Help us grow this digital garden of kind messages from around the world. Read the messages below. Then, click the image “Be Kind To Others” or the green button that says “Spread Some Love.” Submit an encouraging comment to show solidarity and support for people who are enduring the brutality of abortion stigma. We will post your message here within 24 hours.
Your choices, your happiness ! Society is too big to listen to! Many have lived unhappy and unfulfilled lives by listening to society. Your world, your choices. Be happy!
~ Joshua Akharigeya from Accra, Ghana
I have no problem with it. A woman should have a right to discontinue a pregnancy that comes unexpectedly. If she knows it's not time yet, if she cant take care of it, and if she doesn't want it.
~ Denis from Kampala, Uganda
Thank you for sharing your story with me. I'm here any time you want to talk about your abortions or if you want to share more of your story with me. I love you.
~ Kristen from Cape Town, South Africa
Ini ndinofunga kuti tisati tashora kana kutsoropodza madzimai anobvisa pamuviri kaviri kana kupfuura, tinofanira kutanga tanzwisisa nyaya yavo. Kudzikisirana hakuna zvakunobatsira asi hurukuro inovaka maererano nezvekuronga mhuri ne zveutano hwavo ndizvo zvakanyanyisa kukosha.
I think before we pass judgement on women who have had more than one abortion, we need to understand their story. Stigmatizing does not help the situation but constructive dialogue on family planning choices and their reproductive health is most critical.
~ Anonymous from Harare, Zimbabwe
Naelewa mbona ilikulazimu kuondoa mimba hii, wajua kilicho na manufaa kwako, najua haikuwa uamuzi rahisi, usiwe na hofu ni kuhusu wewe, maisha yako, mwili wako na uhuru wako wakuchagua lililo nzuri kwako. Unapendwa.
I understand why you had to make these hard decisions, terminating these pregnancies wasn't easy for you, but you know what is good for you, don't worry because it’s about you, your life, your body, and your freedom to choose what is good for you. You are loved.
~Immaculate from Malaba, Kenya
People who have had multiple abortions are no different from anyone who has had more than one unintended pregnancy irrespective of the outcome. And medically, there is nothing wrong about it.
~ Nickson from Borno State, Nigeria
Aborsi aman adalah pilihan yang harus ada untuk perempuan. Di negara dengan budaya yang sangat merugikan perempuan seperti Indonesia, perempuan sangat rentan mengalami kehamilan tidak diinginkan lebih dari sekali. Mengakses aborsi aman lebih dari sekali tidak akan membuatmu menjadi tidak bermoral. Aborsi aman bukan soal moral. Aborsi aman itu persoalan hak akan kesehatan reproduksi; hak untuk memiliki atau tidak memiliki anak, hal untuk melanjutkan atau tidak melanjutkan kehamilan. Kita, perempuan memiliki hak penuh atas tubuh kita. Ya, kita, perempuan, dan kita berdaya!
Safe abortion is a must-have choice for women. In a country with a culture that is very detrimental to women like Indonesia, women are very vulnerable to experiencing unwanted pregnancies more than once. Accessing a safe abortion more than once will not make you immoral. Safe abortion is not a moral matter. Safe abortion is a matter of the right to reproductive health; the right to have or not have children, things to continue or not continue the pregnancy. We, women have full rights to our bodies. Yes, we, women, and we are empowered!
~ Tirza Ong from Indonesia
Every woman has the right to be respected. Value her voice . . . value her choice.
~ Md. Mamunur Rashid from Dhaka, Bangladesh
It's okay to have more than one abortion. Those who judge you they will not take your responsibility nor pay your bills. It's your choice and your life. There is no shame in deciding for yourselves. Your decision is valuable and important. <3 from Bangladesh!
~ Anika Habib from Dhaka, Bangladesh
There is no shame. There is no judgment.
There is no guilt. Our truth is ours.
