I am 1 in 3.

The school system in which I was enrolled offered absolutely no sex-education. I was raised by my grandparents after my mom died. The closest thing we had to a sex talk we had was when I started my period. I was told was that tampons would kill me and that I should bury my used sanitary pads at the bottom of the trash can, so the dog wouldn’t get them. While now this sounds comical, I assure you that when I ended up pregnant, it was no laughing matter.

I was pregnant because I didn’t know any better and I thought if he “pulled out” it couldn’t happen. I was just out of high school. My future lay in a college education – an education that would not happen if I had a child. I was lucky because my boyfriend had the funds and was willing to pay for my abortion. I was also lucky because I lived in a place where I, with Planned Parenthood’s help, could access a clinic with relative ease. The doctor and nurses were just amazing. The procedure was simple and I, like most women, experienced no complications. I was able to go on and finish my education. I then was able to have a wonderful career as a social worker. I also got married (not to the above-mentioned boyfriend) and had two beautiful sons – and the means to have a healthy, happy life. A career, a husband, two well cared for kids and dogs, lots of dogs. These are the things that I was able to experience because I made a responsible (and legal) medical decision at a time when I was far too young to be a single mother.

It truly saddens me to watch as women’s health rights shoot backwards so far and so fast. This is why I decided share my story. The stigma that shrouds abortion and the shame and embarrassment that women are forced to endure needs to stop. Abortion must remain a safe and legal part of every woman’s medical resources.