I was 20 years old and I was on Levora pills for birth control, which I took on a strict schedule, but it still happened. I knew immediately that I wanted to have an abortion. Because I was in New Orleans, La., there were no clinics in the city that were endorsed by Planned Parenthood, and being so far from my family, I wasn’t going to go to any clinic without a PP endorsement.

My boyfriend and I both had to take off work and drive from 4am to a city 100 miles away to the nearest PP-endorsed clinic. Because of Louisiana’s 24-hour wait laws, we had to do this twice in one week. He didn’t lose his job, thank goodness.

To get into the clinic we had to cross a barrier of protestors with signs saying I’d go to hell, and pictures of fetuses ex-utero. Once in the clinic, us girls were shepherded into one room. No one was delighted to be there to start with, but one girl had a particularly hard time with the protestors, and we had to calm her down–and the panic she nearly started in the waiting room.

What I mean to share from that was that it wasn’t the doctors or the abortion itself that traumatized her, me and the other girls. It was the inaccessibility of the services, and the protestors spewing emotional abuse outside. THAT is what made it hard to emotionally recover.

Anti-abortion laws traumatize women and create a space in which it is OK to emotionally abuse them, just for the crime of wanting to choose whether we have a kid.