Emily Letts is a 25-year-old abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey who has sparked quite the controversy after she decided to document her own abortion and post the video on Facebook. The video has since been added to Youtube and Vimeo and went viral after winning the Abortion Care Network’s Stigma Busting video competition.
Here’s the video:
Emily’s description of the clip from Youtube:
This is my story. This is ONLY my story. I do not pretend that it is anything more or anything less. I do not speak for everyone on this sensitive subject and I respect everyone’s opinions as long as they do not force them onto others.
My dearest hope is that someone somewhere will see this and it will provide some guidance, strength, support, or whatever else they need in that moment. I want to tell that person that you are not alone. Having an abortion does not make you a bad person, a bad woman, a bad mother. Having an abortion does not make you guilty. It is simply one step in your reproductive story. You are not along. I am here for you. We are all here for you.
PLEASE PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO. Please help me spread it to all corners of the internet. 1 in 3 women will have or have had an abortion in their reproductive life. This video is for all of us.
Emily recently spoke with Cosmopolitan.com and shared more about her background and why she decided to record and share her procedure.
A former professional actress, Emily reveals that before she began working at the Women’s Center she was a “birth junkie” fascinated by all aspects of giving birth and growing life. “I trained as a doula and watched every documentary I could get my hands on,” she says. “During my training, I learned there are three kinds of doulas: birth doulas, adoption doulas, and abortion doulas. A light went off in my head.”
It was then that it occurred to Emily to volunteer at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center because “the idea of helping women through an abortion and supporting them and reassuring them that they are still wonderful and beautiful resonated deeply with me.” Emily was instead offered a job as an abortion counselor, and she accepted.
Emily herself had never had a child or and abortion and often found it difficult to relate to the women she counseled. “Patients at the clinic always ask me if I can relate to them — have I had an abortion? Do I have kids?” Emily says. “I was so used to saying, ‘I’ve never had an abortion but…'”
After working at the clinic for close to a year, Emily found out she was pregnant:
It was my first pregnancy, and, full disclosure, I hadn’t been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I’m a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control. Before this experience, hormonal birth control scared me because of complications I’d heard about from friends — gaining weight, depression, etc. So I tracked my ovulation cycle, and I didn’t have any long-term partners. I thought I was OK. But, you know, things happen. I wound up pregnant.
Emily knew right away that she was “not ready to take care of a child” and decided almost immediately to have an abortion. She called the clinic and scheduled the procedure, which was to happen when she was only two to three weeks pregnant.
Prior to her appointment it occurred to Emily, “Wait a minute, I have to use this.”
At first I was just going to write a blog. Then my administrator introduced me to a woman on YouTube who goes by Angie AntiTheist. She filmed herself having a medical abortion — after taking the pill RU486 — to show everyone that she was fine, that it’s not scary, it doesn’t hurt, and that she was confident in her decision to do it.
Here is the Angie AntiTheist video Emily is talking about:
Emily admits that “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 — and that there is such a thing as a positive abortion story. It’s my story.”
Emily talks about what the actual procedure was like:
I knew the cameras were in the room during the procedure, but I forgot about them almost immediately. I was focused on staying positive and feeling the love from everyone in the room. I am so lucky that I knew everyone involved, and I was so supported. I remember breathing and humming through it like I was giving birth. 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.
Emily reveals that after posting the video on her Facebook wall she received some hateful comments, but was surprised by the “tsunami” of positive responses. “People who I have never talked to started writing their own abortion stories,” she says.
So how does Emily feel when she watches the video? “Every time I watch the video, I love it,” she says. “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.” She concludes by saying:
I didn’t feel bad. I do feel a little irresponsible and embarrassed about not using birth control. I mean, Emily, wake up! What are you doing? I was going against the advice I give to patients all the time. So I had them put an IUD in after the abortion. I was able to learn and move forward. And I am grateful that I can share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt.
Be sure to check out the full article by Emily over at Cosmopolitan.com.