Still Wading--Abortion in communities of color

For Me It Was Freedom

On this day, as I have so many other days, I sit and think of the choice I had, one that so many women before me did not. I had the right to keep trying for a better future, without the burden of another mouth to feed. My CHOICE to have an abortion gave me freedom. I was a single mother of two, and could only imagine what having another child would do to me. I was already worn thin, fighting against poverty, and worried to death about my children’s futures. Because of the abortion, my life, and the lives of my children are better off. Not once have I regretted my decision.

This is such a private matter but it seems if we are to change things we have to be open and talk about it. So here I am, speaking out so that another woman can keep her FREEDOM of CHOICE.

I Lived With the Early Madness….Before Roe v. Wade!!!

As someone who was there from the beginning….a woman’s right to choose (anything relating to her body, mind or lifestyle) should never be controlled by legislation or as in Roe v. Wade repealed!!!

WOMEN should always remain vigilant and NEVER be lulled into a false sense of security especially about this law.  For many years after Roe v. Wade was passed most women felt “safe”.

Being a young artist at the time my focus was always art, art, art and I really never kept up with current events (unless it had something to do with art)!

In the mid ‘60’s and going forward I knew several friends who had illegal abortions.  A few nearly died from these hacked back room procedures!!  It was common knowledge for those who could afford them (abortions) ….to just simply leave the country for a one or two week “vacation”.  This was the simple logistics about getting one if you had money…or not.

Choosing the procedure was hard enough. Then add the second guessing, crying your heart out and those long nights spent wondering if you were making the right decision.  Many times my friends were to ashamed to speak with there parents.  This made the whole procedure a nightmare.  It was very hard to watch them go through this kind of emotional pain.  One friend was just two months over the time to get an abortion legally in ‘73…..she nearly died.  Money and availability were the killers here.  I only knew one person who ever went on “vacation“!

Years went by, then one summer evening while I was working, I half heard the radio saying how this law was coming under fire again and was in serious jeopardy of being challenged….even watered down.  I was SHOCKED and saddened.  I thought…our society was going backwards!!!!  The gates could now be open again to more unnecessary deaths!  Politics, money and status were trying to change the “our” LAW.  I spoke with other women within the art community (in NYC) and we signed petitions and went to rallies to show support. Things finally calmed down somewhat.

Again in 1995,  Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) made headlines when she changed to a “pro-life” stance, because of her new Christian beliefs.  Again, I signed petitions to help keep the Roe v. Wade law STRONG.

Like the Holocaust……WE as STRONG WOMEN of FREE WILL SHOULD NEVER LET OUR NATION (or the young women of
today) FORGET the MOTHERS, DAUGHTERS, SISTERS and WIVES who were MAIMED, STERILIZED, OR DIED NEEDLESSLY at the hands of shady “doctors” or butchers in some dark back room!

POLITICS SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO ENTER INTO ANY WOMEN’S DECISION!!!

ROE v. WADE SHOULD STAND FOR ALL TIME AS ONE OF THE FOUNDING LAWS FOR WOMEN’S FREEDOM.   WITH EACH WORD GRANTING SOLE FREEDOM OVER HER BODY, MIND…….AND ALWAYS HER RIGHT OF CHOICE!!

VALERIE JAGIELLO

not unusual, but grateful

Mine is not an unusually traumatic story, at all, but I’m betting it’s a common one.  I was 25 and in a relationship with a hot-tempered man. The only good part of that relationship was the sex. As I did throughout my reproductive life, I had an IUD in place. Even so, I found myself pregnant about the time I had decided that this relationship was terminal. Having decided years earlier that I was no kind of candidate for motherhood, my only way out was through abortion. I took that way and have never regretted it. If RoevWade hadn’t been there, it’s possible I might not have been able to afford the abortion. After a recovery period, I was fitted with another IUD and never again became pregnant. I haven’t regretted that, either.

by Amaryllis Dejesus Moleski for Brown Boi Project

by Amaryllis Dejesus Moleski for Brown Boi Project

Despite an intimate connection, I never for once felt guilty about my decision for uprootion. I cannot tell you that I haven’t counted the months wondering how big my belly would be at this point if I had decided to continue being pregnant. I cannot tell you I don’t wonder or that I don’t still mourn. But I promised myself that I would never let myself feel guilty or shameful. It has been necessary for me to fight and continue to fight to self-determine my own healing process, including resisting both guilt and shame, and separating them from my grieving.