I could pay for my abortion, but many don’t have this luxury.

by NYAAF volunteer Aiyana.

I was twenty years old last summer when I found out I was pregnant. About to enter my senior year of college with no interest in having a child, in a relationship with someone who most certainly wasn’t ready to be a parent and who had very little money, the choice was obvious. Though I have my fair share of miserable pregnancy stories (namely, ones of vomiting), when I think about last summer, I am mostly struck by how fortunate I was in my experiences.

One of my closest friends had become pregnant, and had an abortion, a few months prior. Thanks to her, I was able to find an amazing private practice close to where I lived. When I first called them, I was stunned by how patient, un-biased, and helpful the employees were in explaining my options and listening to my story. They gave me a discount on the procedure because I was a full-time student. My partner at the time was even allowed to be in the room with me when I had the abortion. Because I come from a financially stable family and worked the entire time I was in school, I was able to pay for the procedure out of my own pocket without any assistance, and without putting myself in a precarious position. If I hadn’t had enough money, I know my family would have helped me out. Even better, I have insurance, and the company fully reimbursed me for the abortion.

But what if things had been different? After all, my partner did not and could not contribute any money at all. I could very easily have been born to anti-choice parents, or to parents who couldn’t have helped me if I needed extra money. I could have been uninsured, or my insurance company could have not covered abortion. I could have not had enough money to pay for the procedure myself – a position that SO many women are in. A week ago, I found out a friend of mine was pregnant and uninsured, and the man who got her pregnant doesn’t have enough money to help pay for the abortion right now. I’m referring her to the New York Abortion Access Fund.

Though I made the right decision for myself quickly and with no regrets, that doesn’t lessen the blow of what I’ve been through. And it would have been infinitely more stressful if I didn’t have enough money. No woman should be prevented from making her own choices about her body and about parenthood, but unfortunately, income DOES prevent some women from being able to make the decision that they feel is best. Which is why an organization like the New York Abortion Access Fund is so important – had just one or two things in my life been different, there’s a good chance I would have had to turn to NYAAF for some help. Being one step away from that put into perspective just how valuable their work is , which is why I’m sharing this, and why I’m going to start doing volunteer work for them.

Every woman deserves full access to healthcare, and to be in control over her own life. We need to support the groups like NYAAF that help make that a reality.

Aiyana lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. You can contact her at toomanyvowels@gmail.com.