What #ShoutYourAbortion Meant to One Black Woman of Faith

By Jada Jefferson

It’s about 10:15 on a Tuesday night. While the majority of my Facebook timeline is going in on how great the season finale of Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots was, I come across a post of one of my followers that read, “This #ShoutYourAbortion campaign is making me sick.” I, being the inquisitive self-proclaimed feminist that I am, decided to click on the hashtag to see what the fuss is about.

Long story short, after the House voted to cut funding that supported Planned Parenthood, three women decided to create a hashtag to encourage women to bravely discuss their experience with abortions. In doing so, Lindy West, Amelia Bonow and Kimberly Morrison hoped that they would help women drop the shame they may have been carrying, and unapologetically announce to the world a choice they made and stood by. First two things I instantly think about are: 1) this is a pretty heavy discussion and 2) of course these are three white feminist women. Now NO SHADE to my white sisters out there, but truth be told, the majority of Black women in America are still riding a high of the #BlackGirlMagic we witnessed at the Emmy’s.

While doing more research on the topic, I become immensely torn between two worlds. My truth is I am pro-choice all the way. Now wait, before some of you start pulling out the nails to crucify me, please hear me out. I wholeheartedly feel that is a woman’s choice and right to do whatever she feels to do with her own body. Who am I to judge someone’s reasonings or thought process behind aborting a child? I am not God; no one has to answer to me at the end of the day. But as a Christian, I understand how some may feel like it’s morally wrong. As I read some comments from the age old debate “#ProChoice vs #ProLife,” I honestly understand both sides.

Another truth: I’ve had an abortion. It happened while I was in college. AGAIN before you nail me to the cross hear me out. It was the summer of 2003 going into my sophomore year. Beyonce’s Dangerously In Love album had just dropped (that damn “Speechless” smh) and at this point I'm 18 years old on a full athletic basketball scholarship. Back then, I thought myself to be a pretty responsible young woman, so to answer your question is yes I was on birth control. I was on the pill. I honestly have had a pretty bad memory since I was a child. Defense mechanism: I was in foster care from a newborn to four years old and was molested as a child, so it was easier for me to block things out and not retain information that well. And with such a hectic schedule I wasn’t very good with taking the pill consistently ever day at the same time (thank God for the Nuva Ring now).

So back to story. I’m 18 on a full ride and the first time I pop up pregnant, I'm pregnant with TWINS. Being a twin myself, I was shocked. For years I believed the myth that twins usually skip a generation, so surely I would NEVER have twins. WRONG!!! So full picture: 18 years old, in college on a full athletic scholarship, pregnant with twins, by my ex who prior to me was a virgin.

Both pretty of us were good kids; of course we were terrified. What would my grandmother say, what would my coaches say. Could “they” take my scholarship? There was no way I was going to drop out of school, so who was going to help raise these babies? Surely my grandmother was too old, my father passed when I was four, and my mother passed when I was 14. My ex’s mother didn't like me very much, so that was out of the question! At 18 and 20, how could we provide for one child let alone two? So in my 18-year-old mind, my ONLY OPTION was to abort. I remember the day. Ironically, it was a Planned Parenthood. I was not put to sleep because I couldn't afford it. My ex held my hand the entire time as I groggily cried and cried out to God, my babies, and my ex how sorry I was.

I have had a relationship with God from a young age. My grandmother pretty much raised me in the church. I know right from wrong according to what the bible says. I understand that what I felt I had to do in some people’s eyes would be considered a sin. I understand to some that I should rot in hell and that there is no excuse for what I did. I also understand that there are women out there who would do anything to be able to conceive and have a child. However, at the time I did something I felt was my only option. Clearly you can see how conflicted I am on this subject. All I can do is pray to my God, and pray that He forgives me for ALL my sins.

Photo: Shutterstock

Newark, NJ, raised me. Fordham University educated me. Basketball showed me the world. Living provides me wisdom and everyday lessons. I'm just a girl in this world, being the change I wish to see.

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