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Protecting My Mental Health With Constant Talk of Abortion in the News

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I have a very hard time hearing about abortion and how our country is trying to limit it and punish women who have them. The talk takes me back to my own abortion and how I could have easily not had access to what I consider lifesaving health care.

• What is PTSD?

When I was 17, I became pregnant. This was not by choice or because I was a “fast” girl or because I was careless. I got pregnant because someone violated me. Once it was figured out that I was pregnant, all choice was taken from me. The people who took me for my abortion knew why I was pregnant. They made it out that I was somehow bad — “a whore.” I now know I am not a whore, and I am not bad. I was a victim of a very sick pedophile.

When I found out I was pregnant, all I could think of was how my life was over. I was just graduating high school and was on my way to college at a prestigious private school that fall. How was I supposed to raise a baby? I had no resources, and my family was toxic and I would be bringing my child into a home that would repeat the cycle of abuse I was trying to escape. I felt I was trapped and while this life was growing inside of me, I felt like I was dying.

I had the abortion. As sad as I was that day, I was also relived. I did not have to bring a child into a bad situation that would have only been made worst by a child being involved.

Abortion was legal in my state and around the country. I had free access to it and it saved my life and the life of that child.

I have been fearful over the years to speak of my abortion. The rhetoric in the community is so dangerous and violent that I was forced to keep it a secret for so long. I am still scared of the people who want abortion done away with. They call me a “baby killer” and tell me they are only trying to save me from myself, and that God will punish me for what I have done.

I want to be clear: I am right with God. God knows about my abortion and still loves and cares for me. I do not need to be forgiven or punished. I did nothing wrong. God knew I would choose abortion long before I did. I feel God now wants me to be a messenger to the community that abortion is a viable option. That if you are abused, you have every right to not have your abuser’s baby. That no man or legislator should stand between you, your family, and your doctor in making this decision. There is nothing wrong with abortion to save your and your baby’s life.

The Daily News Cycle

Everyone seems to be talking about abortion these days. I cannot open a paper, look at Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook without headlines about how abortion rights are being stripped away. This scares me and is very triggering. I do not read the articles, but the headlines are disturbing enough.

When I read the headlines, I think of the 11-year-old who is now pregnant by her father being forced to have the child. She will be more than likely put into foster care and her child removed from her custody and her parental rights terminated. She will now be considered a birth mom. No one is going to explain that to her. No one will deal with her grief and longing for her child. No one will help her cope long-term with this loss, and they’ll expect her to move on, to go to school every day wounded and alone. Losing a child is traumatic no matter how it happens and she will suffer in silence because no one will be caring for her.

I fear what our country will do about abortion because of all the women, trans folks, and girls who need options not condemnation.

The constant barrage of news that is, in my opinion, all bad — I am stuck being reminded of why I needed to have an abortion. It reminds me I was assaulted and that I had no choice in the matter. That I was powerless against those who were supposed to protect me.

There is really no way to stay away from the news — I have tried. This is news now, but the reality is it has been in the news these last few decades. We work to tune it out, but it is real life for many and they need access that is slowly being chipped away at.

I must implore my coping strategies to deal with the negativity and victim blaming that is going on.

Coping Strategies

I pray all of this legislation will not end up limiting women’s rights to appropriate health care.

I share my story with confidants and express my fears so I can get support.

I write about my story so others do not feel alone, and I can help inspire them.

I get active in politics so I can advocate for those who cannot and make change for the better.

Taking a hot shower or doing my nails (typical coping skills) is not going to get at these major issues. I must actively engage to improve my and others’ disposition and help encourage solutions.

I do not hold out much hope for good news in the coming months just like it has been. I think we are soon going to be returning to a dark chapter in our nation’s history.

If you are struggling with the news, I am with you. I know there is no way to escape it. I know it is revictimizing and scary.

Your story has made you Mighty strong. You are not alone. I see you.

Getty image by katleho Seisa

Originally published: April 8, 2022
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