Fight for Choice: A deep dive into Women’s Reproductive Rights with Interviews

Protestors shown in front of the Supreme Court continue gathering after leaked draft

Protestors shown in front of the Supreme Court continue gathering after leaked draft

On May third, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill that banned abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy. Stitt signing this makes preforming an abortion a felony and punishable by up to ten years in prison. This move comes on the heels of Texas’s “Heartbeat Law,” banning abortion after 6 weeks, as well as instituting a Bounty-hunting Law, rewarding $10,000 to those who report unlawful abortion. However, the most extreme legislation against Roe V. Wade and a women’s right to choose has been leaked from inside the Supreme Court, in which the precendent itself would be completely struck down, allowing states to make decisions over the legality of abortion, and even leaving the door opeened to ban abortion all together.

Abortion has been a topic of debate for decades and as time goes on, tension between the pro- choice and pro-life sides have only risen. With the Supreme Court poised to potentially to strike down a decades-old precedent, restrictive abortion laws as of 2010 have contributed to the closure of at  least 70 abortion clinics. Missouri, Mississipi, South Dakota, and North Dakota are all down to only having one abortion clinic each. However, women seek abortions for a myriad of reasons, including the inability to financially provide for a child, teenagers or college students who aren’t mentally or phsyically ready to be responsible for a child, or cases of ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo grows outside of the uterus, making the environment hoistile and unviable for the mother and the embroyo. In cases of rape or incest, the option to have abortion is extremely important for giving the option to minimize lasting trauma. 

In the 1991 supreme court case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling that said states can create restrictions as long as they dont place “An undue burden… a substantial obstacle in the path of a women seeking an abortion.” Facilities where abortions are preformed are required to meet certain building standards that require walls to feet eight feet wide so that two surgical gernies can pass eachother. This may sound harmless, but in these clinics; most of the abortions performed are done in the first trimester when they generally aren’t surgical procedures with no cutting and mild sedation, that usually involve suction or just taking medication– neither of these procedures require a large surgical facility. These laws have made it harder for women to seek a clinic and the abortion care they needs, because certain clinics preforming abortion dont meet these requirments. 

There are laws that have been passed in about ten states that say doctors should have hospital admitting privileges at a local hospital, laws such as these can shut a clinic down, because for finanical or political reasons hospitals wont grant them to doctor that preforms abortion. Politicians in defense of these laws will say that it’s a law put in place to protect “women’s health”. The American Medical Association and the American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have said there is no medical basis for imposing these local admitting privilege requirements on abortion providers. The death rate for abortion-related death is 0.00073%. 

Safe abortions have a lower death rate than colonoscopys, another routine procedure. When facilitites with trained medical profressionals who preform abortions get shut down, women get hurt if they seek back-alley abortion care. Just because abortions become outlawed doesnt mean there will be less people seeking them, like when back alley abortion was respsonsible for 17% of pregnancy related deaths in 1965, 7 years before the legalization of abortion. Women who seek abortions with these increaingly tough laws will have to jump from loop holes from a 72 hour waiting period, or traveling to different cities or different states. 


The Patriot conducted anonymous interviews with women who have received abortion as a form of reproductive care. This is what they said.


1. How old were you at the time of the procedure? 

Jane Doe #1: “15; a high school freshman with my first ever “serious” boyfriend… He was my first for everything beyond kissing. We knew about birth control methods but were still very naive, immature and uneducated on how to properly practice safe sex. Talks with adults revolved around abstaining.” 

Jane Doe #2: “I had my first abortion at 19, and the second at 25.”


2. How did you come to that decision? 

Jane Doe #1: The short answer is I (pro choice) was forced by my mother (pro life) to have an abortion. No you didn’t read that wrong. My mother was a teen mom as well, having my oldest sister at the age of 16. She was raised baptist so she wasn’t really given any option but to have the baby… she knew first hand the difficulties of being a teen mom…while she did not physically force me or anything, she also didn’t give me any other options and only expressed that I would have zero help from her and would be kicked out of her house. For a 15 year old with no car, no income, potentially no home, and still going to school… it didn’t seem possible to manage.”  No one asked me how I was feeling. No one backed off to allow me time alone to think or talk with my boyfriend. And again, no other options were discussed. People assume when I say I am pro choice that it means I am pro abortion, and that’s not the case. I don’t know what decision I would have made back then if I had been given my options and a little time to consider them fully. It’s a lot of mixed emotions. Now that I am older I understand better the impact having a baby at 15 would have had on my life and agree that it probably was the best decision. The part that hurts the most now at the age of 32 is seeing my mother make Pro Life posts on facebook and sharing posts about abortions being wrong, how people who have abortions are baby murderers, and showing support for laws that take away healthcare rights for women… It just feels very hypocritical. It took me several years to forgive her for that and repair our mother/daughter relationship, and I fear it’s swinging back in that direction of resentment the more she vocalizes her views and opinions on recent political issues.  

