Editor’s Note: The Journal has allowed an anonymous source to be quoted in this story upon the request of the individual. The student feared backlash due to the controversial nature of the subject.
A junior at Webster University has kept the ultrasound of her unborn baby in her wallet for three years. A new group on campus will host Choice Out Loud events in an effort to give her and other students the opportunity to share their experience about becoming pro-choice.
She said it is important to understand why women have abortions and explained why that choice was right for her. She said she was in a mentally abusive relationship in high school. That relationship led her to a lifestyle that she said kept her from making the best decisions.
After a month of separation from her boyfriend, she realized her body was behaving differently. Consistently craving apples and honey buns, she took a pregnancy test that confirmed her suspicions. Between the morning sickness and the inability to concentrate in school, she said she was scared, anxious and unprepared for the responsibility of motherhood. She was not financially stable enough to raise a child on her own and said she could not see herself bringing a child into this world with parents who did not love each other.
After eight weeks, she went to a Planned Parenthood and made the decision she felt was best for her at the time, to have an abortion. If she did not have the choice, she said she would have disappointed people and struggled to raise a child in an unhealthy environment. She keeps her photo to remind her to keep pushing herself to become someone her unborn child would have been proud of.
“I knew I wasn’t ready, maybe I could have been a good mom,” she said. “But not as good of a mom as I will be when I am older, out of college and able to support him or her.”
Molly Waters, women and gender studies major, created Choice Out Loud to raise awareness and prompt discussion about the pro-choice movement.
“There are a lot of people on this campus who are concerned with women’s rights and reproductive rights,” Waters said. “It always kind of confused me why the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) wasn’t as strong here as it is at other universities in the surrounding area.”
Waters spent her summer interning with the NARAL, a lobbying group who advocates for women’s reproductive rights. According to the group’s website, it was searching for a student representative for Webster University. Waters saw this as an opportunity to educate students about the options they have.
Waters plans to host events for the Choice Out Loud group through a club that is in the midst of SGA approval called Webster U Vox: Voices for Change; Reproductive Rights and Sexual Health. If approved, Webster U Vox will also team up with LGBTQ Alliance and Feminists Collective to host events year round. Through the efforts of Waters and sophomore Daphne Slade, Webster U Vox will be active in late spring.
The unidentified Webster junior said she believes the Webster U Vox group will be helpful for women like her as a safe haven of support. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, half of all pregnancies are unplanned and three-quarters of unplanned pregnancies are from women 29 and younger.
LGBTQ Alliance and Feminists Collective member Trish Stovernik said she grew up pro-life in a religious household. When she came to Webster, she became pro-choice.
“Abortion is a good last resort, but it shows that we are not doing enough to educate women,” Stovernik said. “In providing proper contraceptives, we are not doing enough to make it to where abortion isn’t needed.”