'I am sick of being silenced': 14 women share their abortion stories

'I am sick of being silenced': 14 women share their abortion stories Mashable We're using cookies to improve your experience. Click Here to find out more. Mashable Mashable Mashable Australia Mashable France Mashable India Mashable UK Sign in Like Follow Follow Mashable see more  > Search Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop More Channels Videos Social Media Tech Business Entertainment World Lifestyle Watercooler Shop Company About Us Licensing & Reprints Archive Mashable Careers Contact Contact Us Submit News Advertise Advertise Legal Privacy Policy Terms of Use Cookie Policy Apps iPhone / iPad Android Resources Subscriptions Sites Mashable Shop Job Board Social Good Summit Lifestyle Like Follow Follow 'I am sick of being silenced': 14 women share their abortion stories 5.9k Shares Share Tweet Share What's This? Image: Lekcej/Getty By Rebecca Ruiz 2016-03-07 00:05:00 UTC UPDATE: March 15, 2016, 9:04 a.m. PDT This story was updated to include five new stories submitted by readers. We have stopped taking submissions from readers at this time. One in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime, according to research  from the Guttmacher Institute.  That means most Americans know someone who has ended a pregnancy, even if that person has never spoken about it personally.  SEE ALSO: Inside the abortion clinic where no one whispers, no one shames Until recently, the stigma surrounding abortion seemed unbreakable. Few women wanted to publicly discuss their experiences, fearing they'd be harassed or called murderers.  This stigma can prevent people from talking to their friends, families, co-workers and employers about their experiences, even if it affects their daily lives. It also keeps women from politically advocating for themselves and their families.  That is starting to change with movements like #ShoutYourAbortion and the 1 in 3 Campaign , which see emotional storytelling as a way to alleviate the shame that many women feel.  The strategy has become central for abortion rights advocates in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a challenge to controversial abortion regulations passed in Texas, in 2013. On Wednesday the Supreme Court began hearing arguments for the case, the biggest abortion rights battle in decades with national implications about the constitutionality of similar laws passed in others states.   Mashable  profiled Whole Woman's Health, the abortion provider at the center of the case, focusing on its holistic, anti-stigma approach. We invited readers to tell us in a poll if they'd judged themselves or others for having an abortion. The results may surprise: Nearly 80% of the 1,700 responses, as of this date, said they had not.  I dream of a world where no woman feels shamed or alone because of her decision to end her pregnancy. #FeministFriday #endstigma — Amy Hagstrom Miller (@AmyHM) March 4, 2016 We also asked readers to share their own stories about how abortion stigma has affected their lives. Their moving accounts show how women can be confident in their decisions and see abortion as a positive event in their lives, despite feeling years of shame because of others' judgment. We have published 14 of those anonymous, lightly edited accounts.  Image: Vicky leta / mashable “I was grateful and relieved.†I feel like I can't speak up sometimes, even with dialogue like this, because I don't have kids and don't want any. I was 19 and my birth control pills failed. While I knew I was not in a place where I could emotionally, financially, or physically care for a child, I also have known my entire life [that] I never, ever wanted to have a child at all. It took until I was 35 to even find a doctor willing to tie my tubes. I didn't feel any regret at all about having an abortion. If anything, I was grateful and relieved that there was a safe medical option. I get angry when I hear people say things like, "They could have the kid and give it up for adoption." It seems to dismiss the women like myself who, even as a kid, knew they don't ever want to even go through being pregnant. But I don't say anything because it feels like you're supposed to regret it, even if it was the best choice, so people can at least say, "Well, at least she's sorry." I'm not sorry at all. —Anonymous Image: Vicky leta / mashable “I don't tell a soul.†I feel judged every day when I read comments online and hear my students talk about how awful abortion is, or when my son comes home with his Catholic school "pro-life" poster. How I deal with the stigma is to simply remain silent. I don't tell a soul and feel that shame because of what a horrific person I must be to those people. Selfish, murderer — all of the wonderful adjectives you see constantly. No thank you. I would prefer everyone continue to view me as the typical middle-class soccer mom, not the devil incarnate who is going to hell. —Anonymous "I am sick of being silenced."  I h