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Why We Should Be Thanking Emily Letts for Filming Her Own Abortion

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In 2014 speaking about abortion is still a taboo, but with one in three women choosing to have an abortion in their lifetime, isn't it about time we started talking honestly about the topic?

When Emily Letts learned that she was pregnant, she made the same decision that thousands of women make each day - she chose to get an abortion.

But unlike most women, Emily, who works as an abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women's Center in New Jersey, decided to film the surgical abortion procedure and post the video online.

The video - and a subsequent interview Emily gave with Cosmopolitan magazine - has created an internet frenzy with many people criticising not only Emily's decision to film the procedure, but the decision to have an abortion in the first place (just check out the comments).

Emily did not film her abortion as some sadistic, misguided party trick - she made the difficult decision to film herself at the clinic in order to educate women about what abortion actually is.

If I'm being honest, before watching the video I had absolutely no idea what abortion really involved. I had a vague idea that there were a couple of types of abortion- the pill taking type and the absolutely horrifying, bloody, painful, surgical type.

The film shows Emily from waist up in a hospital gown talking and humming through her surgical abortion. No screaming. No crying.

Emily's video has shown me that I was seriously wrong.

Education about abortion is shocking. In school, I was shown an abortion video displaying weapon-like instruments and some kind of 'baby destroying' vacuum machine. Instead of empathetic nurses I was shown Frankenstein's chamber - the graphic images have stayed with me to adulthood.

Turns out, it wasn't just my school showing this dead dodgy film, assistant editor for HuffPost UK Lifestyle Brogan Driscoll was shown the exact same footage.

It's no wonder then, that Emily says women come to her workplace clinic terrified about what to expect.

"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," Emily said in her Cosmo interview.

To clarify, I am not writing this post to downplay the significance of abortion - for me, terminating a pregnancy is a big deal. But because the decision to have an abortion is a serious one, shouldn't it also be an informed one?

Since posting the video, Emily has been sworn at, received death threats and been told she should never have children.

But what is it that people are so worried about? Are they concerned that by watching the video, women will think 'Awesome! What a fun trend! Where can I get one too?'.

To imply that this 'encourages' women is insulting to our intelligence. Abortion is not a handbag - we all know this.

The fact that so many people have kicked off about the video is evidence that there is still huge social stigma around the issue, and that alone is worthy of debate.

Open discussion on abortion (the emotions experienced and the procedures themselves) allows women to make the right choice for them.

What may be right for me may not be right for you, and that's OK - it's a woman's right to choose what she does or does not do with her body.

Finding out you have an unwanted pregnancy and considering abortion must be traumatic enough, wouldn't it be nice if women were able to be honest about their situation, and seek advice from those around them without fear of social exclusion?

Instead of criticising Emily, I'd like to thank her - her video and recent interview have given me more information about abortion than sex ed classes ever did.

Knowledge is power- let's get talking (honestly) about abortion.

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Emily's video diary and footage of her abortion procedure