~Rathi from New Delhi, India
Czy jest coś bardziej stygmatyzowanego niż doświadczenie aborcji? Doświadczenie więcej niż jednej aborcji zdecydowanie należy do tych tematów. Niektóre rzeczy zdarzają się w życiu więcej niż jeden raz — poród, ślub, rozwód, rozstanie, utrata pracy, nowa praca, poronienie, kolejny związek i wiele wiele innych — i TO JEST OK. Każde z tych doświadczeń jest Twoje, w każdym z nich tylko Ty wiesz co jest jest dla Ciebie dobre.
Is there anything more stigmatized than the experience of abortion? The experience of more than one abortion definitely belongs to these topics. Some things happen in life more than once — childbirth, marriage, divorce, parting, job loss, new work, miscarriage, another relationship and many more— and THIS IS OK. Each of these experiences is yours, in each of them only you know what is good for you.
~ Aborcyjny Dream Team in Poland
As a family doctor and abortion rights activist in Ireland, I have met many women of all ages who have had more than one abortion. When I'm asked, but why did they have another abortion? My answer is always 'because they needed to.'
My biggest concern is the stigma and shaming that a person can be subject to if they need more than one abortion. It is not okay and we must work to prevent it.
As an abortion provider in Ireland (yes it has been happening since January this year) I will soon meet a person who I will provide a second abortion to. I will note that clinical information like any other and move on to provide her with the same person-centered care she should always receive: care that is not dependent on how many abortions she has had or will have over her reproductive lifetime.
In solidarity, Mary from Cork, Ireland
My wish for you is that those of us in the progressive movement do the work to unlearn the stigma around multiple abortions. We must not let antichoice language creep into our thoughts and out of our mouths. We must not stigmatise those we should be embracing. Your reasons are your own, your fertility should not be punished, and your decisions should never be shamed. Your strength and commitment to doing right by your body astounds me, and I am so proud this space exists to congratulate you on continuing to make the right decisions for you. Sending massive hugs from Ireland <3
~ Michali Hyams from Dublin, Ireland
Das würde Marietta aus Berlin Ihnen sagen, wenn Sie ihr sagten, Sie hätten mehr als eine Abtreibung benötigt:
Hey Du. Danke, dass Du das mit mir teilst. Ich finde, es ist Deine Entscheidung, niemand kann Dir reinreden. Eine Abtreibung ist nicht falsch oder unmoralisch, es ist kein Grund, Dich zu schämen. Wie siehst Du das? Es würde mich freuen, Dich zu begleiten und von und mit Dir zu lernen. Ich weiß, es ist echt keine einfache Situation, aber ich bin da für Dich. Lass mich wissen, ob ich irgendwie helfen kann. Wenn Du einfach reden willst, gern, aber wenn ich Dir Rat geben soll, Ressourcen raussuchen, Dich begleiten soll, oder was auch immer, das tue ich auch gern.
This is what Marietta of Berlin, Germany, would say to you if you told her you had needed more than one abortion:
Hey, thank you for sharing with me! From my perspective, it's your choice, no one should interfere. Abortion isn't immoral or wrong. No need to be ashamed! What do you think? How do you feel?I'm happy to accompany you through this learn from and with you. I know it's not easy but I support you no matter what. Please let me know what you need. If you just wanna speak, that's totally ok, if you want me to give advice, guide you to resources, come with you, I'm happy to.
~Marietta from Berlin, Germany
Every pregnancy brings with it three options: parenting, adoption or abortion. Only one person has the knowledge to determine the correct path: the pregnant person. I trust women and pregnant people to make the right decision for them in this case, no matter how many times they are faced with it.
~ Mara Clarke from London, United Kingdom
Eres muy fuerte y valiente para poder llevar este proceso. Si estas leyendo esto no te sientas sola y recuerda que con tu experiencia puedes ayudar a otras mujeres en todo el mundo.
Llegaste aquí por diferentes motivos y todos son completamente válidos por que la única persona que puede hablar y decidir sobre ti eres tú <3
Lucha contra todo por que no has hecho nada malo y ayudemonos entre nosotras a seguir luchando.
You're very strong and brave to bring this process. If you're reading this do not feel alone and remember that your experience can help other women around the world.
You came here for different reasons and all are completely valid because the only person who can speak and decide about you is you <3
Fight against everything you've done nothing wrong and let us help keep fighting among ourselves.
