Monday, January 21, 2013

by Dana Carbo

My passion to be an advocate for the Pro-choice movement is kept strong because my family has been affected by the very thing that would have continued to happen if Roe vs. Wade had not gone in our favor. The same thing could also happen if abortion becomes outlawed in the future.
When my grandmother was two years old, she had an older brother, a younger brother, and her mother had discovered that she was expecting again. Her parents struggled to make ends meet as it was and it was even worse because they were living during the Great Depression. Her mother felt she had no other choice but to try to end her pregnancy since her husband and herself were already trying desperately to feed the family they already had. We are unsure whether or not she resorted to a back-alley abortion by some person she didn’t know, asked a trusted friend to assist her, or bravely tried to take on this feat by herself but an abortion was performed and she died soon afterwards. She was so desperate to try to make the right decision for her family that she risked and lost her own life.
She would not have lost her life and left her husband and three children to survive on their own had abortion been available, legal, and performed by a trained doctor. My grandmother was passed around between different family members, where she and her brothers endured abuse, while her father scrambled to find work. Once she was around ten years old, her father found a job in Baton Rouge and they all moved to the area. The children were placed in an orphanage in New Orleans while her father saved up enough money to be able to support his children.
Not only would many women lose their lives but many children would lose their mother and many men would lose their wives if abortion was completely outlawed. Abortion is a last resort not something that someone plans to do. It should always stay a viable option that could be considered by the families and women in a desperate situation.

Dana Carbo

Domestic/sexual abuse and abortion

As a teenager, I never thought about abortion. I knew vaguely what it entailed – early in a pregnancy, it’s a pill that the doctor gives you. Your body takes care of the rest or you have a procedure to remove the tissue. Later in a woman’s pregnancy, it got more difficult and scary, but I knew that the later procedure was almost entirely reserved for tragic cases that end very much wanted pregnancies. I started the pill at 17 in addition to the other methods and visited my gynecologist once a year. Teenage panics over the possibility of a pregnancy came and went, but nothing directed my mind toward abortion as a choice I’d have to make.
For several years, I had an on and off again relationship with a troubled guy. He had serious psychological problems, and he was violent. He routinely abused me in every way that he could.  To this day, I don’t think that he truly understands what he was doing to me was wrong. Regardless, I knew that if I ever became pregnant, I couldn’t bring his child into this world. He has a strong family history of mental health issues, some of which are genetically based. Even if I managed to escape him or hide the pregnancy from him, the child would be a daily reminder of the hell that I’d survived. I still wasn’t in a good enough place to care for myself, let alone another person who would wholly depend on me.
Some people are strong enough to raise the baby of a monster, to love it and parent it, and struggle silently or through therapy for years. I’m not, and I wasn’t then. I was a barely-functioning young adult, struggling to pay my bills and make myself go to my classes, which I was already failing from lack of discipline, motivation, and being exhausted from working two jobs.
There was a point in which I thought he had gotten me pregnant and that was the only moment in my life where abortion became a viable option. A wishy-washy person of no hard opinion on the subject of abortion became a desperate woman in search of relief from fear. I wanted to live a normal life. I was struggling enough with my own depression, relationship and family problems, and financial problems. Adding the baby of an abuser to the mix was not what I needed.
Because I don’t know the situations surrounding other women’s choices, I do not feel qualified to make their decisions for them. Legal medical procedures should be accessible and affordable for those in need. I know without a doubt that I would have resorted to suicide if I hadn’t been able to get an abortion. Instead, I was lucky, so lucky that I didn’t have to have an abortion or commit suicide. I broke it off with him, healed myself, got my life together, and I have a family of my own now. I want every person to have the opportunity to make these choices for themselves, free of judgment and other people’s interference.

