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Everyone should be able to have agency over their bodies, live their own lives, and tell their own stories. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade a year ago, it stripped some 25 million women and more people who can become pregnant of the right to make their own personal medical decisions. Without access to abortion care, I would have been forced to carry an unintended pregnancy as a 22-year-old college senior and survivor of emotional and verbal abuse by an intimate partner.
After leaving this emotionally and verbally abusive relationship in 2022, I met a 30-year-old man who seemed to have everything together. I was looking for companionship and we had great chemistry. But after two weeks of seeing each other, I began to notice a pattern of insecurity and of them being overly possessive, and despite doing our best to practice safer sex, I got pregnant. I found out while with my best friend in our college dorm, and I was immediately filled with depression and fear. I didn’t know if I wanted to have children, but I knew if I did, I wanted and deserved to raise them with someone who loved me and who didn’t treat me like an object.
When I told the man I was seeing that I was pregnant and informed him of my decision to have an abortion, he tried to convince me to change my mind. His coercion didn’t work because, in part, having a child only because someone else wanted me to was not how I was going to make this important decision — and it wasn’t part of the future I had in mind for myself.
By the day of my procedure, the father had ghosted, blocked me, and backed out of his promise to support me in paying for the abortion. Fortunately, I had family to support me and surround me with love. Still, I felt depressed and like I was experiencing a loss. Thankfully, my visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Maryland was lovely; the staff was very kind and gentle, and they made sure to inform me that the choice was mine before I accepted the pills for an abortion by medication. While the decision to have an abortion wasn’t easy for me, it’s one that I’m glad I was able to make.
Now, a year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I’m disheartened by the fact that millions of people, many in similar situations as I was, are being denied the ability to make their own health care decisions. We’ve already seen bans eliminate or restrict all or some abortions in nearly half of the country’s states, and I know as a Black and queer woman living in Maryland where abortion is legal yet restricted, that the ability to get safe, legal abortion care in the U.S. is still determined by where you live and how much money you have. And due to systemic racism and discrimination, Black, Latino, Indigenous people, immigrants, people living with low incomes and people in rural areas continue to bear the worst of these bans. Nothing about overturning Roe was intended to protect lives.
I’ve found peace and comfort in my decision to have an abortion. My advice for anyone faced with unintended pregnancy is that your body is your own. Surrounding yourself with love and, most importantly, loving yourself, will make it easier to keep going. I am living proof.
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Ryan-Simone is an abortion advocate from Maryland, and a part of Planned Parenthood’s national network of patient storytellers. They are using a pseudonym to shield themselves from potential harassment.