~ Adriana Buiza from Lima, Perú
Tantos como la mujer decida que son necesarios.
As many as a woman decides that she needs.
~ María Luisa from Mexico City, México
Las mujeres tenemos derecho a decidir, esa es la premisa central. Además, pienso que la experiencia del aborto, debe ser acompañada, debe brindar información, proveer metodos anticonceptivos. Sin embargo, me parece que existe estigmas relacionados con tener más de un aborto, pienso que lo fundamental es ponernos en los zapatos de las mujeres, no juzgar y brindar apoyo social. Las mujeres sabemos porque tomamos nuestras decisiones.
Women have the right to decide, that's the central premise. In addition, I think that the experience of abortion, should be accompanied, should provide information, provide contraception. However, it seems that there is stigma associated with having more than one abortion, I think the key is to put ourselves in the shoes of women, not judge and provide social support. Women know this because we make our decisions.
~ Sara from El Salvador
Diría que es tan fácil tener más de un embarazo no deseado en la vida…. Tener que luchar durante 30- 35 años de la vida con la posibilidad de quedar embarazada y tener que enfrentar las barreras asociadas al acceso a la anticoncepción genera como consecuencia normal que las mujeres tengan más de un aborto en la vida. Quienes estamos interesadas en los derechos y la salud de las mujeres debemos tener esto presente y apoyarlas para que la experiencia de aborto sea lo menos traumática posible, de manera que uno, dos, tres o más abortos sean vividos como experiencias posibles de incluir en la narrativa de vida de las mujeres sin culpa ni dolor.
I would say that it´s so easy to have more than one unwanted pregnancy in life … having to struggle during 30- 35 years in life with the possibility of getting pregnant and having to face all the barriers associated with access to contraception has as a normal consequence that women may have more than one abortion in life. All of us interested in women´s rights and health need to realize this and support women to make the abortion experience the least traumatic as possible, so one, two, three or more abortions are lived as experiences possible to include in their life narrative, without guilt or grief.
~Christina from Bogotá, Colombia
I have only had one abortion, back in the 1960's before it was legal. Medically it went well and I have never had any regrets, but it seemed like a shameful thing and it was a long time before I felt OK talking about it. Abortion is complicated and like sex, which is a prerequisite, it can be wonderful or awful, wanted or unwanted. I now volunteer on an abortion fund hotline so I've heard lots of stories, and sometimes people assume they need to justify their decision. But whatever the circumstances and whatever the reason and regardless of whether it's once or several times, I think abortion is always up to the pregnant person and it's always OK. In fact I think it's a responsible parenting decision. So don't let the stigmatizers shame you!
~ Wendy Robinson from Northampton, Massachusetts, US
You are trusted. You are loved.
~ Megan Donovan from Brunswick, Maryland, US
Over a lifetime, it's common for a woman to experience several unwanted pregnancies. Let's not forget that without using any birth control, most women would get pregnant a dozen or more times over their lives. And of course, access to effective birth control is often lacking, or its use inconsistent because we're all human. So if you have had more than one abortion, you are perfectly normal, as well as brave and strong. I salute you for taking control of your life and protecting your future and your family!
~ Joyce Arthur from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
My opinion of abortion and the people who need them changed drastically when a friend was brave enough to share her story with me. I'm eternally grateful for what that friend shared, and for getting a kick-in-the-ass reminder that the world is a better place when you choose love and compassion over judgment and shame. Whether it is 1 abortion or 100 abortions, you know what is best for you. Seek out the people who love and support you in the life you've created for yourself. There is no shame in knowing what is best for yourself.
~ Mallory, from Somerville, Massachusetts, US
You're doing what you know is best for you and your loved ones. Nobody can ever take that away from you <3
~ Sarah Smith, Maryland, US
Trust yourself. Only you know what is best for you. Acting on that is right and good. Feel supported and affirmed in making your own choices. We trust you!
~ Karen Enns from Hood River, Oregon, US
When I was younger I believed people should only have one abortion. I now realize that's immature and short-sighted thinking. Beyond that, it's not a bit compassionate. The way a person lives their life is their right, and I support that unequivocally. Have multiple abortions; have none; have one. I am here to love you no mater what.