Jane Doe #2: “For the first one- i was too young and wanted to go to college, and for the second, I was in college and a dance major and didn’t want to be pregnant being a dance major” 


3. What was your experience when looking for abortion care?

Jane Doe #1 “My mom took me the very next day that I told her I was pregnant to an abortion clinic to schedule the procedure. I don’t remember much of anything as my response was to shut down and disconnect. I wasn’t even sure where she was taking me. I couldn’t tell you the name of the clinic or the doctor. But from what I can infer, it was relatively quick and easy for her to get me in for the appointment and we only went to the one location because I assume my mother just wanted to resolve the issue as soon as possible and not “shop around” for clinics.”

Jane Doe #2 “I went to planned parenthood in columbus Ohio, and i didn’t come across any hurdles accessing the abortion” and second abortion was in Los Angeles, California and went to planned parenthood as well, when I went there I found out I was over 3 months and had to go to another place because I was farther along and needed a different produce.”


4. What was the procedure like? 

Jane Doe #1 “After our initial appointment there was a waiting period. I think we went on a Thursday or Friday and had to wait until Monday to go back in for the procedure. I was taken to the back alone and placed in another waiting room with other women who were all there for the same procedure. I sat silently, as most other women did too, but I do recall one other woman discussing how she and her husband just couldn’t afford another child. This was my first time being exposed to a scenario where someone might be getting an abortion for reasons other than rape or teenage pregnancy because at 15 I honestly didn’t think adults… ones who were married and had jobs and other kids…. would have a need to have an abortion. To a certain level I was indoctrinated into believing abortion was wrong, shameful, something “respectable people” didn’t discuss openly, etc. which is part of why I was so resistant to the idea of an abortion at the time too. It started to plant the seed that I maybe needed to expand my mind on the subject, especially if I was going to survive this, mentally and emotionally. For the procedure itself, I was put under. I didn’t feel a thing. I vaguely remember coming out of my twilight sleep for a second or two during the middle of it and lifting my head up off the table to see my legs up in stirrups, with a pink paper cover on both sides, and the top of the doctor’s head between them. I woke up on a recovery bed and was instructed by the nurse that I needed to use the restroom before I could go home. They escorted me to the single room toilet and then stepped outside the door to allow me to go in private. My next moment of awareness involved me being passed off to my mother (along with some aftercare meds) to escort me to her car, where I again fell asleep until we arrived home and I crawled into my bed for the rest of the day and night. I don’t recall much pain after the procedure, other than some slight cramping. I spent the next couple of days in my room, sleeping. I think at the young age of 15 and given that I was only around 7 weeks at the time, my body recovered significantly faster than my heart.”     

Jane Doe #2- “Physically there was discomfort, they gave me a valium and it was easier because I wasn’t very far along. The second one I had to be put to sleep, there was a lot more bleeding but minor discomfort.”


5. Do you have any regrets? 

Jane Doe #1: “Yes and No. I don’t regret not becoming a mom at 15. I don’t regret being able to finish out my high school years as a (relatively) carefree teenager, and to be able to experience things that I wouldn’t have been able to if I had a baby at home to care for. I don’t regret it because even though I am still with the father and we are married now with 2 kids, I don’t think that would be the case if we had become parents that young. I’m almost certain it would have crushed our relationship at that age. My regrets center more around the fact that I had to come to terms with the abortion after the fact, rather than before, which took a little longer. And I regret that I allowed myself to believe I was a bad person.” 

Jane Doe #2 “No. None at all.” 


6. How do you feel now with the leaked SCOTUS documents? 

Jane Doe #1 “I feel as though it’s a terrible step in the wrong direction. I am in disbelief that what they are proposing could even be on the table for discussion and that women’s bodies do not need to be policed by politicians, most of whom are men. And as men and politicians, they lack any sort of knowledge in the form of personal experience or formal education on medical matters such as this. Given the hypocrisy of my personal experience with abortion and my mother, I feel it is well within the realm of possibility for those proposing or supporting these laws to be hypocrites as well and that it does not inherently give them any sort of moral high ground. This part isn’t related to any question but I felt it significant to my story and worth mentioning; after my abortion I did not receive any kid of mental/emotional support. My mother and I did not discuss it. Family and friends did not check in to see how I was coping. I was left to my own devices for healing and for the most part my solution for many years was to ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen either. Thankfully I am not a person who struggles with depression, however it did not leave me completely unmarked. My solution to healing on my own came after the birth of my son, when I decided to donate eggs and do Surrogacy. I have since completed 2 egg donations and 3 (going on 4) surrogacy journeys, resulting in 4 (going on 5) babies born to their loving parents. I help create families and yet still 100% support a woman’s right to choose because the whole idea is that what happens inside my uterus is no one’s business to make decisions about but my own, and if any of my pregnancies ever put my life at risk, or if the parents felt that due to any medical reasons they did not want to continue the pregnancy either, we would terminate.” 

Jane Doe #2- “Obviously completely wrong, [certain] seats in the court were filled in by a president I feel cheated his way into the presidency– It is going to set us back 50 years, and I am afraid its going to make way for other laws to be stricken down such as LGBTQ rights, especially gay marriage. My mother fought in the 60s for equal rights fot women and abortion rights, and she had an abortion in the 1950s, before it was legal. [I’m] not going to quit fighting.” 


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