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For Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast patient and advocate Julie-Anna, having an abortion meant having the freedom to choose her own destiny. In light of the recent Supreme Court victory for abortion access in Louisiana, Julie Anna – a New Orleans resident – is sharing her story.

I’m Julie-Anna and I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. I grew up in Mississippi, and when I was 18, I decided to move to New York City for school. Six months after moving, I found out I was pregnant. It was surreal, looking at my positive test. I had left home with hopes of building a life for myself, and now I was facing the possibility of motherhood. I couldn’t imagine it.

I could barely cover my half of the rent, much less take care of another person. I had been raised in an anti-choice household, but my desire to live my own life absolutely outweighed everything else. If I chose to keep this pregnancy, I would risk my chance to make my life what I wanted. I probably would’ve moved back to Mississippi, and I wasn’t going to let that happen. 

I was too young to be a parent, and I knew it. I went online and found a health center in Queens. I needed $327 for an abortion, and I didn’t know anything about abortion funds for financial help. I was waiting tables in a restaurant in the city, so I worked extra shifts to save the money. I had horrible nausea that lasted all day, but I pushed through it – knowing there was a clock ticking. When I had the money, I called the heath center and scheduled an abortion.

After the procedure, even in a slight haze from the anesthesia, I felt the best I had in weeks, knowing I was free. And then I took the subway home.

Years later, I had the chance to rethink my decision to have an abortion with the clarity of hindsight. I had a health issue, adenomyosis, that almost killed me and led to a hysterectomy. I had to accept that I will never have children. I wanted to, but I still don’t regret the abortion. It was the right decision for me. I’m happier knowing that, if I decide to adopt, I will be better prepared to be a good mom.

When I talk about my abortion, I’m talking about my life. And my life is possible because I was able to get a procedure.

In Louisiana, you can go to one of three health centers – and they can stay open thanks to this Supreme Court decision. But there are only three health centers that provide abortion, and it’s a long drive for a lot of people. You have to get an ultrasound. And then there’s a waiting period. And then you can get an abortion. And we have an anti-choice governor.

Of course, this Supreme Court decision is a victory, but a tenuous one. It’s a victory that restores our already pretty terrible access to a medical procedure that belongs to the individual, no matter what the court says.

Bringing another life into the world brings a mountain of issues – financial, mental, and otherwise. It’s not for anyone else to make that decision.

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AND to stay up to date on all PPGC happenings in Louisiana, be sure to check out our Act Now Louisiana page.

Has Planned Parenthood changed your life? Do you have a story to share? We’re always looking for new voices to uplift. To find out more about our Speakers Bureau and future storytelling opportunities, please email [email protected] or visit ppgulfcoast.org/story.

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