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Storyteller: Jeana Angela
Location: Houston, Texas
Abortion Fund: Clinic Access Support Network
Why are you excited to participate in Youth Testify?
Young people’s voices are powerful! I’m excited to be part of a community of young people like myself to leverage our voices for change. After my abortion, I started volunteering with Clinic Access Support Network, my local abortion fund, and then started working at the clinic as a counselor. It’s important to me that other young people see me working in the clinic so they know it’s okay to have abortions and so I can empathize with what they’re going through. People who have had abortions are special and I love my Youth Testify community so, so much.
What would you like to share about your abortion story?
I want to share that my abortion was just fine! It was a normal medical procedure. The only thing remarkable thing about it was how compassionate and warm everyone at the clinic was. My abortion was not a difficult decision. I wasn’t taking my birth control correctly at the time because I didn’t understand how birth control works, and when I got pregnant, I knew immediately that I was going to have an abortion. There was no question or doubt in my mind that I wasn’t ready to become a parent. Although my partner was very supportive and caring throughout the entire process, I felt isolated from my closest friends and family in the days before my abortion and in the months after. I told very few people over the course of two years, and even then, I felt different and separated from everyone in my life. I felt that I had this invisible scarlet letter, but when I was with my partner I didn’t feel like I was holding a secret or shameful. I now know that feeling was a direct product of the intense stigma that surrounds abortion in our culture, and it didn’t have to be that way. I didn’t have to feel so burdened and alone.
How are you excited to organize your community to eradicate abortion stigma?
I want to start conversations in my faith community about abortion. I want my community to examine and break down the negative knee-jerk reactions many Christians experience when they hear the word “abortion.”
What do you wish other young people knew about seeking abortion?
I wish other young people knew that abortion is really, really normal. Pregnancy is a fact of life, and it doesn’t have to derail your plans for your future. Your plans are important. And you’re not alone. When you’re young and not yet financially independent, being able to afford an abortion can be a major issue. Luckily, my partner and I were able to scrape up the funds in a timely manner. I was also lucky in that I lived very close to a great clinic and had a supportive partner who could drive me there. Most importantly, I was fortunate in that I was no longer a minor and didn’t need parental consent for my abortion. My parents are wonderful and supportive, but this was a deeply personal decision that I didn’t need them to be involved in at that point in my life. Being just a few years younger would have majorly complicated the situation. Many young Texans seeking abortions still have to face unjust parental consent and notification laws. Nobody should have to get permission to decide whether or not to continue a pregnancy, become a parent, or grow their families. It’s absurd.
Why are you sharing your abortion story?
I’m sharing my story to send a message that abortion is normal and that stigma can and WILL end. I’m sharing my story to show people that abortion didn’t have to be a source of negativity in our relationship — we got through it together. It solidified our trust in each other, and it strengthened our relationship. I’m also sharing my story for me – it’s healing the pain that the isolation and stigma inflicted on me.