~ Jennifer Ferris from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, US
Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for supporting the women who need it most. I also worked in reproductive health, and I found that unwanted pregnancy often happened at the worst possible time for women — ie after losing a job, a mate, or some other crisis. The last thing women need in these situations is shame. That’s why your words are so important!
~ A comment shared on our Instagram, United States
It's okay to not know how you should feel. It's okay if you're sad. It's okay if you're relieved. it's okay if you're scared. It's okay to question everything. It gets better. It’s okay if you have one because you don’t want to be pregnant. It’s okay to want a child, but not be in a good position. It’s okay to do it because you're scared of being alone. It’s okay to have regrets. It’s okay. It’s all okay <3
~Lauren Lagoutte from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
I trust you to make the best decision for yourself!
~Cathy from Rockville, Maryland, US
You are the expert of your body and your life. You made the right choice for you. Always remember that abortion is healthcare, how many you have does not change that fact.
~ Emma from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
There are so many forces in the world to bring us down. Don’t add to it and bring yourself down with negative feelings; be gentle and loving toward yourself. You are the expert of your body and your life. You made the right choice for you. Always remember that abortion is healthcare. How many you have does not change that fact. And contrary to public opinion, birth control is not perfect (nor are we!) If you get pregnant on birth control, it’s not your fault.
~ Peg from Binghamton, New York, US
I feel like it’s not my business to feel anything about the number of abortions anyone has. I just want everyone to continue to have access to safe and legal abortion whenever they want/need one.
~ Jenna from Grove City, Ohio, US
I was reading through a study based on the 2014 demographic data of those who have had more than 1 abortion — which came to 45% of those who had at least one abortion. I found this interesting: The majority of abortion patients were using contraception at the time of conception, including those obtaining second- and higher-order abortions. I interpret this as those who unintentionally got pregnant after an abortion were more likely to actively try to prevent pregnancy during that time — but contraception failed. So it’s important not to automatically infer that a second abortion is simply due to carelessness.
~ Mike Scheinberg from Alexandria, Virginia, US
Here’s a quote from Leslie J. Reagan's book, When Abortion Was a Crime: "The importance of abortion to por women in the tenements, from Jews to Italian Catholics, can be seen in Kate Simon's memoirs of growing up in a post-World War I immigrant neighborhood in the Bronx. As an adult, Simon learned of her mother's thirteen abortions, which, her mother informed her, was "by no means the neighborhood record.""
She goes on to say that many women had more than 10 abortions and some more than 20. It was the only way of controlling family size if the husband was not cooperative. Women eventually do what they have to do to protect their families and themselves. Actually abortion was common in all classes of women, even after it was criminalized after 1870.
P.S. I had one abortion
~ Margaret from Chicago, Illinois, US
Knowing the stress that pregnancy can cause folks, I wonder if people who have multiple abortions have the means to avoid pregnancy. And it shocks me that people can manage to afford it. One of my biggest fears around getting pregnant is financial. And I think that immediate reaction comes from a place of judgement with having that stigma against multiple abortions be very present culturally even among many “pro-choice” people. It’s like pro-choice folks often agree that you’re allowed to “make a mistake” or be “careless” once. So you can have one abortion that will be supported. After that you should learn your lesson. That’s bullshit, but I think it’s something I internalized and work to confront. What I BELIEVE is different and is based more on what I know and not stigma and shame stemming from an oppressive society. I believe that folks can have as many abortions as they choose. I hope that someone has the means to prevent pregnancy, and would strongly prefer that people were supported more in pregnancy prevention (no cost birth control options, respectful partners who shoulder the burden of prevention equally, etc.). I always support anyone having any abortion when that’s the pregnant person’s choice, no matter the larger context (say birth control did become free and readily accessible and sex ed was taught well to all people) or the individual context (I.e. no matter what the sexual encounter was like).
