This is a guest post by Martha Reyes, a Reproductive Freedom Fellow with NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.
I never wanted to have an abortion, but 11 years ago, with a very heavy heart, I made the choice to end a pregnancy.
At the time, I was raising my two young boys, attending the University of Washington full time during the days, and working nights to make ends meet. I was stretched thin but I always managed to be there for my kids after school, to chaperone field trips, and take them on annual summer camping trips. Unfortunately, my birth control failed, and a month later my partner and I were faced with the question, “do we have the capacity to have another child?”
We knew the answer, but it was still a hard decision. We could not support another child and we decided to have an abortion. While I knew it was the best decision we could make for our family, it was far from easy. For years I bore the emotional scars. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made… but it was mine to make. And I stand behind my decision, and my choice to choose my family.
Having an abortion allowed me to finish school and earn a degree. It gave me the room in my life to pave a career that would provide for my family. It was a decision that stabilized us. Most importantly, it allowed me the capacity to be the best person, best mother, and best partner I could be. Now, my boys are young men of whom I’m incredibly proud.
My personal experience and story is one of access, safety, and support. I’m afraid because I see this slipping away for so many others, especially low income women and families of color.
During my time advocating for choice in Washington, I’ve met so many people who have shared their own stories with me. I’ve heard the painful stories from women and families who didn’t have safety and access to birth control or abortion. I met a woman who began her fight for reproductive justice in the 1950s, and although generations apart, we’re still fighting the same battle for our right to choose what’s best for us.
Women continue to have to fight off fetal “personhood,” parental notification, and pharmacy provision bills as well as attempts to defund services that make choice possible for low income women. Our efforts have expanded Medicaid coverage and lowered the threshold for getting assistance, but many more women still can’t get the care they need.
I’m fighting for that right for all women, present and future. But I need your help. I need you to stand with me and ensure that everyone’s experience, no matter what they choose, includes access, safety, and support. May 5 is GiveBIG. Please stand with me and make a gift online on May 5, so that everyone has the right to choose.