Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days.
Today’s story comes from Abortion Chat, “a place to talk about abortion; why you’re for it, why you’re against it, firsthand, secondhand, or curiosity. All we ask is that you keep an open mind.”
Allie Rosnato speaks about her experiences as a Planned Parenthood volunteer. As such she has faced contempt and support while defending the reproductive rights of women.
As a young girl, I believed abortion was an appropriate solution only if a woman was raped or could potentially die during child birth. All other circumstances I considered invalid. I thought if you were careless enough to have unprotected sex, the consequences fit the crime. This was before I knew and understood bodily autonomy. I can’t remember the exact moment I had a change of heart but I do know that it was acute and it was transformative, hurling me into a passionate desire to fight for women’s reproductive rights.
Last year I volunteered for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our job was to make our presence known by canvasing, getting petition signatures in support of Planned Parenthood, and holding a rally featuring elected officials and Planned Parenthood staff speakers, including president Cecile Richards. Through my work as a volunteer, I encountered people from all walks of life with differing opinions not only on abortion, but Planned Parenthood as well. Thinking back to the many conversations I had, I am amazed at the degree of misconceptions people have about unplanned pregnancies and abortions and the perceived goals and intentions of Planned Parenthood.
There are two moments I remember specifically from my work at the DNC. One I found incredibly disheartening and one that’s beauty nearly brought me to tears. I remember marching with other Planned Parenthood volunteers trying to get the word out about the rally we were holding that day. We were a sea of pink passing out flyers, giving directions, and many of us were carrying pink Planned Parenthood Action Fund posters that said “Women are Watching”. On the way to the rally, we passed a group of Pro Life protesters and I’ll never forget the little boy who looked me dead in the face and said, “Murderers!”
My heart sunk. A little boy, no older than 8 years old, just called me a murderer for supporting and raising awareness for an organization I feel is an advocate for what I believe in. Wasn’t he doing the same thing? Fighting for what he believed in? I had no choice but to shake it off and keep moving—keep pushing forward. I didn’t let it stop me.
On a happier note, later on in the midst of a pre-rally chant with all the Planned Parenthood volunteers and our recruited supporters, I was standing next to a man while we were chanting ,“Our body, our choice!” who with one hand cuffed around his mouth and the other balled into a fist thrusting towards the sky started chanting “Their body, their choice!”
I turned to him, eyes watering, and gave him a hug. That moment made up for my experience with the little boy from earlier. It is a moment I will always cherish and remember whenever I feel burnt out, disheartened, or discouraged.
My work with Planned Parenthood helped me further articulate my stance as Pro-Choice and understand what the pro-choice movement is really all about, and that’s supporting and working towards preventing unwanted pregnancies, reducing abortion, promoting contraception, educating women and the youth, and providing women with the necessary resources to raise healthy, happy children.