~ Frances from Louisville, Kentucky, US
I do counseling at an abortion clinic and I see return patients quite often. And it kills me that many of them feel so ashamed they 'had to come back'. You know, it is very common for birth control not to work. And sometimes that's random. So, as randomness goes, it can happen to you multiple times and none to me. I also see patients with health issues that can't take any form of birth control. I see patients that have had to terminate more than one wanted pregnancy due to problems with the fetus. And sure, I see patients that just don't take any precautions and get pregnant and don't want to have children. And they keep coming to our clinic. And that's OK. Because there is nothing wrong with abortion, so it doesn't matter why you have them. And it's stigma from our 'allies' that continues to set us behind. Even many of those who agree abortion should be legal only want you to have one 'in certain circumstances'. Well, screw that. If you catch the flu every year and you refuse to get the vaccine, no doctor will deny you treatment. The difference is that we still see abortion as outside of the healthcare system.
~ Jimena Lopez from Peoria, Illinois, US
It's their business, not ours — unless they choose to share it with us. And then if they do, I generally prefer not to be a judgmental prig, especially since I have had more than one abortion myself.
Tamara Edwards from Birmingham, Alabama, US
I remember having a woman that was on her 6th abortion. We treated her the same, and minded our own business. She was super sweet.
Sarah McDaniel from Newport News, Virginia, US
May you be safe, in mind, body, and heart.
May you know peace and wisdom in your choices.
May you accept yourself deeply, knowing you are not alone.
May you witness joy and kindness amid the fear and stigma.
~Jacqui Morton from Natick, Massachusetts, US
People should have access to the safe and respectful healthcare that they need. Some people have multiple miscarriages, some have multiple births, some have multiple fertility treatments and some have multiple abortions. They all deserve support.
~Susan Yanow from Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
I’ve heard women who have had one abortion shaming women who have had more than one. That's just plain stupid and hypocritical. I have only had one because I've only needed one. If I ever need a second, I'll have a second.
~ Leah from New Orleans, Louisiana, US
You are stronger and more powerful than you know for taking control or your reproductive life. No one has the right to tell you that your reproductive health choices are wrong. Sending love and understanding to everyone who has had more than one abortion.
~ Dev from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
I have never had an abortion but I would in a second were I to get pregnant. Have as many as you need to have. People don't have to stop not wanting children after one terminated pregnancy.
~ LJ S from Cincinnati, Ohio, US
We take risks all the time—driving too fast, eating unhealthy food, not getting medical check-ups. Having unprotected sex is no different, but sometimes there are consequences.
~ Peg from Binghamton, New York, US
Not my business. You do you 😘. I’ve had one abortion and if I were pregnant again I’d be a twofer. It’s~ totally up to the person and what they need.
~ Shana from Raleigh, North Carolina, US
How many procedures a person has is pretty far into not my business territory. I escort because I want to minimize the harassment patients get; the patients make the decisions they need to.
~ Peter from Akron, Ohio, US
It's Choice, not Choice*
*limit one per customer
~Gary from Cary, North Carolina, US
I did some quick math. In her reproductive lifetime, a woman has about 500 menstrual cycles. That's an awful lot of chances for an unintended consequence of sexual contact. I don't care how many times a pregnant person chooses to terminate, although I do feel bad for her about the expenditure of time and dollars.
~ Katy Harrison from Huntsville, Alabama, US
I feel the same about people who have more than one abortion as I feel when I hear someone had more than one cavity drilled. Doesn't affect me so I don't care apart from being glad that they are doing what they need to to take care of themselves.
~ Margot from Queens, New York, US
Birth control is the only thing a person is expected to take perfectly for 30+ years. Nobody complains or threatens not to give treatment when someone breaks their hand more than once, even if it's under circumstances where someone may think the person is being irresponsible or careless. It's how I feel about abortion. Whether you need zero or ten abortions in your lifetime, I think it should be an available, not stigmatized option. I don't think anyone needs to justify having more than one.
~ Anna from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Thank you for generously sharing your story with me, and with the world. Sharing your story means we will one day live in a world where people listen more and judge less. And understand we can't know what's best for everyone in every situation. All we can do is provide love and support
~ Tara from Raleigh, North Carolina, US
I’ve had one abortion. So far. If I ever became pregnant again I’d have another one and it wouldn’t change a thing about me, including my opinion of myself. I extend the same apathy to others.
