Storyteller: CoWanda

Location: Dallas, Texas
Local abortion fund: Texas Equal Access Fund
Age: 20
Pronouns: She/Her

Ubicación: Dallas, Texas
Fondo de aborto local: Texas Equal Access Fund
Edad: 20
Pronombre: Ella/su

CoWanda’s Abortion Story
When I had my abortion, I wasn’t just praying for my future, but my life that I found myself in; a toxic relationship that wasn’t serving me. I was trying to escape a life that was smothering me and that didn’t include carrying my abuser’s fetus to term. I was experiencing sexual abuse and domestic violence in a relationship. Thankfully, while navigating the process to get my abortion, God was still there. I was dependent and helpless before receiving the community of We Testify, and now my abortion story isn’t just the abortion itself, but the life I have now! I want people to know that no matter how many personal reasons I share with the world for having my abortion, to simply want and or need one is enough. Reasons aren’t needed to validate our lived experiences. We know what we want, and now I am flourishing. When people ask me what life would be like if I had carried to term, I explain that I could try to place myself at 17 again, and think about that, but the reality is continuing a pregnancy was never what I wanted to do. For me, the girl standing here today is better than she has ever been in her entire traumatic life! So I stand up for that girl, the one I know now! She is full of power and she loves everyone who has had an abortion intentionally. Because my faith tells me all things start and end with God. I believe that wholeheartedly, knowing that all my lived experiences are by design. When it comes to my autonomy and my choice, God knows to direct the path, but let me choose for He was once a choice of mine. I chose to have faith and I chose to have an abortion, and I am who I am because of it.

Historia de Aborto de CoWanda
Cuando tuve mi aborto, no solo estaba rezando por mi futuro, sino por la vida en la me encontraba; una relación tóxica que no me servía. Estaba tratando de escapar de una vida que me estaba asfixiando y eso no incluía llevar a término al feto de mi abusador. Estaba experimentando abuso sexual y violencia doméstica en una relación. Afortunadamente, mientras navegaba el proceso de tener un aborto, Dios aún estaba conmigo. Era dependiente e indefensa antes de recibir la comunidad de We Testify, y ahora ¡la historia de aborto no es solamente el aborto en sí, sino la vida que tengo ahora! Quiero que la gente sepa que sin importar cuántas razones personales para haber tenido mi aborto comparta con el mundo, simplemente querer y/o necesitar un aborto es suficiente. Las razones no son necesarias para validar nuestras experiencias vividas. Sabemos lo que queremos, y ahora estoy floreciendo. Cuando la gente me pregunta qué vida tendría si hubiera continuado el embarazo, les explico que podría imaginarme a los 17 otra vez, y pensarlo, pero la realidad es que continuar un embarazo nunca fue lo que quise. Para mí, ¡la chica presente aquí hoy es mejor como nunca antes en toda su traumática vida! Entonces ¡respaldo a esa chica, la que conozco ahora! Ella está llena de poder y ama a todas las personas que han tenido abortos intencionalmente. Porque mi fe me dice que todas las cosas empiezan y terminan con Dios. Yo creo en eso con todo mi corazón, sabiendo que todas mis experiencias vividas tienen un propósito. Cuando se trata de mi autonomía y mi elección, Dios sabe dirigir el camino, pero me permite elegir porque Él también fue una vez mi elección. Elegí tener fe y elegí tener un aborto, y soy quien soy gracias a ello.

Why are you excited to participate in We Testify Texas?
I am excited to have a second chance to present my story to the world in a way that will continue to change the conversation. I came into Youth Testify last year and that was like my birth into reproductive justice. Today, I am the CoWanda who came from movement work, and who is still unapologetic and fiercely sharing her story.

¿Por qué te emociona participar en We Testify Texas (Damos Testimonio Texas)?
Me emociona tener una segunda oportunidad de presentar mi historia al mundo de una manera que continúe cambiando la conversación. Llegué a Youth Testify el año pasado y eso fue como mi nacimiento a la justicia reproductiva. Hoy soy la CoWanda que vino del trabajo del movimiento, y quien todavía comparte su historia enérgicamente y sin disculpas.

Why are you sharing your story?
I am sharing my story because it’s my lived experience, and people need to know that it’s okay to have experiences like going to get an abortion when you want and/or need one. Although womxn aren’t the only ones affected by the injustices, my whole existence and functionality in this world as a woman is rooted in my reproductive self and autonomy of that. I am a womxn who loves womxn and I will not maneuver through a world in silence as I watch my sisters—not just cisters—suffer at the hands of oppressive system that can and will be undone.

¿Por qué estás compartiendo tu historia?
Estoy compartiendo mi historia porque es mi experiencia vivida, y la gente necesita saber que está bien tener experiencias como practicarse un aborto cuando quieres y/o necesitas. Aunque las mujeres no son las únicas afectadas por las injusticias, mi completa existencia y funcionalidad en este mundo como una mujer está arraigada en mi ser reproductivo y la autonomía frente a ello. Soy una mujer que ama a las mujeres y no navegaré por el mundo en silencio mientras veo a mis hermanas –no solo las cisgénero—sufrir a manos del sistema opresivo que puede y será desmantelado.

