1. “Abortion isn’t very easy to talk about, and there’s always a fear that people will judge you based on your decisions. The best thing that someone said to me was ‘I had one too.’”
2. “The escorts at Planned Parenthood were amazing. I was grateful for the way that they generously gave their time to make sure that entering and leaving the clinic was safe and drama-free.”
3. “My best friend put her religious beliefs aside to talk to me openly and freely about mine, and it was the best thing anyone has ever done for me.”
4. “My partner took me to the abortion clinic. When he saw that there were protesters screaming horrible things and holding signs of decaying corpses he gave me earphones and put on my favorite Elvis Presley song. He covered my eyes as we walked though the parking lot.
“It was hard on him, but he went though it because he cares that much about me and supported my choice.”
6. “I’m thankful to an incredible group of friends; they embraced my need to laugh through the experience. My life motto has always been if you can laugh through it, you can live through it. Instead of making it some big life-defining thing, they allowed me to process it how I needed to.”
7. “Someone told me it was OK not to feel sad. It really helped because, although she didn’t know it, that is exactly what I was really struggling with. I felt relief and I felt bad for feeling that relief.”
8. “In the end it was the things people didn’t say that were the most supportive. The most helpful friends asked me what I wanted to do and patiently waited for the answer.”
9. “I had an abortion at the age of 20. I told very few people at the time, just my university housemates (all boys) and one close female friend. The boys were great as they let me get on with it and only berated me when I didn’t take my post-surgery antibiotics on time.
“The sole female friend was the most supportive, though. She came with me to the abortion clinic, waited for me throughout the procedure and drove me home afterwards. She was also kind enough to go for a McDonald’s with me later that day.”
10. “I told my mum a few days later that I’d had one and then found out that not only had she had an abortion too, but so had my grandmother. I hadn’t expected it and wished she had told me years ago, even though I understand why she didn’t.
“One of my biggest fears was that after the abortion I would never be able to have children again, so it was reassuring to know that the strong women I looked up to had been able to conceive after their abortions.”
11. “Talking about the ‘what if’ scenario is the healthiest thing to do with your partner. He’s helped me stay open about the situation and not hide how I felt about any part of it. We decided not to tell anyone because it really wasn’t anyone’s business. We based our decisions on us and our feelings and not on others’. He never once said, ‘What will people think?’
“Everything he thought about was based on me and how I would feel.”
12. “My other half let me make the decision completely on my own and made it clear he’d support me either way. And he did. But I wish he would have told me his opinion just a little bit. I wanted someone to tell me what to do!”
13. “One the things people need to stop doing is immediately asking whether I’d been using protection.
“Whether I had been or not, I’d just been through one of the most traumatic experiences of my life and whether I’d used protection or not was by the by. It didn’t matter how I’d got to my position.”
15. “The Bay Area Doula Project provided us with a free full-spectrum or abortion doula who came to our home to act as support throughout the process. We had an at-home/medical abortion and I was unable to take painkillers, so having someone there who was knowledgeable, caring, and supportive was an amazing blessing.”
16. “When I found out I was pregnant I was in an abusive relationship and I couldn’t keep the pregnancy. I told my friend that it was the most amazing feeling of my life to see the positive pregnancy test. It was such a special, unique experience and I couldn’t believe I was choosing to get an abortion. She told me, ‘It will happen again’, and it gave me a little bit of peace and courage.”
17. “Deciding whether or not to tell my boyfriend of the time was an incredibly hard decision. I was 26 and he was 21 and we had also only been together maybe 9 or 10 months. I had to also tell him that despite us being careful I still got pregnant. I thought he might start freaking out but he was super cool. He acknowledged how difficult it must have been for me to tell him, but that he was glad that I did, so that I wouldn’t have to go through it alone. He said, ‘Whatever you choose, I’m 100% on board.’ And that lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders.”
18. “So, where I live, you have to go to one counseling session before you get the abortion. Basically the idea is for you to be informed of all of your options. The counselor asks you questions and you can choose to answer or not. At the end you get a little letter and you take that back to the doctor. The quality of this counseling service can vary greatly. I went to a great counselor at a family planning center. She didn’t push any one option at me, but when I told her that I wanted to get an abortion, but I was nervous/scared about the procedure itself, she put it into a very helpful explanation: Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures, not just now, but basically in the history of medicine.”
19. “I went to the clinic alone; the walk from the car to the clinic was not as scary as some people say it is. Yes, there were people yelling that I was a horrible person but I was there to do the best thing for myself in this situation.
“The following day I stayed with my sister in her one-bedroom apartment, sleeping on the floor. The entire time she made sure I was comfortable as possible and that I had enough food and water to keep me going through the pain I felt.
“She comforted me and told me that everything was OK, that I did the right thing, that she was not disappointed or ashamed of me. I couldn’t have gotten through the pain and emotional stress without her there.”
20. “I had the best doctor at the time. I took a million positive pregnancy tests at home and finally went to her saying ‘I think I am pregnant.’
“After she confirmed that I was pregnant, she asked, ‘So you are pregnant. Let’s figure out what we’re going to do.’ No judgment, no pressure, she was just incredibly supportive. I had complete trust in her throughout the entire process. She took time to explain everything and she gave me really solid information.”
21. “After my abortion I told my boyfriend about how I felt relieved and how I was a little surprised by just how relieved I felt, because normally the post-abortion reactions that you see in TV and movies is regret, sadness, etc. So I asked him, ‘Is it weird that I feel super happy right now?’ His answer was, ‘Not at all, that’s just your sign that it was the right decision.’”
23. “My parents were both so incredibly supportive through everything. The best thing they said to me was, ‘You have choices. We will help you either way with whatever you need.’
“My mother flew to the U.S. from Canada to drive me to the clinic, bought me lunch afterwards, cooked dinner for my BF, and made sure I didn’t have an adverse reaction to anything. The next day she took me shopping.
“This is a far cry from what many women, especially young girls, go through. I think it is so vital to make an abortion something that we shouldn’t hide or stigmatize. This is a medical procedure and a choice.”
24. “My best advice is to make a decision before you tell anyone else. Take a whole day for yourself, go out somewhere calm, and really think it through. I wish I could say people will be supportive, but you’ll never know. At the end of the day all you have is yourself and the conviction in your choice. Being absolutely and irrevocably 100% sure that is what you want is the most important thing. Write it down, and have that with you.
“And I know that we are strangers and probably we’ll never meet, whoever is reading this, but I support and I really love you, and I don’t care what took you to this place in your life, you’re not a bad person. You’re a beautiful human being, today and forever.”