My name is Claire* and I traveled to Colorado for my abortion. This is my story and why I’m asking Coloradans to vote NO on Proposition 115.
As COVID began affecting my community, I somehow contracted Hepatitis A. Symptoms include extreme bloating, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and missed periods. At the same time, my doctor’s office had shut down, and it was complete chaos trying to get blood tests and exams to get a diagnosis and treatment. I waited a long time for critical appointments and testing results, and over months of tracking my progress, somehow none of my healthcare providers caught that I was pregnant.
It was through an abdominal sonogram that they realized I was pregnant and by this time, I could no longer have an abortion in my home state. In my home state, abortion care is legal up to the point of potential viability and after, if a patient’s health or life is threatened. But these exceptions are hard to prove against legal restrictions because the health of any individual is subjective and cannot be bound to one-size-fits-all measures. Therefore, it is near impossible for patients like me to get care in-state. Proposition 115’s narrow life exception is, believe it or not, even more stringent.
It was shocking, scary, and frustrating to be turned away by my healthcare providers. So many people make assumptions about what resources people have and what type of person seeks abortion care later in pregnancy, but this happened to me, a mature adult who did everything she possibly could to prevent it. I feel it is crucial for people to understand this can happen to anyone.
My family would characterize themselves as extremely Pro-life, so I felt I could not share what was happening. I did tell my significant other, who was very supportive, and having just one person to provide that kindness and understanding made a huge difference. I made an appointment for my procedure in Colorado, and was then connected with the Brigid Alliance, a logistical support organization for people who require travel to one of the few remaining clinics in the country that provide abortion care to people in situations like mine. Not only did Brigid Alliance help to arrange and pay for my travel, the organization Cobalt provided meals for me while I was out of town, an extra expense I could not afford on top of the expensive care I was paying for out of pocket.
It was a big relief to have help with the travel arrangements and cost. It was even more meaningful to connect with a team of understanding and non-judgemental helpers who understand that every situation is unique. I would guess that for many people the strangers they meet along the way are their ONLY source of support through this process.
I think we all, myself included, should be aware that this does not happen to a certain kind of person under certain circumstances. It can happen to all kinds of people under all kinds of circumstances. And it’s not our fault. Fault implies that someone has made a mistake or needs to take responsibility for an accident or misfortune. Needing an abortion should not be considered someone’s fault. Withholding an abortion should not be used as a punishment. Situations vary and this care should be available to all of us.
However, anti-abortion extremists are trying to limit access to care in Colorado with a ballot initiative this November. Proposition 115 is a cruel measure that would deny women access to abortion care later in pregnancy, with no exceptions for personal circumstances, a lethal fetal diagnosis, situations of rape, or if the health of the woman is at risk.
We have the right to protect our bodies. We have the right to well-being, to truly thrive. It is our responsibility to protect access to compassionate care. To extend understanding to the many various situations in which an abortion is the best, and possibly the only option for someone’s situation. Colorado has a long history of extending this care and these rights, regardless of zip code or the amount of money in one’s bank account.
I ask you to please vote NO on Proposition 115. For people like me. For people not like me. For anyone and everyone who deserves affordable, accessible health care.
*A pseudonym was used to protect her privacy