Storyteller: HK Gray

Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Local abortion fund: Texas Equal Access Fund
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/Her

Ubicación: Fort Worth, Texas
Fondo de aborto local: Texas Equal Access Fund
Edad: 19
Pronombres: Ella/su

HK Gray’s Abortion Story
I was already a teen mom when I found out I was pregnant for a third time. I was not in the financial or emotional place for another child, so my partner and I knew an abortion was the best choice for our family. Because I was 17, I needed to have parent consent to the abortion, something I couldn’t get because my dad is homeless and my mom was on the run from police. Luckily, I found out that I could get an abortion without parental consent by getting a judicial bypass which meant going before a judge to show them I was mature enough to get an abortion—something I didn’t have to do with my daughter. Jane’s Due Process helped me get a lawyer who fought for my case. My lawyer was a great support during and after my judicial bypass, but it was still hard to go in front of a judge. The judge asked me inappropriate questions about my sex life, my parents’ situations, and he tried to make me feel like having my daughter as a teen was a mistake. I felt dehumanized and stigmatized no matter which choice I made. After I got my judicial bypass approved, I was able to get my abortion just under 15 weeks into my pregnancy. I am thankful every day for being able to access the care I needed when I needed it.

Historia de Aborto de HK Gray
Ya era una mamá adolescente cuando descubrí que estaba embarazada por tercera vez. No estaba en una situación económica o emocional para otre hije, de manera que mi pareja y yo sabíamos que el aborto era la mejor opción para nuestra familia. Ya que yo tenía 17 años, necesitaba tener el consentimiento de mis padres para el aborto, algo que no podía conseguir porque mi papá no tiene hogar y mi mamá estaba huyendo de la policía. Afortunadamente, supe que podía tener un aborto sin el consentimiento parental consiguiendo una autorización judicial, lo cual significaba presentarme ante un juez para demostrarle que yo era lo suficientemente madura para tener un aborto—algo que no tuve que hacer con mi hija. La organización Jane´s Due Process me ayudó a conseguir un abogado quien peleó mi caso. Mi abogado fue un gran apoyo durante y después de mi autorización judicial, pero aun así fue difícil presentarme ante un juez. El juez me hizo preguntas inapropiadas sobre mi vida sexual, la situación de mis padres, y trató de hacerme sentir que tener a mi hija como adolescente había sido un error. Me sentí deshumanizada y estigmatizada cualquier fuera mi decisión. Después de que aprobaron mi autorización judicial, pude tener mi aborto justo antes de las 15 semanas de embarazo. Estoy agradecida cada día de poder tener acceso al cuidado que necesitaba cuando lo necesitaba.

Why are you excited to participate in We Testify Texas?
I’m excited to be apart of We Testify Texas because Texas legislature has been passing more restrictions and pushing for inaccurate medical information for abortion and I think everyone in We Testify Texas is strong enough to fight back to end the stigma. The support and solidarity that we all give to each other is powerful. I think the love will be spread throughout our mostly conservative state to humanize those of us who have abortions.

¿Por qué te emociona participar en We Testify Texas (Damos Testimonio Texas)?
Me emociona ser parte de We Testify Texas porque la legislatura de Texas ha estado aprobando restricciones y presionando para que se dé información médica imprecisa sobre el aborto, y pienso que cada persona en We Testify es lo suficientemente fuerte para combatir y acabar con el estigma. El apoyo y la solidaridad que nos damos mutuamente es poderoso. Pienso que el amor se expandirá por todo nuestro estado primordialmente conservador para humanizar a todas aquellas personas que hemos tenido abortos.

Why are you sharing your story?
I’m sharing my story to empower all the other teen mothers who were made to feel they were wrong for having their children, for anyone who has had a miscarriage and felt they had to keep quiet about it, and anyone who had abortions and felt the stigma that so many of us know. I’m also sharing my story so my daughter’s generation doesn’t feel the weight of my generation’s restrictions.

¿Por qué estás compartiendo tu historia?
Estoy compartiendo mi historia para empoderar a todas las otras mamás adolescentes a quienes les hicieron sentir que estaban equivocadas por tener a sus hijes, por cada persona que ha tenido un aborto espontáneo y sintió que tenía que mantenerse callada al respecto, y por cada persona que se practicó un aborto y sintió el estigma que tantes de nosotres conocemos. También estoy compartiendo mi historia para que la generación de mi hija no sienta el peso de las restricciones de mi generación.

