Woman Films Her Own Abortion to Show Procedure Isn't Scary

This is what a surgical abortion looks like: safe and simple.

Photo Credit: screenshot

Society’s shaming of women who have abortions has made openly discussing the actual procedure into an unnecessary taboo. That’s why after Emily Letts decided to have an abortion, she wanted to film the process (video below).

“I wanted to show it wasn’t scary — and that there is such a thing as a positive abortion story,” Letts wrote in Cosmopolitan.

Letts, a 25-year-old New Jersey abortion counselor, knows firsthand all the misconceptions women who consider getting an abortion have, despite it being a very common, safe and simple procedure.

“We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like,” Letts wrote. “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.”

At first, Letts was going to write a blog about her abortion experience, but she decided to film it after she couldn’t find a video of a surgical abortion focused on a woman’s experience. While there is one YouTube video of a woman filming her medical abortion, Letts said she wanted to film the abortion procedure many women are scared of: surgical abortion in which women are still awake.

Letts' video is not graphic. She is seen, waist up in a hospital gown lying on a table during the procedure. She breathes steadily and hums throughout the abortion, which only takes a few minutes. Letts remains optimistic throughout her experience, and afterward said she knows she made the right personal decision for herself. She stated she is also happy about posting the video, despite some hateful responses.

“When I put it up on YouTube, pro-lifers put it on their newscasts. And so I got, ‘You’re a Nazi,’ ‘You deserve to die,’ ‘You killed your baby.’ Just so much blind hatred without knowing who I am or what I’m about,” Letts wrote. “Still, every time I watch the video, I love it. I love how positive it is. I think that there are just no positive abortion stories on video for everyone to see. But mine is.”

Pro-abortion advocates are increasingly using storytelling as a way to debunk the myths and break the taboo surrounding abortion. The 1 in 3 Campaign, which gets its name from the fact that 1 in 3 women in the United States gets an abortion, asks women to share their abortion stories in order to help end the stigma. Women on the site explain why they made the best decision for themselves they could — decisions they don’t regret. Letts also wanted to speak to this in her video.

“I know there are women who feel great remorse. I have seen the tears,” Letts wrote. “Grieving is an important part of a woman’s process, but what I really wanted to address in my video is guilt. 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. I didn’t feel bad.”

Watch the video below: 

Emily's Abortion Video from Emily Letts on Vimeo.

Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet. 

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