With restrictive abortion bans or “heartbeat laws” sweeping the country, people are talking about abortion in ways they haven’t since the passage of Roe v. Wade, or at least since 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey supreme court decision.
It’s so easy to believe that we live in a bubble – that the decisions people make or are forced to make when ending a pregnancy could never touch us – but actress Busy Phillips changed all of that with one tweet:
1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Many people think they don't know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let's do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let's share it and start to end the shame. Use #youknowme and share your truth.
— Busy Philipps (@BusyPhilipps) May 15, 2019
Earlier in the week, she went on TV and said this:
“The statistic is one in four women will have an abortion before age 45. That statistic sometimes surprises people, and maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.’ Well, you know me. I had an abortion when I was 15 years old, and I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country. And I think that we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more.”
Other women agreed, and women have been sharing their stories about their abortions on #YouKnowMe.
Even though it’s actually no one’s business but theirs and their doctors, they’re doing the world a service by attempting to change the conversation and ease the stigma around abortion.
Below are 17 touching stories.
#17. Her life is on track.
Because of my abortion 16 years ago, I was able to address my mental health issues, finish college, graduate law school, have two beautiful children that I prioritize. I am now the (1st POC) ED of @naraltx where we fight for abortion rights in Texas. @AbortionStories #YouKnowMe
— Aimee (@TexanHispasian) May 15, 2019
#16. Nothing is 100%.
I was 21 and batshit terrified. All I felt was relief afterwards. And I was on the pill. Nothing is 100%. That's why we must have access to safe care. #YouKnowMe
— lindachavers (@dorismariahphd) May 15, 2019
#15. A lot goes into it.
#YouKnowMe. I feel like I have to provide a heart breaking reason why I had two abortions. I simply I didn’t want the responsibility or cost of raising a child alone. 💜💜 Love to all of us 4 telling our stories, thank u Busy for starting the conversation. pic.twitter.com/bHMf7fUcHN
— PopcornSanity (@PopcornSanity) May 15, 2019
#14. What’s best.
I was 18, uneducated about birth control, and in an abusive relationship. And then I was 23 (on the pill) and my now husband had just admitted he was an alcoholic. Compromising his sobriety wasn’t an option. Both were decisions I have zero regrets about. #youknowme
— Megan (@Megan_123455) May 15, 2019
#13. Where she is now.
#youknowme I was 16, about to sit my GCSE's, terrified and the father disappeared. Even with the judgement from my then virulently anti-abortion sister, I went ahead with it. I'm neither proud nor ashamed, but I wouldn't be where I am now without the procedure.
— OneTiredMum (@CraftyMummy2909) May 15, 2019
Fucking hard for me to put this out but, the condom was removed without my consent – I was drunk and asked far too late – and the morning after pill didn't work. #youknowme and it's time I didn't feel so ashamed of this
— 🌺Spring🌺 (@alltheseasons_) May 15, 2019
#11. Everyone has their own timeline.
#YouKnowMe I was 16 and the condom broke. There was never any question about what I was going to do and I have never regretted it. And I know at least 5 other women who also had one and went on to have kids later once they were ready, and are amazing moms.
— Brandi Dawson (@Brandii_Jade) May 15, 2019
#10. You are not alone.
#youknowme I had an abortion when I was in my 30s. My only regret is letting others make me feel ashamed of my choice. So today, I stand by other woman and girls who have that choice to make and say: Stay strong! You are not alone! 💚💚
— Rehnae Xanti (@RealRehnaeXanti) May 15, 2019
#9. For her life.
I was 18 & had just begun treatment for a bone tumor & I found out I was a few weeks pregnant. I’d already been given radiation treatment despite early pregnancy tests being negative prior to surgery 1. they were were wrong. Had an abortion, continue’d my tumor tx #youknowme
— GypsyNomad (@Moongirl7117) May 15, 2019
#8. Love is involved.
I was just a child. My parents made the hard decision. They loved me that much.
— Kathy Mattsson (@KathyMattsson) May 15, 2019
#7. Refusing tubal ligation shouldn’t be a thing.
#youknowme 28 years old, single, no maternal instinct, birth control pills failed. No shame. Doctors should have provided the tubal ligation I'd requested for 10 years. They'd refused because 'women change their minds'.
— Victoria (@forfsakes) May 15, 2019
#6. You can feel the pain in her words.
The baby was desperately wanted, but had chromosomal and physical defects. It was the hardest decision of our lives, but it was the right one. I think of him every day, especially when I look at my rainbow baby. #youknowme
— Jessie (@jesskupp) May 15, 2019
#5. Reasons are personal.
My daughter was 1 year old and I knew financially I couldn't afford another baby. It was the hardest, most painful and deeply personal decision I've made in my life. The government involving itself in such intensely private matters is ridiculous #youknowme
— Beyonce's Blackassness 👑✊🏽 (@melanatedgirl) May 15, 2019
#4. She could have died.
Catheter and clothes hangar.
I was 19, it was 1966.
I didn’t die.
But I could have.
— CharlaNOHATE #ImpeachTrump (@cmg1947) May 15, 2019
#3. Her choice.
Had an abortion at 15… my only regret is allowing people to judge me for MY choice. I hope in my lifetime we destigmatize abortion. #YouKnowMe
— Denise Spencer (@Denny2447) May 15, 2019
#2. How much worse would a baby have made it?
I live in Georgia. Grew up Catholic. Found out was pregnant 4 mnths in bc I was starving myself & in a toxic, abusive relationship, 21, poor. Begged my boss for a loan & too mortified to say why. Evrything was horrible, except I know it was the right choice for me. #YouKnowMe
— shovel gurl (@shovel_gurl) May 15, 2019
#1. Very few take it lightly.
I had a 1 year old and due to health issues, if I had the other it would have killed me! I refused to leave my child without a mother. I was 5.2 weeks when I had to make the decision but it broke my heart. We all have our reasons but its never taken lightly. #youknowme
— Sarah Winchester (@RoseRed77) May 15, 2019
Keep an open mind, friends. Chances are someone in your own circle is sharing, too.