To combat the stigma around abortion and its dangers, New Jersey abortion counselor Emily Letts decided to go pro-choice in the most unconventional, but powerful of ways.
She taped her own abortion.
In a Cosmopolitan.com essay, the 25-year-old explains her decision to terminate her pregnancy and why putting it on film would be helpful for women who fear the surgical procedure. She was inspired to document her own journey after searching online to find video of what the actual procedure looked like. When the search came up empty, she used her own 2-3 week pregnancy as a way of educating those considering the option.
“We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like,” she wrote. “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 1 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 misinformation is amazing, but think about it: They are still willing to sacrifice all these things because they can’t carry the child at this moment.”
In the non-graphic video, which shows Letts surrounded by supportive counselors at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center she also works at, the aspiring actress unapologetically states that she isn’t ready for kids and does not feel guilty about her decision.
“I know what I was gonna do was right, because it was right for me and no one else.”
Naturally, right-wing conservatives have demonized Letts, calling her a “witch from hell” and a “baby killer.”
The anti-abortion group New Jersey Right to Life said Tuesday “it’s truly sad that an aspiring actress would use this venue” to achieve notoriety.
“Ending a pregnancy through the violence of abortion is not compassionate and is never safe for the defenseless baby who is torn to bits in his or her mother’s womb,” said executive director Marie Tasy.
But Letts, understanding that as a woman she has control over her reproductive autonomy, was careful to state that it is a decision that one has to make on her own. Her video, she hopes, will inspire other women to not feel guilty about making the decision to have an abortion, if they choose.
“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,” Letts wrote. “I didn’t feel bad … and I am grateful that I can share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt.”
You can watch the video above.