I Had to Leave My Home State to Get an Abortion, and I'm Concerned For Other Young People Like MeJanuary 30, 2022
I was 16 years old the day I found out I was pregnant, peeing on a stick in my best friend’s bathroom while she and her older sister waited anxiously outside the door. We huddled together, staring at the positive pregnancy test for what seemed like ages. I was scared, but they hugged me and assured me that we’d figure it out. It meant so much not to be alone in that moment.
I can’t imagine what young people in Texas are currently facing under Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion after six weeks. The new law is considered the most extreme anti-abortion legislation since Roe v. Wade. What’s even more frightening is that a case going before the Supreme Court on Dec. 1 could actually overturn Roe and decimate access to abortion across the country. I fear for young people like me who could lose the already limited autonomy we have over our bodies.
I grew up in a tight-knit Catholic family and found out I was pregnant while attending a Catholic high school where sex ed was abstinence-only and abortion was vilified, so I panicked at the thought of telling my parents that I was pregnant. But I knew I did not want to be pregnant. Once the initial emotional rollercoaster of telling my parents passed, I felt a sense of calm. They assured me that they supported me in getting an abortion and that we would get through it together, not in spite of their religious beliefs, but because at the heart of those beliefs are values of love and compassion.
My mom took me to a clinic where we learned I’d been pregnant for many months already. As a student athlete, missing periods wasn’t unusual for me, and like a lot of people who discover pregnancies later, my body just hadn’t shown signs that I recognized as pregnancy symptoms.
I was still sure of my decision to have an abortion, but my pregnancy was too far along to obtain one in my home state. We were referred to a clinic in Colorado, one of the few states that doesn’t ban abortion later in pregnancy. With the help of a local abortion fund, we obtained some financial assistance for travel expenses, and my dad accompanied me to Colorado.
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