Abortion: An Abrupt Change of Heart

Many people feel strongly about abortion-whether they are morally opposed to it, or strongly support the rights to it. I have really changed my views about abortion in the last few months. I was raised in a conservative Christian household, where abortion was morally opposed, even shunned. When I came to college, I had the opportunity to be a part of VOX:  Voices for Planned Parenthood. I was still learning about contraception and women’s rights when I joined, and being around so many strong women have really made me understand abortion and has completely changed how I felt about it. I had gone from being very against it, to viewing it as a personal choice that should be available to all women. Even though I had come to accept abortion as a woman’s rightful choice, I still held reservations about it in my personal life, viewing it as morally wrong for myself because of my religion. All of this changed on November 24, 2012.
 I had reconnected with an ex after a tough break up. I trusted him, and after a great night watching fireworks at the park, he invited me to his house to watch movies, because it was still early. My decision to go with him turned out to be a terrible idea. I was raped and abused, then left to walk home. I did not have money for Plan B, and had not been taking my birth control faithfully, so I was afraid, and felt like I had nowhere to turn.  If I was pregnant, I would have to drop out of college and move home. My mother would have made me keep the baby or even sign it over to her to care for. She has told me many times that she would disown me if I even considered an abortion, and that I always had the option of giving it to her or putting it up for adoption. I had a tough decision: Carrying a baby for nine months only to dump it on my parents or the government, or abort it. I was completely sure that I would not be able emotionally to have the baby and care for it myself. This was the first time that abortion became a reality, a reasonable choice for me.
Thankfully, I was checked out and was not pregnant. The birth control must have saved me from having to make that difficult choice. This scary event has made me realize that it is impossible to judge other women for wanting an abortion if you have never been in that position. I never would have considered abortion as an option for myself, but this incident changed my mind quickly. I felt that abortion was the only option, the only way for me to continue working towards my future with the support of my family. I am glad that I did not have to go through with the abortion, but being in such a vulnerable situation and having the option of abortion was a relief, to say the least. I now know how important it is to the women that are considering abortion to be able to legally and safely obtain one, and it only makes me more glad to be part of an organization that believes in giving complete information and resources to women in need of it, whether for STIs or unplanned pregnancy.

Unplanned pregnancy

When I was 19, I got pregnant.

My two best friends, who I called immediately after the positive home pregnancy test, supported whatever decision I made. I sobbed on the floor of my bathroom for half an hour, got dressed, and went to work a double shift at my crappy job.

The third person I told was a manager at work. I couldn’t keep it in and I needed a “real adult” to talk to. I didn’t expect anyone to bring up abortion unprompted, especially given that they didn’t know the complexity of the situation. As I stood in the office terrified, silent tears streaming down my face, munching on banana nut mini-muffins, and focusing on breathing in the silence after “I’m pregnant.” The first words out of my manager’s mouth were low and gentle. “You don’t have to be, but that's your decision. You know what's best for you, and if you're confused, there are people you can talk to about it. You can do this - either way.” 

I will never forget what it felt like in that moment – feeling freedom, understanding, true compassion from someone who only understood that I was very upset, had a very erratic life, and wasn’t remotely prepared for something like this. 

The lighthearted but sincere and intimate conversation helped me feel better (including a personal story about abortion), but I didn’t say anything about the circumstances. I was terrified more than I’d ever been in my life, and I was ashamed. The fifteen minutes I spent in that office were the only comfortable and honest moments I experienced in the following weeks.

 The following weeks, not a single person said those words to me or brought up that conversation again. People treated my unplanned pregnancy as something exciting and happy, but I didn't think of it that way. Over and over again people, with good intentions, cruelly told me how great it was, how happy they were for me, and no one understood how frustrated, confused, and guilty I felt.

I didn't have an abortion, and if I could go back and change things, I don't know what I'd do. I just know that from now on, if anyone in my life ever tells me that they're pregnant, I will listen and not push my opinion, even accidentally or indirectly. Listen to the women in your lives. Don't judge them. Don't tell them what's best for them or what they need to do. Direct them to an appropriate, judgment-free third party with unbiased counseling experience.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Welcome to Vox's blog! We will begin our blog by hosting a special online event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade court case. After this event, the blog will be updated with events on campus and in our area, helpful information, and other things that we haven't even yet begun to consider.

Our members' essays will be posted on January 22nd, so until then - safe sexing, everyone!

Some of our favorite and most informative websites:
Planned Parenthood
Greater than AIDS