How are you excited to organize your community to eradicate abortion stigma?
I’m excited to do all types of organizing like lobbying, storytelling, and clinic legal observing! I’m also excited to organize for homeless outreach.

¿Cómo te emociona organizar a tu comunidad para erradicar el estigma del aborto?
¡Me emociona realizar todo tipo de trabajo organizativo como cabildeo, narración de historias, y observación legal en las clínicas! También me emociona hacer trabajo de difusión y alcance a personas sin hogar.

What do you wish other people knew about seeking abortion?
I wish other people knew seeking an abortion for a wealthy and poor person look very different, and that most restrictions disproportionately affect poor people. The unjust barriers that Texans have to navigate like waiting periods, parental involvement laws, required ultrasounds, parental consent laws for birth control, government mandated inaccurate information, having the same doctor read the inaccurate information and perform the abortion, and Texas Medicaid refusing to cover abortion care make it hard to get the care we need.

¿Qué quisieras que otras personas supieran acerca de buscar un aborto?
Quisiera que otras personas supieran que buscar un aborto para una persona rica y una pobre se ve muy diferente, y que la mayoría de las restricciones afectan desproporcionadamente a la gente pobre. Las barreras injustas que les Texanes tienen que superar como los periodos de espera, las leyes de participación parental, las ecografías requeridas, las leyes de consentimiento parental para el uso de anticonceptivos, la información inexacta exigida por el gobierno, que el mismo doctor lea la información imprecisa y realice el aborto, y que el Medicaid de Texas se reúse a cubrir los servicios de aborto dificultan el poder recibir la atención que necesitamos.

What is something you want others in Texas having abortions to know?
I want others in Texas having abortions to know that even though our state is really conservative there are abortion funds, support and resources available to folks seeking abortion.

¿Hay algo que quieres que otras personas que tienen abortos en Texas sepan?
Quiero que otras personas que tienen abortos en Texas sepan que aunque nuestro estado es realmente conservador, hay fondos de aborto, apoyo y recursos disponibles para quienes buscan un aborto.


YOUTH TESTIFY

Location: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Age: 18

Why are you excited to participate in Youth Testify?

I’m excited to participate in the Youth Testify because it helps bring young people who have had an abortion together and make them feel like they’re not alone.

What would you like to share about your abortion story?

I was already a teen mom when I found out I was pregnant. Although the choice was hard, I knew what I had to do. I looked up the laws in Texas and saw that because I was 17, I had to get a judicial bypass. My boyfriend was going through a hard time and my parents weren’t around so I reached out to Jane’s Due Process, and I am so thankful I did. They gave me all the information I needed and set me up with a lawyer who got me prepared to see the judge. Seeing the judge was a nerve-wracking experience and almost everything I said was taken the wrong way or twisted. I was asked very inappropriate questions about my sexual history and why I was having sex in the first place. The judge even went on to ask very personal questions about my parents and made me feel very small and less of a person. Luckily, I was granted the right to have an abortion and a judicial bypass, so I had my surgical procedure at 15 weeks and 5 days, five week after I tried to get an abortion originally. I remember the surgery was very intense and the process was emotionally draining, but I think I made the most selfless decision I could’ve made. If it wasn’t for my abortion, my family and I wouldn’t be where we are now and for that I am forever thankful to the organizations that helped me through my difficult time.

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

I want to focus on educating young people on their rights and options surrounding abortion. I also want to set up support groups for people who have had or are going through an abortion to let them know that they’re not alone and eventually help organize rallies and protests.

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

I want young people to know that an abortion does not make you less pure, it doesn’t make you less desirable, and the people who think that are in no place to cast judgment on others. There are lots of barriers young people have to go through such as judicial bypasses, waiting periods, having to take time off of school or jobs, not being able to tell their parents or friends, financial issues, and the all stigma surrounding young people having abortions. I think this is why it’s important to talk about all these challenges when getting abortions because most people don’t know they exist.

Why are you sharing your abortion story?

I am sharing my story because I want my daughter’s generation to be able to know ALL of their options without having to feel the weight of my generation’s shame on their shoulders.

HK Gray, We Testify Texas Storyteller

Stories by HK Gray

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