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Lela, 24

I had my first child when I was only 15 years old, a ninth grader in junior high. I wasn't on birth control and knew nothing much of it at that time, due not only to my parents not talking about it but also the school I went to did not teach sex education as an informative class but more as an abstinence promoter. I finished high school barely by having to enroll in a home school program which allowed me to take care of my daughter and finish my classes. When I was 20 I had my second child, he was a planned pregnancy with my now partner. After my son was born I decided that I was going to go on full time birth control and started with the pills which I could barely afford to begin with. 2 months after he was born I found out, yet again I was pregnant. I couldn't fathom how this could happen simply because I was taking the pill correctly. I had just went back to work, working 12 hour shifts at a local hospital. I was worried about the future of my children and in that worry I decided to have an abortion. I knew little of access to this in my state, I later found out there was only 2 clinics that offered abortion in Arkansas. I called them and scheduled the appointment for my next off day and arranged for my sister, who had had an abortion there years before, to take me. When we arrived we were bombarded by Pro-lifers, they thought since I was dressed in my scrubs for work that I worked there and my sister was a patient. They called me a "baby-killer" and my sister "a murderer". They stood across the street from us screaming other profane things and begging us to turn back to "the right path" that we were going to "hell". I was clearly upset before I even got to the clinic but to have other women yelling at me and condemning my decision was horrific. The doctor I saw confirmed my pregnancy and asked if this was what I still wanted to do. I broke down in that moment and cried to her that I had done the right thing, was on Birth Control, already had two small children. She quickly calmed me down by telling me that she too had a similar experience as me, in terms of becoming pregnant on the pill, and had an abortion. She hugged me and told me, it was my CHOICE to decide what was best. Needless to say I had the abortion. I thought before I had went that I would be overcome by grief but it was the opposite. I was relieved. I no longer worried about the future of my children or mine. Today in Arkansas there is only 1 clinic in the center of the state. This clinic now is under fire from many pro-life campaigners that want to shut it down and block their services indefinitely. I am pro-choice because I believe every woman has the right to decide, the right to their health care, and a right to birth control. No one should tell a woman what is right and make her decisions for her. I plan to continue to fight in my state to keep my Planned Parenthood clinic open, and fight to allow more clinics to be opened up soon. So every woman can have a choice like I did.

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