~ Michelle Davis, US
My daughter has had two abortions, my daughter-in-law one abortion, and a friend two abortions. I have and will always support their choices.
~ Irene Luckett from Colorado Springs, Colorado, US
To everyone who has had more than one abortion, you have all my love and respect for taking charge of your life and health despite pressure from society.
~ Roxanne from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US
I have not had an abortion (although I have had a d&c procedure for something else) and abortion is my choice if my IUD fails. I support anyone who chooses abortion, no matter how many times they choose it, because it's none of my damn business. Abortion on demand and without apology, full stop.
~ Leslie from Indianapolis, Indiana, US
Mostly I think that it isn’t any of my business. I would offer my love and support for 1 or 20 abortions.
~ Christine from Evanston, Illinois, US
Some people can be judgmental about other people's decisions when it comes to reproductive issues. And there can be some extra stigma when we talk about abortion. I know that people need abortions for lots of reasons, and of course I support you for making the right decision for yourself at the time. And I appreciate you telling your story. When people are able to speak up about their experiences, it reduces the stigma and frees other people to tell their stories. Maybe someday we'll all be able to hear each other with understanding and acceptance. Thank you.
~Fausta from Savannah, Georgia, US
It’s Nature’s plan to get us pregnancy every month. When you consider that we have 350 to 400 opportunities in a lifetime to get pregnant — the number of ovulations — then even several abortions are less than a 1% failure rate. So remember that our biology is against us with regard to unintended pregnancies and we have to work hard to overcome our fertility.
~ Peg from Binghamton, New York, US
I work in the area of abortion healthcare and have for many years. Fertility is not always 100% controllable. We can have the best of intentions and take all the steps towards precautions necessary and still become pregnant. If we are not able to control our fertility then we have no control over our lives. Women have more than one abortion if they need to. Having an abortion is not a terrible or bad choice, it can be the best and most loving and responsible choice to make. No judgment, just self compassion and knowing that you are the expert in your own life, that's all! Be kind to yourself always.
~ Brooke Carter from Adelaide, Australia
Second abortions happen because contraception fails sometimes and while it takes two to make a pregnancy, women always hold the bag. They happen because whatever issues led to the first one are still unresolved (say, childhood religious inculcation that makes it hard for a woman to admit she’d having sex and so use contraception). Or because the circumstances surrounding the second procedure are totally different to the first (the first pregnancy was unwanted but the second one was chosen but the hoped for male partner has fled town, become ill or suddenly lost his job). Second abortions happen because a desired pregnancy can be diagnosed with a serious fetal abnormality or because sometimes, shit just happens twice.
Whatever the case, women retain the same right they had the first time which was not to be forced to mother or mother again and deserve exactly the same respect for their choice. It is barbaric to force someone to have a baby to “teach them a lesson,” and research shows that any resulting unwanted child will suffer psychologically and socially for the rest of their lives.
Have an abortion if that’s what your heart says is right. Your judgement is the only one that matters and this worldwide community of women trust and supports you all the way.
Dr. Leslie Cannold from Melbourne, Australia
Listen, we aren’t born with a single token that’s good for one abortion each until we’ve used it up and then, too bad, you have to become a parent now!
~Clementine Ford from Melbourne, Australia
از شنیدن این خبر قلبا هم غمگین شدم و هم خوشحال. غمگین از این بابت که دوباره متحمل کلی فشار جسمی و استرس روحی شدی. خوشحال از این بابت که اولا شجاعانه تصمیم گرفتی و دوما با گفتن واقعیت، خودت رو راحت کردی و به آرامش رسیدی. امیدوارم به زودی دیداری داشته باشیم. مراقب خودت باش.
I am both happy and sad for you! I am sad because this issue put a lot of pressure on you (physical and emotional) and you had stressful days. I am happy because you're courageous enough to take this decision and also sharing with others which is a tough burden. Stay strong and take care. Hope to see you soon.
Bita from Tehran, Iran