Young People Nationwide Share Abortion Stories on Campus to Protest Restrictions
Students across the country organize to center young people in the conversation about abortion access
WASHINGTON, DC – In light of the harsh new abortion laws in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and elsewhere, students and community groups around the nation are coming together to speak out against these restrictions and share real stories from young people who had abortions.
Through Youth Testify, a collaborative project of Advocates for Youth and the National Network of Abortion Funds, twelve young people shared their powerful abortion stories in a new video series in the hopes of destigmatizing abortion and ensuring that young people’s voices are heard in the fight for abortion access.
In the video series, the Youth Testify storytellers share their vision for the future of abortion access and discuss the barriers they faced in accessing abortion, including:
- Parental Notification Laws: “The [judge] made me feel stupid – like I was immature. The only reason why he was like ‘she’s mature enough to have an abortion’ is when I told him I was literally starving and hadn’t eaten in a couple of days because I was providing food for my daughter.” -HK
- Financial: “I called the clinic and they said they would be able to take me if I came before the end of the week, but that the cost of the procedure would come out to about $10,500. I’m a college student. I don’t have that kind of money. I don’t directly know anyone with that kind of money, so I didn’t know what I was going to do.” -Beth
- Stigma: “I sometimes wonder what it would’ve been like if I had been able to tell my friends…what it would have been like if I had a bigger support system around me. Maybe I wouldn’t have carried this stigma and shame with me for so long and not felt quite as isolated.” – Jeana
“By sharing our abortion experiences, we change the way people talk about abortion,” said Youth Testify leader Veronika. Youth Testify is a first of its kind leadership program which provides training and support to equip 13 young people from across the nation, aged 17-25, with the skills to share their stories with their peers, the media, and legislators, to shift the culture of stigma and center the voices and needs of young people in the fight for abortion access. “Being a Black woman of faith, it feels huge for me to be out in the world sharing with other teens that there are people who look like us having abortions and it’s okay,” added Youth Testify leader Co.
“In a time of relentless attacks on abortion access, young people face even greater barriers. Bans that restrict abortion as little as six weeks into pregnancy are an especial burden on young people, who not only may take longer to realize they are pregnant but who have greater difficulties arranging travel and coming up with the money needed to pay for abortion care,” said Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth.
“Young people are activated and creating the world they want to thrive in with their loved ones, and this video series puts that front and center for all who see them,” said Yamani Hernandez, executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds. “We believe in investing in their leadership to support them in amplifying the power they already have as they navigate life. Young people have been on the frontlines of protecting abortion access throughout history, and now is no exception. Young people often bear the brunt of legal restrictions, as well as financial and logistical barriers to care but are sometimes left out of the conversation in policy formation. This Youth Testify video series makes it clear why young people deserve a seat at the table and their stories heard.“
Nearly 100 campuses and community groups will participate in the Week of Action where they will screen the Youth Testify videos and share sticker art featuring Youth Testify stories across their campuses. Young people have always been at the forefront of change. As they work to ensure abortion access, adult allies need to work with them – or get out of their way.
Advocates for Youth partners with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth.
The 1 in 3 Campaign is a grassroots movement to start a new conversation about abortion—telling our stories, on our own terms. Together, we can end the stigma and shame women are made to feel about abortion. As we share our stories we begin to build a culture of compassion, empathy, and support for access to basic health care. It’s time for us to come out in support of each other and in support of access to legal and safe abortion care in our communities.
The National Network of Abortion Funds builds power with members to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice.
We Testify, a leadership program of the National Network of the Abortion Funds, is dedicated to increasing the spectrum of abortion storytellers in the public sphere and shifting the way the media understands the context and complexity of accessing abortion care. We Testify seeks to build the power and leadership of abortion storytellers, particularly those of color, those from rural and conservative communities, those who are queer identified, those with varying abilities and citizenship statuses, and those who needed support when navigating barriers while accessing abortion care.