A 25-year-old abortion counsellor has released footage of her own procedure being carried out to show women “there is such a thing as a positive abortion story.”
Emily Letts had her abortion at three weeks at the Cherry Hill Women’s Centre in New Jersey, where she works.
The video posted to YouTube sees Letts talk through her decision, explaining: “I’m not ready to have children.
“I’m lucky because I feel completely comfortable with the decision. I am supported by everyone.”
It also features her humming and smiling through the three-minute procedure, informing her doctors: “I got a lot of support. I’m a really lucky girl.”
Once its over, she exclaims: “I’m done. Yay!”
In the final frames of the film, Letts addresses the camera directly to say: “I don’t feel like a bad person. I don’t feel sad. I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby.
“I can make a life. I knew what I was going to do was right because it was right for me and no one else. I just wanna share my story.”
Letts made her film for the Abortion Care Network’s Stigma Busting video competition and won.
Writing in Cosmopolitan she reveals why she decided to do it:
“I searched the Internet, and I couldn’t find a video of an actual surgical procedure in the clinic that focused on the woman’s experience. We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like. 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 these things because they know that they can’t carry the child at this moment.”
She also addresses the feelings of guilt which can often surround the decision to abort a child.
“I know there are women who feel great remorse. I have seen the tears. Grieving is an important part of a woman’s process, but what I really wanted to address in my video is guilt," she writes.
“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. Even though they know 110 percent that this is the best decision for them, they pressure themselves to feel bad about it.”
Explaining why she opted for a surgical procedure instead of a medical abortion (which is a pill), she writes: “I could have taken the pill, but I wanted to do the one that women were most afraid of. I wanted to show it wasn’t scary.”
“I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be. It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I'd grab.”
Letts’s partner was not involved in her decision and she opted to have an IUD inserted after the procedure. She also claims the majority of responses to her film have been "breathtakingly supportive."