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Storyteller: HK Gray
Location: Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
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.