How are you excited to organize your community to eradicate abortion stigma?
I am beyond excited! I just want to be in community with a whole bunch of people who want to shake shit up like my girl, fellow Youth Testify storyteller Jordyn Close says, we are young we have potential and so much energy. I’m just ready to use mine. We have to change the way things are; our lives depend on it and our planned children’s lives depend on it. Our friends, our family, our future! Abortion stigma shouldn’t exist; we shouldn’t live in a society where the most natural experiences we as human people can experience are extorted by systems and hatred. Life is a process; it’s time for health care and policy be reflective of that.

¿Cómo te emociona organizar a tu comunidad para erradicar el estigma del aborto?
¡Estoy más que emocionada! Simplemente quiero estar en comunidad con un montón de gente que quiere hacer un desmadre, como dice mi chica, mi compa narradora de historias de Youth Testify Jordyn Close, somos jóvenes, tenemos potencial y mucha energía. Estoy lista para usar la mía. Tenemos que cambiar como están las cosas; nuestras vidas dependen de ello y las vidas de nuestres hijes planeades dependen de ello. ¡Nuestres amigues, nuestra familia, nuestro futuro! El estigma del aborto no debería existir; no deberíamos vivir en una sociedad donde las experiencias más naturales que nosotres como seres humanos podemos experimentar son extorsionadas por los sistemas y el odio. La vida es un proceso; es hora de que los servicios de salud y las políticas sean un reflejo de ello.

What do you wish other people knew about seeking abortion?
That it’s simply okay to do so. The thing that frustrates me most is the funding of crisis pregnancy centers because they’re so harmful. It makes me want to cry because these are people’s lives and I could only imagine needing help and being tricked and mishandled at a fake clinic. Becoming pregnant in the United States for poor people shouldn’t be a traumatic experience, and needing and obtaining an abortion shouldn’t be a hard process to navigate. There is a community that exists that can support you through the process. There’s a whole community of folks here in Texas that will open their doors to you and help empower you along the way.

¿Qué quisieras que otras personas supieran acerca de buscar un aborto?
Que simplemente está bien hacerlo. Lo que más me frustra es la financiación de los centros de crisis del embarazo porque son muy dañinas. Me dan ganas de llorar porque estas son las vidas de personas, y apenas puedo imaginarme necesitando ayuda y siendo engañada y manipulada en una clínica falsa. Para las personas pobres, embarazarse en Los Estados Unidos no debería ser una experiencia traumática, y necesitar y practicarse un aborto no debería ser un proceso difícil de navegar. Existe una comunidad que puede apoyarte durante el proceso. Hay toda una comunidad de gente en Texas que te abrirá las puertas y te ayudará a empoderarte en el proceso.


YOUTH TESTIFY

Location: Dallas, Texas
Age: 19

Why are you excited to participate in Youth Testify?

I finally feel that I am part of something much bigger than me and I get to shed light on a different aspect of abortion. Being a Black woman and a woman of faith, it feels huge for me to be out in the world showing other teens there are people who look like us having abortions. I want to open more doors for people who look like me to talk about their stories.

What would you like to share about your abortion story?

During my abortion, I had faith the entire time. People ask me how can I be Christian and have an abortion, but I think if they truly knew Christianity and knew how God works, they wouldn’t ask that. When I found out I was pregnant, I was with a friend and I had a feeling I was pregnant. I cried a bit, but I was in school, so I had to just put it aside while I was in class. I knew immediately I didn’t want to have it; I didn’t have money, I didn’t have resources, I didn’t have anything. I started praying. God was with me with through the entire decision. I was under 18, so I needed a judicial bypass. A friend told me about Jane’s Due Process, and they were very nice in helping me to get the judicial bypass for the abortion. The whole process took about a week. Throughout it all, I was praying. I asked, “Hey God you know, if this is something you don’t want me to do, don’t let it happen”, and it did happen. He meets you where you are.

How are you excited to organize your community to eradicate abortion stigma?

Those who don’t want to talk about their abortions don’t have to, but I think it shouldn’t be something that we’re forced to never talk about. We should be able to speak out and show there are people like us who have abortions everyday. I am excited to organize with young people because it’s a domino effect. I already know young people, younger than me, who are going through similar situations, and when I create a space for young people to talk about their experiences and be the support they didn’t have, it will empower them to also speak out. Being there for them is a way to help them feel safe and know someone is rooting for them on their side.

What do you wish other young people knew about seeking abortion?

I want young people to know that it’s 100% their decision, and regardless of how the world makes it look abortion is normal. Parental consent laws are so ridiculous — my parents taught me to be responsible and make decision for myself, but the laws won’t allow me to make decisions for my own body and life. That’s frustrating and makes assumptions about young people’s relationships with their parents and made getting an abortion more difficult for me.

Why are you sharing your abortion story?

I am sharing my abortion story because it’s time for people to know that having faith dictates the outcomes of a situation, and we all have the ability to live our own lives and choose our own path. I want to be connected to my abortion story always — it’s a part of me. Sharing my story helps me grow as an individual. All things can be used for the greater good of Christ.

CoWanda, We Testify Texas Storyteller

Stories by CoWanda

No stories are available to share.