A New Generation of Abortion Activists: “I Can’t Be Pregnant”


To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this blog is part of a series profiling a new generation of activists working to destigmatize abortion and ensure access to safe, affordable abortion care.

Published in partnership with Advocates for Youth.

When I discovered that I was pregnant, I had only been 18 for three months. I was an 18-year-old in Brownsville, Texas. I was still a teenager, and I was devastated.

When I told my mother, I told her: “I can’t be pregnant.” My life would be over. I did not know what to do. I had been accepted to the University of Houston, and I was going to study photography. My dream was to become a famous photojournalist for National Geographic. I hoped to one day take on photo assignments in areas of the world that were experiencing ongoing conflicts, perhaps the Middle East or South Sudan. What was I going to do? With a child, I thought I would never be able to do any of this. I thought having a child meant saying goodbye to my post-secondary education and to my dreams.  

However, I knew that options were available “to make things right again.” I wanted to get an abortion. But there were many obstacles.

First, Brownsville has a Planned Parenthood, but abortions are not provided there. The closest facility was located about 30 minutes away from Brownsville, but I didn’t have a car. My mother’s car was not reliable, and she wouldn’t have taken me. I did not have any family or friends I could confide in about this.  

The second problem was money. The price of getting an abortion was $400. Ever since I can remember, I have always lived with a low socio-economic status. I still do. I had absolutely no money, and I wouldn’t dare ask my mom. She barely had money to pay for bills and groceries. Coming up with $400 was impossible for me.

Third, there was simply too much stigma around the idea of getting an abortion. My mother and her conservative Mexican cultural views made me feel guilty of even thinking about having an abortion.  

I never sought help overcoming these obstacles because I knew that help wasn’t there.

In the end, I did not get an abortion. So often people think abortion is the “easy” option. In fact, it was easier for me to remain pregnant. Abortion had been legal for decades, but the barriers were still too great to overcome.

I received temporary healthcare assistance for my pregnancy. It is senseless to think that I could not receive help towards the $400 cost of having an abortion, but I was able to qualify for financial assistance for the entire pregnancy and birth. (And believe me, that is expensive!)

I had never been independent. I had always lived with my mother, and when the opportunity to finally experience my own independence came, I lost it. That’s how I felt. I know that I would have gotten an abortion if I had been given the support I needed.
Things change though. My pregnancy wasn’t the end of my dreams. I have been through a lot since then and throughout my time as a single parent. I have lost many opportunities but gained many others. I am proud of myself. I am proud to be a strong, determined, and motivated single mother of the most beautiful girl ever.

Now, I am a student at the University of Texas at Brownsville and my daughter has become my motivation. She is the reason I have chosen to fight for a whole range of issues, from comprehensive sex education to access to safe, affordable abortion care to ensuring that young people exercise their right to vote.

People should be given the chance to make the decision whether to parent without judgment or stigma. Abortion is (or should be) an option. By sharing my story with the 1 in 3 Campaign with my family, my friends, and my community, I am here to say that it is okay to choose abortion. Women should not feel ashamed for doing what is best for them.

Every day, I fight for the removal of obstacles that I encountered so that women can have that choice. I fight to change the narrative that shames women who do have abortions. I fight to make sure that my daughter and other young women like her will always have the power to control their own health and lives.  

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To schedule an interview with April Flores please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • stpaul12

    Thank you for sharing your story. What a blessing your little girl has been in your life! Every human life is a blessing, and our nation must recognize this great truth by protecting all human lives, from conception to natural death.

  • stpaul12

    Thank you for sharing your story. What a blessing your little girl has been in your life! Every human life is a blessing, and our nation must recognize this great truth by protecting all human lives, from conception to natural death.

  • chelley

    Your a very brave young woman,  I just hope the radical right dosent misunderstand that it dosent always turn out this way,  and that is why choice is so important.  mabe if i hadn’t had mental health issues and a husband who would keep me imprisoned, and not let me leave,  I would have considered continuing the pregancy.  I was very determined to end it before it did  develop personhood.  I made the right choice for me.  . wish you and your little girl and your mom the best.

  • chelley

    With all due respect, every life is not treated preciously, and their are many lives this earth would have been better off without.  It’s all random

    Although conception is life, it is not a person.  There needs to be a distinction.  I also feel you viewed this article to intend that every pregnancy should be carried to term.  some can not.  There are many women who cannot.  I do not want to see any more unwanted children, and the consequence of what their unwantedness becomes. Thank-you and lets all learn to let others be.

  • lepidopteryx

    Every human life is NOT necessarily a blessing. Sometimes it turns out that way, even if you don’t expect it too, and sometimes things you expect to be blessings turn into unbearable burdens. Every woman should have the opportunity to decide for herself whether she wants to play burden/blessing Russian roulette.

  • dezgonzalez

    Isn’t that lovely? Practically writing an article telling your child, “I really, really, REALLY wanted to kill you. I would have been more grateful if I would have been able to.” When really she should be thankful that she wasn’t able to. If I were her child, whether she were my mother or not, I would b*tch slap her for fighting for abortion in my name.

  • prochoiceferret

    Isn’t that lovely? Practically writing an article telling your child, “I really, really, REALLY wanted to kill you. I would have been more grateful if I would have been able to.”

     

    Isn’t that lovely? Practically writing a comment telling everyone that you’re not capable of understanding nuance and complex human emotion.

     

    When really she should be thankful that she wasn’t able to. If I were her child, whether she were my mother or not, I would b*tch slap her for fighting for abortion in my name.

     

    I think that would be a pretty effective way of telling her that she should have aborted you.

  • ljean8080

    I would disappear and she would never know what happened to me.

  • jennifer-starr

    I would disappear and she would never know what happened to me.


    And you don’t think that a response like that would be just a little childish and immature?  Just a tad?  You’ve told us that you’re 58, but running away and disappearing is what a little kid would think of doing–not an adult. 

  • ljean8080

    walk away from thier  lives every year.I would just be getting away from a mother who did not want me.

  • jennifer-starr

    Did you just happen to miss this statement in the article?  See below:

    I am proud to be a strong, determined, and motivated single mother of the most beautiful girl ever.

     

    And I think you’re way off base on this one. 

  • crowepps

    Mothers aren’t perfect, and the fact that you’re protesting they’re supposed to be is unrealistic.  Getting pregnant and giving birth doesn’t transform a woman into a sentimental ideal of Mother: Perfectly Perfect In Every Way.

    Taking care of children is a huge load of work for very little return, it has a negative impact on just about every aspect of a woman’s life, and I’d guess every mother that’s ever existed has had at least a moment of thinking ‘This just isn’t worth it, what am I doing here?’

    Got to say, one of the things that has the biggest negative impact on mothers is the adult children’s attitude that all the work and worry and putting herself second or third is something they were entitled to for being born, just What Moms Should Do, something she *owed* to them, and your sulky attitude of ‘if she isn’t perfect then I will punish her by disappearing to make her suffer’ demonstrates that very well.

  • give-em-hell-mary

    I wish my disfiguring anti-choice mom aborted me rather than forcing the nightmarish-not-worth-living life of constant public bullying and slave labor that I’m stuck with.