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This Woman Filmed Her Abortion To Show Other People It Doesn’t Have To Be Scary

Posted by on May. 5, 2014 at 3:51 PM
  • 251 Replies
1 mom liked this


By Tara Culp-Ressler  

"This Woman Filmed Her Abortion To Show Other People It Doesn’t Have To Be Scary"


Emily Letts speaks to the camera in her video about her abortion procedure

Emily Letts speaks to the camera in her video about her abortion procedure

CREDIT: Emily Letts


Emily Letts, a 25-year-old abortion counselor at a clinic in New Jersey, knew that she wanted to use her own abortion story to help other woman making their own decisions about whether to end a pregnancy. At first, she thought she would write a blog post about her experience. But then she had the idea to film it.

In an essay published on Cosmopolitan.com, Letts explains that she decided to film her procedure after trying and failing to find a video of a surgical abortion online. There’s at least one YouTube clip of a woman taking the abortion pill, which is the non-surgical option for ending an early pregnancy, but that’s it. So Letts decided that she wanted to have a surgical procedure — the option that seems scarier to many women — to help educate people about what it’s actually like.

“We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like,” Letts writes on Cosmo’s site. “A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth. There is no cutting, and risk of infertility is less than one percent. Yet women come into the clinic all the time terrified that they are going to be cut open, convinced that they won’t be able to have kids after the abortion.”

The few representations of abortion on film are fictional, and they tend to portray it extremely negatively. A recent review of the fictional abortion storylines in TV shows and movies found that the procedure is typically depicted as far more dangerous than it actually is. On the screen, women often die after having an abortion, even though women in real life have virtually zero chance from dying from a legal procedure. Ultimately, pop culture helps further the myth that abortion is always dangerous, dramatic, and violent.

So Letts set out to offer a different narrative with her own story. Her video, which isn’t at all graphic, focuses on the top half of her body. It shows her doing some deep breathing and humming during the short procedure, as well as talking things over with the staff in the room. “I feel good. I’m done,” she says after it’s over.

About a month after her procedure, Letts tells the camera that she’s been reflecting about her experience. “I don’t feel like a bad person. I don’t feel sad,” she explains, pointing out that many of the women who come to her clinic assume that everyone feels guilty after having an abortion. “I knew that what I was going to do was right — it was right for me and for no one else.”

Letts’ personal story is obviously just one anecdote. But some of the things she expressed are fairly common among women who end a pregnancy. According to the research in the field, the overwhelming majority of the women who choose to have abortions say that it was the right decision for them. Abortions can certainly inspire a complicated mix of emotions, including negative emotions like grief and guilt. But the most common emotion women report is relief.

“I know there are women who feel great remorse. I have seen the tears. Grieving is an important part of a woman’s process, but what I really wanted to address in my video is guilt,” Letts writes. “Our society breeds this guilt. We inhale it from all directions. Even women who come to the clinic completely solid in their decision to have an abortion say they feel guilty for not feeling guilty… They pressure themselves to feel bad about it.”

Studies have found that those negative emotions typically stem from a deeply ingrained stigma surrounding abortion that teaches women it’s supposed to be secretive and shameful. Reproductive rights advocates are attempting to get rid of that stigma by encouraging more women to tell their stories. Storytelling efforts like the 1 in 3 Campaign — which draws its name from the fact that one in three U.S. women will have an abortion in her lifetime — intend to help Americans understand that this is an issue affecting a wide range of people across the country. Just like young women like Letts have important stories about how relatively painless and easy having a surgical abortion can be, older women have their own stories about what it was like to have an illegal and dangerous abortion before Roe v. Wade.

Abortion stigma certainly has an impact on the way that politicians legislate the procedure, so advocates hope that a greater number of women sharing their personal experiences could slowly help politicians make different choices about whether or not to restrict abortion. For instance, Letts’ story helps demonstrate the fact that abortion isn’t a barbaric procedure that needs additional regulation in order to make it safer.



http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/05/05/3434285/woman-filmed-abortion-story/

by on May. 5, 2014 at 3:51 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Queenme101
by Bronze Member on May. 5, 2014 at 3:52 PM
12 moms liked this
Thats one video I don't need nor want to see and I'm pro-choice.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
jjames1990
by Member on May. 5, 2014 at 3:56 PM
8 moms liked this
Makes me wonder how many unwanted children are born, have crap lives, because their mother was afraid to have an abortion. I know as a social worker I was told several times that a baby was born because they couldn't afford an abortion.
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on May. 5, 2014 at 3:58 PM
24 moms liked this

She is brave for doing this.

