We have been watching with interest abortion provider Marie Stopes’ I Had One Too campaign as it attempts to normalise abortion and present it as a harmless, everyday procedure.
On their beautifully curated Instagram account, real women open up about their lived experiences of going through with an abortion.
But far from overtly contradicting the concerns that Emily’s Voice continually addresses – the stories affirm and validate the harms of abortion and the fact that real choice is not available to Australian women. The lack of information, the empty words of partners who say “your body, your choice”, the reality that abortion is a decision that you carry for the rest of your life, that abortion causes deep grief in many women, and so on are all evident. The #ihadonetoo videos validate these truths. Ironically, rather than draw attention to the harm of abortion that these women continue to live with, Marie Stopes uses them to promote their services. To increase their bottom line.
“I think that definitely the hardest thing was accessing information, and not just information that was, you know, from a medical website, information about how you feel, personalised information from people’s experiences not just kind of a medical checklist.”
We agree with you, Jazz. Which is why we built our sister site www.notbornyet.com
If only Jazz had seen it, maybe her decision might have been different. She would have found many real stories of women who faced an unplanned pregnancy just like her, and the way they navigated their decision and the impacts on their futures. She would have also found information about abortion procedures, pregnancy help services, and truthful yet sensitive articles that addressed her feelings at that moment in time.
You, our Emily’s Voice supporters, can help us get this information out there more broadly so that women like Jazz who are seeking information will find it in the right place, at the right time.
Jazz also shared that her partner told her it was her decision, “whatever you decide is right,” he said.
“It… puts a lot of pressure on the woman… I kind of wanted to know what he felt. I didn’t want it to be just my decision.”
We hear you, Jazz. In fact, 70% of women who had an abortion said that, if one person had offered meaningful support, they would have kept their baby. Women with an unplanned pregnancy want more than empty words parroting the “woman’s body, woman’s choice” vernacular. They want people who will provide real support.
You, our Emily’s Voice supporters, can do that too! You can be a support to women in your midst.
“I surprisingly felt a lot of shame instantly. It was something that I didn’t, a position that I didn’t expect to be in because I’m usually so careful with sexual activity and protection and contraception.”
Shame is a common feeling when facing unplanned pregnancy, sadly. We’re sorry you felt shame, Kate, and watching your story, our heart went out to you, as you are clearly still struggling with the trauma of your abortion. It is not shameful to fall pregnant. As much as 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. We just would have loved to walk with you in that time and shown you the stories of other women just like you who discovered that their unplanned pregnancy brought unplanned joy into their lives when they embraced motherhood.
“The process of going through a medical abortion is… you’re on your own a bit and, um, the unknown is quite frightening at times… You’re told that you will bleed and that you will bleed a lot… it is a lot of bleeding and a lot of blood. I thought I was comfortable with that, and I was. I was comfortable. But, yeah, it was, um, interesting. Having someone there for that part of the process would have been nice, I must admit, yep.”
Kate describes some of the horror of the medical abortion process. How she was told to put plastic under her sheets on her bed and to buy adult diapers to cope with the amount of blood loss. What a traumatic experience for you Kate. We hope you find healing from it. Please, don’t be afraid to seek help from an abortion counsellor. Your feelings are real.
“Walking in and being like, this is what I want, I know what I want, I’ve researched it, I’ve read about it. I probably should have thought about that a little bit more and taken the time with the doctors to talk about that a bit more. Seek help in that process and have someone who is just going to sit through it with you. Start to finish.”
We see you biting back the tears, Kate. We’re so sorry that there was no one there for you in that time. That you weren’t clearly told what you were signing up for. Again, please don’t be afraid to seek help to address these feelings. Abortion grief is real and there are people who would love to help you.
You might recognise Madeleine. She is one of our heroes, one of the many brave people who have shared their story of unplanned pregnancy through Emily’s Voice and Notbornyet. Perhaps her story would have impacted Jazz and Kate’s decisions. We know that Madeleine’s story has influenced other women’s choices, like Stacey.
These stories, and others, reveal just how vital Emily’s Voice is in sharing the truth, with love, to women facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Will you partner with us today so that we can reach more women like Jazz, Kate and Madeleine, and impact on the culture of life in Australia? Thank you for your investment in Australian women, families and pre-born babies. With your help, the future is looking brighter.
Main image: @ihadonetoo on Instagram