I Believed the Lies in the Woman's Right to Know Booklet: One Texan's Abortion Story
I have always known one thing, that I wanted to be a mom. My mother and I have always had a close relationship, ever since I was little, and I knew that was something I wanted, too. When I first found out that I was pregnant I was conflicted about my options. I could choose to go through with my pregnancy and put my dreams on hold, give up everything I had worked so hard for. Or exercise my right to choose how and when I would be a parent and continue down the road I had paved for my future. Ultimately, I decided that abortion was the right decision for me.
When I arrived at Whole Woman’s Health for my first appointment, I was given the Woman’s Right to Know booklet. The booklet led me to believe that if I had this abortion, I would be far less likely to become pregnant in the future. It scared me – my childhood dream, ripped away from me because of bad timing? I continued with my decision for so many reasons. I was not in a financial situation to become a parent, I knew I didn’t want to partner with the person with whom I’d become pregnant. But I was so scared that I was foregoing my ability to ever become a mom.
My abortion experience would’ve been calmer and more emotionally supported if I hadn’t been given the information in the Woman’s Right to Know booklet. When I went in for my procedure, I was having trouble holding still, because I was so nervous about the possible risks that I’d read about in this pamphlet. After the abortion was done, I couldn’t leave my bed for three days, and I could hardly eat – and this emotional distress was a direct result of the Woman’s Right to Know pamphlet. It made me so nervous about the possible impacts that could result from my abortion, and it also made me feel more stigmatized as a person seeking abortion. Because of the tone of the pamphlet, I was made even more scared of what my community would think of my decision. It didn’t ultimately change my mind– it only made the experience traumatizing.
Fast forward to a few months later – I met a young woman who’d had an abortion before the Woman’s Right to Know pamphlet was required. She described her experience as comfortable, quick and very easy. and it made me feel terrible that she’d had such a comfortable experience when I’d been exposed to this emotionally damaging information.
I believed the lies in this booklet. When I came to work for the Texas Equal Access Fund, I found out that that this booklet was completely untrue, and I was livid. I suffered because of misinformation given to me about my abortion – and my own state required that I be told these lies. This booklet disrupts the patient/doctor relationship, causes emotional trauma, encourages stigma, and places politics in the medical decisions of people seeking abortion in Texas. People should be given honest, non-biased information when seeking medical care, not lies and biased language designed to manipulate their choice.
I don’t regret my abortion at all. That moment in my life was not the right time for me to start a family, and I made this decision in part because I want to eventually have a family someday when I’m ready. Today I hope to use my experience to push back on shame, stigma, and a legislative environment that encourages the existence of state-mandated deceit and fear mongering about abortion.