Many will dismiss it, dismiss her..........the usual rants throwing their own personal issues on to this woman.

When I had an abortion at age 17, I was scared.  Until the nurse and the doctor explained the simple procedure.  It was quick and it was painless.  Although many think it should last longer and leave you withering in pain for what you have done.

Afterwards, they were kind, caring and offered me support in many ways.  I knew my decision was the right one and I did not feel guilty about it.  Nor should I have had to worry about not feeling guilty.

The decision was mine and no one else's and not the business of anyone else.

Some women do feel guilty, for a variety of reasons. Society tells them they should, among others.  

She will, without doubt, be called names and such by those who are better than she is.  Something tells me she is strong enough to withstand the ignorance of others.

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on May. 5, 2014 at 4:10 PM
3 moms liked this

I don't think this video is going to help anyone.

 

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on May. 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting UpSheRises:

I don't think this video is going to help anyone.


It may not.

Unless one is in the actual position, pun not intended, it is hard to imagine.

lga1965
by on May. 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM
2 moms liked this
If a,woman,can,read, she can find information about abortions and know that it's not scary. I'm amazed that nobody looks for answers to these things. It's all there for us I knew all about how an abortion was done when I was a teen by reading about it. I don't know why there has to be a video.....
Every time a,rabid pro-lifer rants on about babies being cut up into pieces by evil abortionists, I wonder if they're lying or just plain stupid.
It's like doing an ordinary,D&C. But saying babies are dismembered is so much .more dramatic and manipulative . They're dishonest and trying to influence the young and naive who haven't tried to figure it out for themselves.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on May. 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM


Quoting lga1965: If a,woman,can,read, she can find information about abortions and know that it's not scary. I'm amazed that nobody looks for answers to these things. It's all there for us I knew all about how an abortion was done when I was a teen by reading about it. I don't know why there has to be a video..... Every time a,rabid pro-lifer rants on about babies being cut up into pieces by evil abortionists, I wonder if they're lying or just plain stupid. It's like doing an ordinary,D&C. But saying babies are dismembered is so much .more dramatic and manipulative . They're dishonest and trying to influence the young and naive who haven't tried to figure it out for themselves.

I wonder what any given woman will take away from the video this woman has decided to do.  Other than the pro lifers who will shred her as they claim she shredded that child. *sigh*

At 17 I knew enough to read about the many different options open to me.  Alas, I had only one, which was abortion.  I was lucky, I guess, in that the clinic I went to, they were honest and forthcoming and non judgmental yet made certain I was certain.  

Then, on the other side, for whatever reason, there are many women who have no clue and truly don't know how to find answers to their questions. That kind of naivety is freightening. They are the ones who can fall prey to the lies and distorted truths others believe.

Sister_Someone
by on May. 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM
5 moms liked this

I'm leaning towards the latter. 

Quoting lga1965: If a,woman,can,read, she can find information about abortions and know that it's not scary. I'm amazed that nobody looks for answers to these things. It's all there for us I knew all about how an abortion was done when I was a teen by reading about it. I don't know why there has to be a video..... Every time a,rabid pro-lifer rants on about babies being cut up into pieces by evil abortionists, I wonder if they're lying or just plain stupid. It's like doing an ordinary,D&C. But saying babies are dismembered is so much .more dramatic and manipulative . They're dishonest and trying to influence the young and naive who haven't tried to figure it out for themselves.


blackpoppy
by Member on May. 5, 2014 at 4:43 PM
ahh i'm pro choice and noo i think ill pass. if i want to see a procedure such as this i can look under you tube medical stuff
RandRMomma
by Maya on May. 5, 2014 at 7:31 PM
4 moms liked this
I don't have to watch this video to know that abortion isn't scary. I've been through it myself. This young woman is extremely brave. Sadly, her message will fall on deaf ears.
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