Years ago, Melissa was raped. What followed was one of the hardest decisions of her life.
Hear a couple of women from Kansas explain why we should have the right to make a decision like Melissa's.
Melissa Olsen is a mother from Wichita, Kansas.
She has two kids. Here is one of them.
Here is Melissa with her family.
Many years ago, before she had a family, Melissa was raped.
That's young Melissa on the right.
After her rape, Melissa found out she was pregnant.
In an email to Upworthy, Melissa explained how her pregnancy wasn't a direct result of her sexual assault.
- "I was raped at 15 and was still in the process of healing when I went to University of Kansas. I was sexually assaulted by three men that fall of 1997. I proceeded to flounder, and became lost and terrified. My PTSD, depression, and anxiety went into overload. I began drinking heavily and became pregnant the summer following my assault — and most definitely not from the assault. I didn't feel as if I were a whole person, or anywhere near ready to have someone live within me when I hated the touch of my own flesh."
To this day, she remembers how hard her decision was.
Ultimately, Melissa decided to get an abortion.
Here's what she has to say about her decision:
- "I got my abortion for multiple reasons, but one of the huge reasons was after my rape, I wasn't prepared to share my body for nine months with another being. I felt like I had already put my body and my spirit through so much that I don't think that psychologically I could have been through a pregnancy. I was angry and I was afraid and I literally had nothing left to give."
She also told Upworthy this:
- "I don't want my message to be that you must be traumatized to have an abortion. Trauma doesn't make you worthy of an abortion. Having your own hopes, dreams, and ideas does."
Today, Melissa has no regrets about her decision. She only wishes her younger self could have been less hard on herself.
Fact: 1 in 3 women of reproductive age will have an abortion. Melissa was one of those women.
Watch this video to learn more about her story and the advocates who have worked to help people like Melissa.
FACT CHECK TIME!
- The video says 1 in 3 American women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Our fact-checkers would like to emphasize that that's 1 in 3 women of reproductive age.
- Even then, that's still a lot of women who need abortion services! The Guttmacher Institute backs up these numbers, citing analysis published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology Journal back in 2011.
- However, abortion rates aren't going up. They're actually going down.
- In fact, Kansas had the sharpest decline in abortion rates, in part due to better access to birth control (and very little to do with state abortion restrictions, according to Guttmacher).
- Yep, Dr. George Tiller *was* murdered on May 31, 2009, by a "pro-life" activist, Scott Roeder. "Pro-life" indeed.
- Here's the new clinic that Wichita, Kansas, opened in 2013. It *has* served 2,700. Their work is important.