I had my abortion when I was 22 and in an unhealthy relationship. We knew we weren’t going to last as a couple, weren’t ready to be parents and couldn’t provide a child with a loving (or safe) environment, so the decision was an easy one. I scheduled my appointment and had my abortion at a Planned Parenthood in Bellingham, WA. I was cared for, talked to (not at) and all my questions were answered. PP gave me comfort and confidence.

And then I walked outside.

After my abortion the stigma surrounding the legal and common procedure, ate away at me. Some of my friends, family members, acquaintances and strangers alike, all told me I was wrong, a coward, that I was a murderer or that I went against a plan designed for my by a higher power. I started drinking and doing drugs, because I was convinced something was wrong with me. I didn’t feel regret for my decision, even though multiple people around me told me I should.

I ended up driving drunk and wrecking my car. I almost died. I woke up hanging upside down, saved by my seatbelt, with a concussion, broken ribs and a gash across my chest.

My abortion was safe, but the stigma almost killed me. It’s because others stand up and talk about their abortions, and because I had access to a mental health professional, that I can now say I’m almost 29, a proud mother to a 1 1/2 year old, and a proud woman who is more than happy to share her story, so that we can end the stigma and save the lives of countless women, everywhere.