This piece was originally published by the ACLU.
For the first time in nearly 50 years, state legislatures will go into session this year without the guardrails of the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent protecting abortion rights. We’re preparing to face even more attacks on abortion access in the coming year, but this fight goes far beyond any single committee hearing or court argument. The ability to access abortion care is fundamentally about whether people can control their lives and livelihoods, their dreams and autonomy, and the future they want to create.
Sharing your abortion story is a critical part of this fight. It’s how we show the world the long-term, life-changing impact of this essential health care on people’s lives. It’s how we destigmatize the decision to access care. It’s how we confirm that someone we love will need an abortion one day. And it’s how we continue to make clear to politicians that abortion is a fundamental right that we all deserve.
Hundreds of people have shared their stories with us about dreams made true by abortion access. Years later, abortion remains the best decision.
“I was a teenager with aspirations for a better life. My parents never received a high school diploma. When I received a college degree, they were beaming with pride. No regrets!” — Abby, California
The right to choose allowed me to rise out of poverty, achieve higher education, and become a parent under far better socioeconomic circumstances than if I had not had access to an abortion.”
“I was 17 years old, recently left the state of Alaska’s foster care system by going through the emancipation process, and on the cusp of graduating from high school. I secured an appointment to the Air Force Academy Preparatory School, but I had an unplanned pregnancy. In order to pursue my dream of serving my country and achieve higher education, I had to either sign the rights of the baby over or decline an opportunity of a lifetime. I didn’t question my decision once and thankfully, received a safe and free abortion via Medicaid.
“I am Alaska Native. I am an Air Force veteran who graduated from the Air Force Academy. I am now able to start a family when the time is right. The right to choose allowed me to rise out of poverty, achieve higher education, and become a parent under far better socioeconomic circumstances than if I had not had access to an abortion.” — Anonymous
I chose to terminate the pregnancy at seven weeks. To this day it is the hardest decision I have ever had to make.”
“I was a 21 year old in college when my birth control failed. I was on the pill and took a supplement that I was unaware would [affect] my birth control … When I saw the positive pregnancy test I was confused and scared. I had dreamed of becoming a teacher my entire life. I knew that having a baby would mean I would need to drop out of the teaching program. Student teaching is full time and unpaid. I was not in a steady relationship and both my parents worked full time. I would not be able to afford childcare while I finished school. I chose to terminate the pregnancy at seven weeks. To this day it is the hardest decision I have ever had to make.
“I went on to graduate college with a double major in elementary education and psychology. I have been teaching for six years and have been able to make an impact on hundreds of children. I recently became a foster parent so that I could foster one of my students in a family crisis. I now have a beautiful daughter that I was able to have with a man who loves and supports me. None of this would have happened if I had been forced to have a child in college.” — Anna, Indiana
“A month before I started law school I had an abortion at Planned Parenthood. I was 22. Without access to reproductive health care I may not have become a human rights attorney. I am now a mother of two and have practiced law for 20 years.” — Annie, Illinois
When I found out I was pregnant I saw all my dreams become that much harder to achieve at that stage for me. I’m forever grateful that I had a CHOICE.”
“When I was 20 I became pregnant. I was on birth control pills and was on an antibiotic which made the pill ineffective. I was young and immature, doing very poorly in college and living with my long-time boyfriend who was abusive. I knew I was not in the right state of mind to have a baby and my life was such a mess, there was no way it would be stable enough for a new baby. I made the decision to have an abortion and to this day I stand behind this decision. I was able to work on myself after the abortion — got a full-time job, started to turn my college grades around, and finally broke up with the abusive boyfriend. I knew if I was ever to get pregnant again I wanted to be in a better place in my life.” — Holly, Indiana
“Afterward I never regretted my decision. I just feel grateful I had the opportunity to make the decision to not carry a baby. My life would be so much different. I was able to put myself through college, leave Ohio and experience so many things. I am now in my 40s and child free by choice and would not have it any other way. I can’t believe that women will not have the same rights I did. I need to fight for the next generation and hopefully sharing my abortion story is one small thing I can do.” — Dani, California
“Do I regret it? Not a damn bit […] I’ve regretted that I ended up in the situation in the first place, sure. But actually having the abortion itself is one of the few choices in my life that I have full faith I made correctly. I don’t want kids. I’ve never actively wanted kids. A child at the age I was would have ended me.” — Rhi, Georgia
My (now) husband and I were not ready. We have two adorable kids, I have no regrets about our abortion. Parenting is hard work. No one should have them when they are not ready.”
“I had the abortion, gratefully, and never looked back. I am forever grateful that I was able to make that choice. If I hadn’t, I would never have married my husband, had my three children and now three grandchildren. My life would have been forever altered, changed, and I would have been connected to a boy/man that I didn’t love. I have never looked backed, never regretted my decision. I am eternally grateful to the strong women who came before me and fought for my right to choose. And I will continue that fight.” — Jane, New York
“I would not be in the successful and happy place I am in life if I would have followed through with that pregnancy. I don’t think about it unless asked and I do not regret it. I am thankful especially every time I look at my son.” — Ambre, Pennsylvania
I don’t regret my decision to have an abortion because I took into consideration every circumstance and detail of my life in that moment in time to guide that decision.”
“I don’t regret my decision to have an abortion because I took into consideration every circumstance and detail of my life in that moment in time to guide that decision. Nobody knows me more intimately than me. Twenty-five-year-old me did not possess the ability or willingness to raise a child responsibly with the unselfish love every child deserves. […] I never once regretted my abortion. I married that man I fell in love with years later and had my first of three children at the age of 30. Now at 66, I am grateful for so much — my marriage, children, career, travels, and now grandchildren. All of it thanks to self-empowerment, access to reproductive health care, and the legal right to choose.” — Kathy, Washington
I have no sad story. I just didn’t want a child back then. Thank God I didn’t have to have one. I didn’t need to give any reason other than that. My body, my choice.”
“I was living paycheck to paycheck and knew I couldn’t afford another mouth to feed. I had no family to help or support me. I thought about giving the baby up for adoption but after speaking with an attorney and he explained the process I broke down in his office because I knew I could not go through with the adoption process. I knew my only option was abortion. I chose to have abortion. […] That was 13 years ago. I think about the abortion often, but I have no regrets. It was my choice!! Today I am 39 years old, a stay-at-home mom with three amazing kids and a loving husband.” — Sarah, Illinois
“I have never regretted my decision and I never will. My life matters, I matter. What I want out of life matters.”
“It was the best decision I have ever made. I couldn’t financially support a baby, I could barely support myself. My mental health isn’t good. It was probably the worst it’s ever been when I got my abortion. I had contemplated suicide so many times. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to get access to abortion and it destroyed me mentally. I have never regretted my decision and I never will. My life matters, I matter. What I want out of life matters. I was just a kid, I still am, and I don’t think I should have to raise another one.” — Kali, Georgia
“My abortion gave me the ability to regain my life. I’ve been sober for three years now, and have regained custody of one of my children. I am a wonderful mom to my living children, and while I deeply regret being an addict in a situation where I had to get an abortion, I know it was the right choice. Not the right choice for me, but for the children who already rely on me, and the person who would have been born into a terrible situation.” — Tiffany, Utah