You Are Not Alone: Elder Love Notes to Young People.

June 23, 2023

On this somber anniversary, GRR! staff asked elder abortion storytellers to share notes of love, encouragement and solidarity with young people today as well as their former selves. Read them here and share with younger people in your life. Then, do one thing–anything–to smash abortion stigma today, in honor of your younger self and a future worth fighting for.

What is something loving, wise, or encouraging you would say to your younger self who sought abortion/s? 

  • I say to my younger self (frequently) about abortion being illegal when I had one: I know it was really isolating and scary. I understand now more than ever how hard it was then and how deeply it affected you. – Lisa
  • When you become pregnant in college, abortion is not legal, so you risk your life and self-induce. You could have approached your parents who would have helped you get a safe, illegal abortion. However, the positive outcome of this experience is that you spend your entire adult life working for legal abortion and gender equity because if women cannot decide when or if to have children, they cannot avail themselves of the education and economic opportunities available to those who cannot get pregnant. – Karen
  • I think my younger self knew about the pre-Roe abortion situation.  But I would tell myself to be stronger about resisting unprotected sex and try to learn more about ways to make love without making babies if I wasn’t ready for one. (I don’t think it would have helped as I couldn’t have asserted myself with an avid boyfriend at that age! Needed community support and more prior education!). – Beedy
  • Young Ellen, you are not only standing up for yourself and the full potential of your life, but you are standing with so many other women from all sectors of society, to realize their full potential too. – Ellen
  • When you obtained an illegal abortion in 1970, while living alone in SC, working part-time and paying your way through college, you were determined, resourceful, brave and resilient. You followed through on what you knew you needed to do for your own sake at the time and for your future, including the future family you hoped to have.  While it was scary, your determination and perseverance saw you through one of the most difficult things you have ever done. – Dev
  • My younger self could never have imagined Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. I considered it the single most traumatic experience since my illegal abortion in 1969–until the Dobbs  decision. I fear for my grands and grandchildren. Everyone needs to prioritize voting to get these clowns out of office! – Gail

What words of love, encouragement or solidarity do you want to share with young people working to expand abortion access and/or seeking abortions in this post-Dobbs moment?

  • You have the right to terminate a pregnancy for which you are not prepared.  Your life is worthy, and your baby-making ability does not limit your life choices and opportunities.  Abortion is about equal justice and together we will get there. – Monica
  • It is wise and ethical to decide when is the best time in your life to have a child. I am glad I had three abortions. My two children are the beneficiaries of my wisdom in not letting accidents determine my life. Sex is a precious and joyful gift. I have the right to enjoy my own body. – Nancy
  • It was 1971 and I learned I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed with shock and guilt and grief, yet I found my way to another state where I could get an abortion. I found peace and forgiveness in this mantra: “Not this way, not today. Blessed be.” – Claudette
  • Be kind to yourself. You are not alone. – Diane
  • Be confident. It is your body, your future, your decision. You are worth it, and you are not alone. Those of us, who walked over such barriers 50 years ago to claim this right, walk with you now. – Margaret
  • Dear Young People, I hope that you will find a caring adult to help you navigate through the difficulty of accessing abortion care.  It can be a parent, relative, or any other ‘grown up’.  It’s important that you do not feel alone and hopeless and fearful.  Or, look for a friend that you trust. There are a lot of individuals and groups that WANT to assist and make sure that you get the care that you need. You are perfect the way you are right now. And you are loved by those of us who went before you.  – Sarah
  • This is hard to do, but tune out all the shaming messages. The only credible authority is your own inner wisdom. Trust yourself, love yourself, and carry on with courage. – Karen
  • Young woman, know that what you are doing is not shameful but is your absolute right. And know that a huge circle of women are here to surround you with support and unconditional love. – Susan
  • You are not isolated and alone in this now. There is an ocean of people who support and care about you who are fighting for this with you. The struggle for control of our bodies will never end, and we must, have to, continue to work for justice. – Lisa
  • Friends, if we do not like the policies, we have to change the policymakers. I have such confidence in today’s younger generation that has already influenced election and referendum outcomes. Tell all of your friends to support our democracy by getting involved in elections supporting candidates who want laws that allow the freedom to have abortions. – Karen
  • Doing what you think is best is all that matters! You are the ONLY ONE who can understand what your decision means, and why it is the right decision. – Diane
  • Abortion rights are human rights. Women around the world know this, fight for this, and live this. – Kelly
  • Find trustworthy help and support. Reach out to older women and groups that still exist. Be wary of support that cares more about protecting a fetus than protecting a woman. – Beedy
  • Thank you thank you for fighting for abortion rights! Don’t be discouraged, this oppression of women is so old and women (and good men and people of all genders) have endured and supported each other. Learn the trail of women’s history and prehistoric matriarchy (when you have time!). It is inspiring and energizing (and also repressed, still). Know that every repression generates a resistance, a reformation, and you don’t know how it will happen or when. And rest, enjoy too, you will regain strength. – Beedy
  • I am so impressed with the complex thought and understanding of young people fighting for abortion rights. You truly see the broad implications of abortion rights as being tied up with all other women’s and human rights—a global view of those rights that unite us the world over. – Ellen

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