1. A 25-year-old abortion counsellor has revealed why she decided to film herself having an abortion.
Emily Letts entered the video into Abortion Care Network’s Stigma Busting competition and subsequently won, causing the film to spread across the world.
Titled “Emily’s Abortion Video”, Letts is shown undergoing the procedure at the New Jersey clinic where she works.
In the video she tells the camera: “I’m not ready to have children.”
2. Letts said she wanted to share her story and show women there is “such a thing as a positive abortion story”.
After the procedure, she said: “I don’t feel like a bad person. I don’t feel sad. I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life.
“I knew that what I was going to do was right because it was right for me and no one else. I just want to share my story.”
The video was uploaded to YouTube in March and Letts has now spoken to Cosmopolitan magazine about her decision to share the video.
3. Writing for the magazine, she said:
I found out I was pregnant in November. I had been working at the clinic for about a year. It was my first pregnancy, and, full disclosure, I hadn’t been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know.
On a whim, I took a test, and it came up two pink lines. The moment when a woman looks down and sees those two pink lines and she’s not expecting to see them, it’s like time implodes and explodes simultaneously. You’re caught in this tornado that just sucks out all the breath in your lungs.
Once I caught my breath, I knew immediately I was going to have an abortion. I knew I wasn’t ready to take care of a child. The guy wasn’t involved in my decision.
4. Letts said she rang her supervisor to schedule an abortion and was only two or three weeks into the pregnancy.
The abortion counsellor said she was inspired to use her situation as a force for good after being continually asked by patients if she had children or had ever had an abortion.
Having been inspired by YouTube user Angie AntiTheist, who filmed herself having a medical abortion, Letts began researching online and said she could not find a video of the actual surgical procedure.
5. “We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like,” Letts said.
“A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth. There is no cutting, and risk of infertility is less than 1%.”
Commenting on her own procedure, the 25-year-old said she remembers breathing and humming throughout, as if she was giving birth.
She added: “I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be.”
6. “It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I’d grab.”
The 25-year-old said she expected to received a “tsunami of hateful, scary things” when she posted the video on her Facebook page, but instead most people have been hugely supportive.
There have, however, been some hateful responses, which Letts said has been the hardest part of the process.
7. Letts said that every time she watches the video, she thinks, I love it.
“I love how positive it is. I think that there are just no positive abortion stories on video for everyone to see. But mine is,” she added.
“I know there are women who feel great remorse. I have seen the tears. Grieving is an important part of a woman’s process, but what I really wanted to address in my video is guilt.”
8. Letts said society breeds guilt, and even women who came to her clinic fixed on their decision to have an abortion feel guilty for not feeling guilty.
She also maintained that she doesn’t feel bad about her own abortion.
The 25-year-old admitted she feels a little irresponsible and embarrassed about not using birth control.
She concluded, “I am grateful that I can share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt.”
Letts spoke to BBC 5 live Breakfast on Wednesday about her experience and the “love” surrounding the procedure.