One of our summer interns, Elizabeth (above, far left), is a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood now, but getting here took a lot of self-reflection. Here is her story of looking inward at the judgement she was holding about abortion.
When I was in seventh grade, a girl at school started handing out little pieces of paper that said, “Why I am silent.” On each sheet was a paragraph explaining that she was taking a vow of silence to support the “unborn children silenced through abortion.” Papers spread through the school during the day, including one to me. I was a little confused and unsure of how I felt about abortion. I knew I didn’t support murder, but I did not consider abortion murder. Teachers were getting frustrated that students were refusing to speak. The girl who originally started spreading the papers was called to the principal's office where she was told that the papers weren’t allowed to be distributed at school.
When I got home from school, I immediately showed the slip of paper to my step-mom and explained what had happened. My sister was a freshman in high school at the time and she was curious about abortion as well. My step-mom was then faced with the responsibility of having a conversation with us about abortion. She explained to us that she grew up Catholic, but had developed her own ideas about abortion. She said abortion wasn’t a choice she would personally make, but that everyone should be allowed to make the decision for themselves. As I listened to her, I started to agree. She also touched on how it’s a very divisive issue that many people have strong opinions on.
As the years went by, I held the view that I would never get an abortion myself, but that I was pro-choice and everyone should have access to abortion. I grew up in a very liberal household and my parents always made it clear to me that healthcare in all forms is a human right. I agreed and became more supportive of Planned Parenthood as I learned more about reproductive health.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that my views took a slight turn. It was the spring semester and a couple weeks before finals. I was on birth control, but I had missed my period. I tried to stay calm and convince myself I had just missed it because I was stressed about finals, but I was getting more nervous that I might be pregnant. That’s when abortion crossed my mind. The more I though about it, the more I knew for sure that if I was pregnant, I had no doubt I would get an abortion. I explained to my sister that I had not gotten my period and she bought me a pregnancy test. I took the test in the CVS bathroom and it turned out negative. I was so relieved.
I’m lucky that if I got pregnant, my parents would support me in whatever decision I made. I’ve had health insurance all my life and have lived in states where I have access to abortion services. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that you never know what someone else is going through. If someone needs an abortion, no matter the reason, they have the right to make that decision. By saying that I would never get an abortion myself but that I’m okay with others getting abortions, I was judging others. I am not better than anyone else. Being aware of the judgments I hold has allowed me to reflect and question them.
As I have grown as a person, so have my views. I am fully supportive of Planned Parenthood and all the services they provide, including abortion. Interning at Planned Parenthood has just strengthened my support and I think going forward my life experiences will continue to shape my views on abortion.