The condom broke. The morning after pill didn't work. And I was in a country where abortion was largely illegal.
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, but upon graduating from college, I set off to live and work in Kenya where I focused on health and education programs. I dated a guy there who also came to work on similar programs. And that’s when my birth control failed.
Unfortunately, the closest pharmacy with pregnancy tests was in a town hours away. A friend was thankfully traveling back from the town and brought the tests to me. The test came out positive, and I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had done everything right. So I took two more tests the next morning. Same results. Although I had always been supportive of abortion access, I never thought I would choose to have an abortion myself. It was at that moment I learned that it’s hard to predict what you will do until you are confronted by an unintended pregnancy. And, upon receiving those positive tests results, I knew exactly what I needed to do – I was going to have an abortion.
I hid the news from the people around me for two weeks in this small rural town where everyone knew everything. My morning sickness was just another illness, so I told people. I called Planned Parenthood South Texas back in the U.S. when I could, late at night in Kenya in my bedroom, hoping that others would not hear me. I spoke with the staff at the clinic about my options and scheduled an appointment.
I flew back to the U.S. on my pre-scheduled departure day from Kenya. It was a long, crushing flight, but I was fortunate I was able to take a flight and get away from a place that restricted my rights. Leaving Kenya where I could not access an abortion made me one of the lucky ones indeed.
I chose to have a medical abortion, but because I was going to arrive in Texas just under the deadline, I had to fulfill Texas’s paternalistic twenty-four hour waiting period requirement during my layover in London. I found a corner in the airport and called long-distance to a provider who had to give me the state- mandated counseling designed to discourage me from going forward with the abortion. It was clear that the state did not respect me as an adult person who had thought through this long enough.
I finally arrived in Texas and went to Planned Parenthood South Texas the next day. The clinic staff was caring and I am forever grateful for the financial subsidy Planned Parenthood provided so I could access the care I needed.
Ten years ago, I was able to access an abortion, but so many Texans cannot anymore. And it’s terrifying. I think back to the younger version of myself in a country where I was given no choice. I can feel, viscerally, SB8 take that same control of my body and my future away from me. Access to abortion gave me freedom – the freedom to decide when I would have children and with whom. Because of my abortion, I was able to go to graduate school, pursue a fulfilling career in public service, and, most importantly to me, meet the love of my life with whom I am so excited to build a family.
It is very hard right now, but please know that your continued support for abortion access is so critical – especially during these dark days. It’s this support that allowed me to access an abortion when I needed one and gave me the life and love that I have today for which I am so thankful. We can’t stop fighting now – we can’t let them take away our freedom.
In solidarity, and with gratitude,