ALL Your Choices
This site is full of ways for you to survive, should you make the choice to continue your pregnancy. But the key word in that sentence, and in the rest of this site, is CHOICE. The writings here are based on our rock-solid belief that women have the right to control their reproduction, whether by becoming mothers in their teens, or by having abortions when they become pregnant. This site will take you through the series of choices that accompany pregnancy: the choice to have an abortion, the choice to birth your way, the choice to breastfeed, the choice to go to school, the choice to eliminate negative influences from your life, and many others. Choices are important, because only through examining options and making our own decisions can we have control over our lives. Young mothers have been denied that control, and we want to give it back.
Remember that you can do it, but you don’t HAVE to. Parenthood should not be something that just happens to us, a fate we are resigned to. Even if we don’t have much say over the beginning of our pregnancy, we should be able to decide the outcome. Some of you may be tempted to stop reading this, because you are not supportive of abortion, but I ask you to please continue. There is valuable information here that shows the necessity of young women being able to make their own choices. How would it be fair to deny women the choice when they become mothers? Parenthood can be hard enough for those of us who actively made the decision to continue our pregnancies; why would we want to force it on anyone who doesn’t want to do it, knowing what the results could be?
I am writing this here to make sure you know that if you don’t feel ready, or if you don’t want to be a parent, if it isn’t the right time, you don’t have to do it. No one can decide for you if you’re ready or if you want to, you have to make these choices on your. Don’t let anyone force you into anything you don’t want to do. Ask for space, examine your options, think it over, map out a plan, and then tell anyone who won’t support you to go away.
If you want more information about your options or want to find clinics in your area, you can call Planned Parenthood at 1-800-230-PLAN. Please don’t call “crisis pregnancy” lines, as they will most likely give you biased information in an effort to decide your choice for you. Gather information from NONBIASED sources. Anything that is “pro-life” or is “options” focused but seems to spend a lot of time discussing abortion is probably not going to have reliable information. (For example, uncomplicated abortion is safer than childbirth, will not impact future fertility, and will not cause breast cancer.) Talk to young mothers you know, ask them for the good AND difficult parts of their lives, and see if that sounds like what you want for yourself.
You are not the only one who has considered, wanted, or had an abortion, but you may feel like it. You will find that once you bring up the topic of abortion, people start talking. Some may voice irrational and unneeded opinions on the subject, but if they are true, supportive friends, they will respond with compassion rather than criticism to your situation. Others will tell you their experiences, ones they may not have been able to discuss before, due to the judgments that abound against women who have abortions. There is nothing wrong with you for thinking about or having an abortion, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.
Watch out for anti-abortion propaganda. There are all sorts of lies about how women will respond to abortion, there are deceptive pictures of fetuses, painting them as though they are tiny, full-grown infants, and there is lots and lots of hatred. It’s hard, but don’t let their opinions sway your choice, and don’t let them affect you if you choose abortion. Remember that most people do not agree with what the anti-choice protesters at the clinics believe, are there are legions of girlmoms who support you. Don’t seek out “post-abortion counseling” without checking to see if it’s done by a prochoice, feminist organization. Ask for clinic referrals from a local Planned Parenthood in order to avoid going to an anti-abortion center that is falsely advertising itself.
If you need assistance getting a judicial bypass (in some states, in order to have an abortion without your parents knowing, this is needed), Planned Parenthood can provide information about that. If you are unable to pay for the procedure, look for and ask about organizations set up to help low-income women fund abortions.
Online clinic listings:
www.clinicasdeaborto.com (en espanol)
http://www.naral.org/yourstate/whodecides/index.cfm (to find the abortion laws in your state)