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Not alone 

In my pregnancy with twins, I spent the first many weeks struggling over what was right for me; abortion or bringing two children into my life. I needed the opportunity and freedom to be able to choose them, and choose my life with them. And I am not alone.

Equal access to abortion care everywhere is essential for America to thrive. In this space today, I'm shining light on 14 stories of abortion from your neighbors, friends, and daughters.

In 2001, I was 24, working in corporate America. One day my period was late. I knew I was not going to have a baby with this guy. We went to Planned Parenthood; I went in alone. I went home and only told my best friend. To this day, the whole thing is a secret.

In 1979, I was 29. I was going through a divorce; it was a sad time for me. Although I had a contraception device, I found myself pregnant. It was not a hard decision to make, I had an abortion. I have never regretted it.

In 2016, I was 25. I had dreamt of this day. I loved the man I was with and knew he would be the one to call me his wife. But the timing was not right for me nor my partner. So many blessings came with the word no. Later, we got married and experienced what we needed to say yes. We now have a baby and she arrived exactly on time, our time.

In 2007, I was 27. I didn't know I was pregnant until I was eight weeks along. I had the opportunity to talk to my parents and the father and ultimately to make the choice that was right for me, which was not to have an abortion. It was important to be able to make my own choice.

In 2018, I was 29. I took a pregnancy test as soon as I missed my period and called Planned Parenthood. I had my abortion at six weeks and one day. It was an obvious choice for me. I'm grateful that I learned and changed my opinion on abortion from what I was raised to believe—through propaganda and scare tactics—before I was in need of one myself.

In 1980, I was 18. I was 11 weeks pregnant; the guy I was with told me if I didn't have an abortion he would push me down the stairs or use a coat hanger! Abortion had just become legal a few years back. I was so sad. I still wish I didn't do it to this day.

In 2006, I was 23. I found out I was pregnant when I was seven weeks along. I was nowhere near prepared to be a mother, even though I've always wanted to be one. Like many, I feared what people would think of me—my mother, my father, my siblings, my friends. I share this now because as long as I don't, I'm still a puppet of that shame.

In 2008, I was 18. I got pregnant the summer after senior year of high school. I grew up in a religious household; my parents didn't even know I was sexually active. I had to wait until my 18th birthday to make an abortion appointment without parent consent and miscarrying on my birthday alone in my college dorm bathroom. I hit a deep depression, and the only person who knew the story was a gynecologist at Planned Parenthood who told me I had nothing to be ashamed of. I wish we had a culture free from shame that focused on support.

In 1995, I was 18. I was a heavy hard-drug user, I did not have a job, barely a penny, no direction in life. I was let out from county jail, and learned of my partner's pregnancy and her decision for abortion. Even then, I was aware the choice was not mine to make. I illegally drove us to Planned Parenthood because I'd lost my license. We passed through screaming protesters outside; it was scary for both of us.

In the 1970s, I was in my 20s. Even with birth control, I got pregnant twice and had two abortions. I was single, in law school at night, and working full time during the day. Who was going to care for those babies? It was my choice, and I never regretted it. I could never have done it alone.

In 2001, I was 20 when I had my first abortion. I would have been locked into a very unhappy marriage with a man who told me to get the abortion. In 2003, I was 22 and had recently had my first child, but I was pregnant again. Depressed from my first birth, I would have died spiritually if I carried another child at that time. I would not have made the impacts I've made in society if I had carried either, nor would I have the amazing kids I have now.

In 1980, I was 18. I had an abortion. Later in life I gave my testimony to the church youth group, and now I have saved many unborn babies. At the time I never knew why God put me through it, but sometimes we go through things so we can help save lives.

In 2007, I was 24. The hardest parts of my experience were who I didn't feel I could share it with, mostly my mom. While my mom would consider herself a feminist, we never talked about "what to do if you get pregnant." Not wanting to let her down, I also didn't want her to judge me. While the procedure was uncomfortable, feeling like I would be less loved, valued, or respected was the most painful. There's no reason it has to be like that.

In 1994, I was 31. I had radiation treatment and was even on birth control, I became pregnant with twins. My doctors warned me that the babies would at best have severe physical and mental issues, if they made it to term at all. It was heartbreaking to make the decision to have an abortion. Then in 1998, I was 35. I was already raising three young children, and I was in a high-conflict relationship. It took me two seconds to decide to have an abortion. Sometimes abortion is heartbreaking and a hard decision, and sometimes it's not. Both are appropriate and normal.

Whatever your story, you are not alone. Δ

Quinn Brady (she/her) is a community advocate, organizer, and mother on the Central Coast. Send a response for publication to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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