My Abortion Story and How I'm Using my Art to Support Women's Civil Liberties

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

I don’t feel bad that I’ve had an abortion;  I feel bad that women are being shamed for basic healthcare, and that their right to make choices based on their own individual set of circumstances is being dictated by old white men with little to no understanding of the female reproductive system.  I’ve quietly kept my abortion a secret from most of my acquaintances for years, under the notion that many people in my circle may have the wrong idea about why I chose to have an abortion.  I didn’t want people to see me as a murderer, a woman with no control over her own body, or one that would take a human life to better her own.  In the end, anyone who would judge someone’s circumstance without empathy should kindly keep their opinions to themselves.  No one can know what they ‘would’ do in a situation they have never had to face.

I was on birth control when I became pregnant; I had no idea why I was feeling so nauseous and sickly.  I was on a medication for my developing adrenal issues at the time and was made to sign paperwork stating that I would abort any unplanned pregnancy while on this medication due to the serious birth defects that would effect both mother and child.  Once I realized I was pregnant, I was of course scared but nevertheless knew that I would absolutely abort, given my physician’s clear warning.  The baby had no chance of a normal birth, and complications (possibly fatal) were expected if I forged ahead with this pregnancy.  I could see no other option; I would terminate the pregnancy and choose to live. 

My experience with abortion does not match the guilt and regret I see in society’s portrayal of how a woman feels about terminating a pregnancy.  I felt no such thing - I never once cried about it.  I didn’t even tell my parents until it was over.  The procedure took place three days before my wedding and that was extremely difficult.  It should have been a happy time of planning and excitement (which it still was) but something very heavy had just transpired, and even though I was not regretful, I was emotionally wrecked and struggling to let go of what had just happened.  

My husband was nothing but complete support and a very logical backbone who would mimic my own thoughts that this was the right thing to do.  There was no other option as far as we were both concerned and I am forever grateful for his love and unconditional support.  How much harder would it have been without him by my side?  I had a tiny glimpse into what it looks like with no husband, no support system, no options:  Upon entering the clinic, the collective room full of women waiting to begin their procedure stared at me - I was the only woman with a man in-tow.  Every last woman was on her own, sitting by herself, scared.  Many were crying, some already mourning, others with complete void in their eyes.  I felt for every single one of them, and this scene says so much about our societal attitude toward abortion:  That It’s a woman’s problem.  However, it takes two to start a pregnancy and it should take two to see it through in whatever capacity that may be.  

In the exam room, I was made to look at an ultrasound of my unborn baby, as if possibly I had misunderstood what it meant that I was 8 weeks pregnant.  I can still see the little form of my baby on that screen.  I’m happy that I didn’t cause this tiny being to suffer in pain for however long their short life would take to break our hearts.  I’m happy that I’m strong enough to withstand that obvious grab for emotion and I’m sorry for every single woman that it devastates.  I completed my procedure and picked myself up off the floor to celebrate my wedding.  I’m not sorry that I took my life into my own hands.  I’m not sorry because I know I did the right thing.  I would do it again today, given the same situation and I hope my story helps another woman in knowing she is not alone.  Your health is just as important as any unborn child.

In support of all women who face the same challenges that I have personally experienced, I have created illustrated tote bags to benefit The Yellowhammer Fund and Planned Parenthood to aid in protecting our civil liberties as women. Each bag is $35 (which includes shipping) and $17 of that will be split between the two organizations. My goal is to donate $1000 and with your help, I know we can reach this goal. It is no longer an option to ban women from taking care of their bodies and their futures. Please help me make a difference for women in states that do not have proper healthcare facilities for women by purchasing a tote bag or donating to our group fund.

Please email me with any bag inquiries:
or DM me on Instagram: @denacooperillustration

Progress:  We've raised $1000.81 in profits so far!  We reached our goal in 4 days!  Thank you to everyone who contributed and everyone who helped spread this story and fundraiser.  

by mlekoshi