By Ashley – Virtual Volunteer Storyteller
There isn’t any excitement in my abortion story. There was no fetal diagnosis. I wasn’t coerced or taken advantage of in any way. I was an adult, though just barely at 18, and fresh out of high school. The person with whom I got pregnant was five years older than me — and light-years less mature. They were not my boyfriend, nor did I want them to be. It was a rebellious fling that went from fun to not fun really fast. I knew there was no way I could have a baby with this person.
My period always ran like clockwork, so I knew I was pregnant the day I missed my period. I went to the local grocery store with my last $20 to buy a test. It was a two-pack because I wanted to know for sure. I felt embarrassed as I placed it on the conveyor belt at the cash register. The cashier looked at me and said, “You don’t need to take that test, you’re glowing.” I wanted to vomit right there. I held it in though, long enough to get home and see those pink lines show up faster than the required three minutes. Then I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
People get caught up in the stigma of abortion, and a lot of times folks say things like “oh this was a hard decision for them to make” or “I bet the day they had their abortion was one of the hardest of their lives.” But today, I can look my two kids in the eyes and tell them honestly that it was the easiest decision I ever made and one of the easiest days of my life. Having an abortion was a no-brainer from the moment I missed my period to seeing those pink lines to the morning I walked down the sidewalk on Second Street to get the abortion while protestors said they “understood me” and “wanted to help.” Nothing was going to change my mind because I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was doing everything right for myself at that moment, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Kentucky just passed a law making it impossible for providers to perform abortions. This comes just as the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether or not to allow a 15-week Mississippi abortion ban to stand. If it does, states like Kentucky can decide to outlaw abortion and nearly half the country could lose access. If a ban like this had been in place when I needed an abortion, it would have very much altered my life. I don't know if I would have gone through with the procedure. I didn't know about abortion funds and would not have thought to travel out of state for a procedue. I'm not sure I would have had the support to do that either. The ban sends the message that Kentucky legislators do not care about the lives of Kentuckians, not for their safety or well-being. Abortion is health care, without a doubt, and should be treated as such. Bans like these continue to add to the stigma of abortion and make access much more difficult, and in so many cases, impossible.
As an employee of Kentucky Health Justice Network, I will continue to help Kentuckians who already face extreme barriers to care navigate the new abortion landscape and help make sure that everyone who wants an abortion has the opportunity to get one.
Ashley is the Operations Director for Kentucky Health Justice Network. She is passionate about abortion access and is also a volunteer clinic escort. She enjoys Twitter, following local legislation, SCOTUS cases, and hanging with her two kids and husband.