I was in love with Stanley. We were young and recent college grads. But we were both underemployed and financially insecure. On top of that, at 24, I was only beginning to understand relationships. Understanding compromise between two is challenging enough, I couldn’t begin to think about three. We were in no way prepared to be parents. I know although I had Stanley, I felt alone because my pregnancy was something I kept from everyone, including my mother and my sister.
Not wanting my parents to find out through our insurance, Stanley and I went to what we thought was a "clinic." The crisis pregnancy center only talked about adoption and child-rearing. I was lied to. They talked about beliefs that weren't mine. They spoke down to me about love, the cosmos, and the beauty of life. EXCEPT. They weren't talking about my life.
Thankfully I was old enough to not be so impressionable. I was mature enough to know what I wanted my future to look like. I was wise enough to know myself, my mind, and my body. I thanked them for the free pregnancy test and I promptly made an appointment at Reproductive Services for an abortion.
I made my decision with Stanley's full support and I walked into the clinic ready to take back the reigns of my life. But then I waited and I waited. I had to wait through unnecessary infomercials, I had to watch videos about the procedure. I had to wait through unrealistic disclaimers and was told there was a chance I could get breast cancer. I waited for them to offer a sonogram I didn't want to see. From there, I was forced to wait 24 more hours. When seeking an abortion, time is of the essence, BUT the whole process was created to take up time.
For a long time, because of all the stigma, I felt ashamed. However, I do believe in myself and in the decisions I've made. I was fortunate and privileged in my experience. I had access to healthcare, despite the legislative obstacles created for me. I want other people to understand that they deserve the same options and opportunities that I had access to. Not everybody is that lucky. That's why the West Fund is so important to support.
Since my abortion, I've been incredibly blessed. I got to move across the state to work for Battleground Texas and Wendy Davis; I've attended and traveled to different conferences in and out of the state on community activism; I've returned to school to work on my Masters; AND I now have an awesome job for a badass advocate.
I also want to share that now, I'm a voter. I'm a feminist, sociologist, a model extraordinaire, and a very happy queer Latina. I'm also pleased to report that now, after my abortion, that I do know a little more about love, the cosmos and the beauty of life.