A trio of abortion rights groups launched a program Tuesday urging teen girls and young women who have had an abortion to speak up about their procedure and to reject the “culture of stigma” about it.
The Youth Testify program is sponsored by Advocates for Youth, the National Network of Abortion Funds, and the 1 in 3 Campaign. The website hopes to shift the narrative about abortion among teens and young women by spotlighting the stories of 12 women – ages 17-24 – who had an abortion.
“Young people need to have a voice in conversations surrounding bodies, reproductive health, and abortion access because young people, as much as any of us, are capable of making the decisions they feel are best for them,” the Youth Testify website says.
Significantly, the program rejects parental involvement in the decision.
“It is crucial that young people are supported in their ability to speak out against the dangers of parental involvement laws, and the impact the restrictions have on young people’s ability to access an abortion, particularly when combined with other financial and logistical barriers to abortion,” said Bracey Sherman, senior public affairs manager for the National Network of Abortion Funds.
One member of the program, 18-year-old Lucy of Dallas, said she wishes “all young people” knew that “abortion is our right” and that “no one should tell us how we should feel about our own bodies.”
“Like many young people, it was hard from me to get birth control under the age of 18, and we aren’t taught about sex since many schools teach abstinence-only sex-ed,” Lucy wrote. “I was surprised to find out how expensive abortions are, especially for young people who don’t have jobs, and how hard it was to get an abortion during school hours because of our strict attendance policies.”
The left-leaning Teen Vogue website posted a story about Youth Testify on its website, celebrating the idea. But not everyone on Teen Vogue’s Facebook page was in agreement.
“It is the murder of a Preborn child,” reader Jennifer Diamond wrote.
Another reader, Brittany Wallace, recounted how she was a single young woman who was pregnant and was going to have the baby, thanks to support from her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s mom. She called abortion “disgusting.”
“I could never go through [with] an abortion,” she wrote. “I'm happy I'm pregnant with my first child.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Artem Kovalev