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Storyteller: Jessy Rosales
Location: Orange County, CA
Why are you excited to participate in Youth Testify?
I am excited to participate in Youth Testify because it was a new opportunity to meet other people who’ve had abortions, and to learn more about what it is that we face under this current administration. Through Youth Testify, I feel more empowered, enlightened, and educated about what’s going on right now.
What would you like to share about your abortion story?
Growing up, I wasn’t able to say I was sexually active. Being in a Latin household, I didn’t feel like I could talk about my sexuality. When I became pregnant my junior year of college, I felt the expectation to continue the pregnancy because I was raised to believe it was “God’s Plan”. On the other hand, as a first-generation immigrant and student, I felt the pressure to be successful; I was expected to continue my education. I felt damned no matter what I did. When I had my abortion, I knew it was the right choice for me, despite what my parents might have thought. I got to finish my education, and now I work to end the stigma so that others don’t feel the pressures that I felt.
How are you excited to organize your community to eradicate abortion stigma?
I want to organize my community by educating people on the current policies when it comes to accessing abortion, and getting people more politically engaged. Policy impacts every aspect of our lives — particularly when it comes to abortion. It’s legal in California, but there are many little barriers that people don’t think about when it comes to accessing it. Those barriers impact people differently, like immigrants who aren’t able to access healthcare as easily. It all comes down to which policies are in place — when more people are politically engaged, we can create change, through the power of the people, that helps us all.
What do you wish other young people knew about seeking abortion?
I wish more young people knew their choices are valid and that they have rights over their own body. They shouldn’t let other people tell them otherwise. Policies protect the right to privacy, but many young people don’t get the same protection. If more young people knew about their rights, they’d be able to advocate for their rights. But because young people are seen as immature and irresponsible, we’re not always taken as seriously when we’re fighting for our rights. Aren’t young people the future?
Why are you sharing your abortion story?
I am sharing my story because before I went through my abortion I was the only one I knew who had ever had an abortion. I don’t want anyone to feel as lonely and ashamed as I did.