The Brazen Project
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The Brazen Project

My Abortion Story


About a month ago, I took a pregnancy test and discovered that I was unexpectedly pregnant. It came as a shock to me, as I’d been on the birth control pill for over a year and my boyfriend and I were not trying to conceive any time soon. The news rattled me, and for the first time I was personally affected by feelings of stigma, shame, and uncertainty that I had been trying to work so hard to fight against in my community. I knew I needed to get an abortion, and I felt absolutely terrified. Over the course of the next few weeks, however, the stories and support of my peers, my community, and the larger network of activist organizations that I had worked with or heard about put my mind at ease and helped me have a wonderful experience. I felt closer to myself and my body, to my partner, and to the work I continue to do to fight abortion stigma in my communities every day. That’s not to say that you have to have had an abortion to be supportive of abortion rights, because this issue affects everyone, whether you would personally be willing or able to get an abortion yourself. I just hope my personal story as an activist for (and now a recipient of) abortion services can offer some more insight into why we need to protect the right to an abortion and why support and solidarity are so important for those who need or want to have one.

Because I was less than ten weeks pregnant, I had a couple of options for my abortion. I could either undergo an “in-clinic abortion,” or take a multi-step abortion pill and experience the abortion at home. I opted for the latter, and scheduled an appointment with my local Planned Parenthood facility to receive the medication. My partner drove me to the clinic and went inside with me to wait with me during my appointment. As forewarned over the phone, there were dozens of protesters outside of the fence surrounding the Planned Parenthood building holding signs and attempting to wave down cars. They all were offering “counseling” that I knew would just be thinly veiled bigotry in an attempt to make me rethink a decision that I knew was the best for me. It also felt ridiculous because Planned Parenthood offers so many other services, including healthcare for pregnant women who did want to continue their pregnancies and needed resources to do so. We drove past them and into the parking lot where they were not allowed, and exited the car in peace. A volunteer escort kindly guided us into the building and told us where we needed to go.

The appointment itself was very simple. They first asked about my decision to have an abortion to make sure I felt it was the right one for me, and that no one else had pressured me into it. Next, I had an ultrasound to confirm how many weeks into the pregnancy I was. The doctor asked whether I wanted to see the ultrasound and if I wanted to be informed if there were multiple embryos, and I said no to both. Then they gave me an extremely detailed description of every step of the process and all of my options for the next two days as I would experience my abortion. Finally, they gave me the first two pills. One was an antibiotic as a buffer against the (very small) chance of infection, and the other was mifepristone, which blocks the progesterone that is needed for a pregnancy to continue. I went home with instructions to take the second set of pills 24 hours after my appointment, some pain medication, and nausea medication.

The night after that appointment was when I felt the most nervous. I looked up other people’s experiences online on sites like the 1 in 3 Campaign and chatted with my partner about my decision, and it all put my mind at ease. I was reminded that this was a medical procedure like any other, and the shame and fear I felt came not from any factual risks, but from the controlling and often misogynistic narratives fed to people with uteruses that made me feel momentarily ashamed. I was surprised to see how many stories were just like mine. I felt incredibly grateful for those who had opened up about their experiences and knew that they could ease the worries of others by normalizing something usually so controversial. Their stories and the support I had not only from my partner, but from those who I knew supported abortion rights in my community made me feel empowered and connected to my body’s needs in a way I had seldom felt before.

The next morning, I took the other set of pills, the misoprostol, which further helps to complete the abortion. I was instructed to hold the pills in between by cheeks and gums for 30 minutes to be administered correctly. After this, I experienced about 3 hours of nausea and cramping until all of the tissue gently passed. I relaxed in bed during this time with lots of water, tea, snacks, and video games. The process was a lot less painful than I expected, and was just as it was described to me: a heavier, crampier period. The cramping continued but lessened into the next day, and throughout the rest of the week it was just as if I was having a regularly scheduled period in terms of symptoms. Planned Parenthood gave me a hotline to call if I experienced anything outside the realm of the symptoms they’d described to me, but I did not need to use it. I felt so incredibly relieved after the experience, and felt like I was taking a breath of fresh air for the first time since I found out I was pregnant.

I want to acknowledge that my experience was an incredibly privileged one. I live in a state where there are less abortion restrictions. I am old enough to not have had to ask for a parents’ permission, I had the support of my partner, I had transportation, I was able to avoid protesters, I had enough money to cover my copay on my own, and I was able to bill my insurance for the rest of the cost. My experience was sometimes scary despite all this, so I cannot imagine what it must be like for someone who experiences harsher restrictions from unsympathetic legislative decisions in their community, or more intensive oppressive social tactics. This experience solidified for me more than ever that we must continue to fight for abortion rights for everyone, and that we cannot be satisfied until everyone has the right to a timely, safe, affordable and dignified abortion. Every time someone tells their abortion story, reaches out to someone else in support, or talks about the safety and medical nature of abortion, we are one step closer to de-stigmatizing an experience that so many people have. I am proud to be a part of Brazen, where I can use my story in the work that I do to educate others. I want anyone who has a story related to abortion to know that if they are comfortable sharing, it helps all of us to hear it. You are not alone and if you have had, are considering, or just are curious about abortion, there are many people who have been through similar experiences. It is more important now than ever to make sure our voices and stories are heard, and that we take action to protect abortion rights for all!



The Brazen Project is a Colorado-based, youth-led initiative dedicated to ending abortion stigma and empowering our peers to speak up and speak out about abortion.

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The Brazen Project

A Colorado-based, youth-led initiative dedicated to ending abortion stigma and empowering our peers to speak up and speak out about abortion.