Roar will publish a first-person story about abortion, “My Abortion: A Daily Story,” every day for at least 365 days. Transcribed below is some of Luz’s story as shared with The Abortion Diary, a podcast and abortion story-sharing platform created by Dr. Melissa Madera. A midwifery student, Luz opens up about the onerous process of seeking abortion care in the southwest, and how she ultimately decided to end her pregnancy with support of a local herbalist and her indigenous community. Hear the rest of her story online here.
“I suppose the story starts in the summer of 2013 and being madly in love and a little bit reckless. And…a little bit self-righteous in what I thought was my relationship with my body. I felt very certain and very sure that I knew exactly when, where, and how I ovulated – and was very humbled to find out otherwise. So, I had successfully ([I say] “I” – but I guess “we”) had successfully been using…what has been called the rhythm method and avoiding lovemaking around the times when I would be ovulating, which was always consistently around the full moon….And that worked, for a while. And then it didn’t. It stopped working.
…I was very much in denial about it. I was very busy. I was traveling a lot that summer out of the country and came back to the states…to [Tuscon,] Arizona…just to collect my things and be off to midwifery school.…I took a pregnancy test approximately 24 hours before I was supposed to leave…and it was quite positive. …[T]he irony of it was not lost on me at the time. I remember crying and laughing all at the same time about how ridiculous the situation was. …Here I was, grown and seemingly responsible….I had a Prius half-packed to leave for Texas, freshly pregnant and unable to procure a swift abortion in either [Texas or Arizona] – and I’m a birth worker! It was a very challenging day.
I postponed my trip to Texas….After spending quite a lot of time on the phone with various Planned Parenthoods in and around the area, [I remembered] precisely how oppressive and f-cked up the entire process is….[D]oing research into the area in Texas [where] I was moving…[I realized] all the abortion clinics had been shut down in…recent months, and that was precisely why I was embarking on this journey of reproductive justice anyway! …I kind of just decided to do it myself. It wasn’t quite that coherent or cognizant [a decision], but that was ultimately what was actualized. I had a really, really supportive partner at the time who…insisted that I could do anything and everything that I wanted, and would be OK no matter what I chose…
I unpacked…[and] looked up a lot of DIY herbal abortion protocols that I had. [I realized] I was trying to cook things up in the kitchen that I really wasn’t equipped with the herbal skills or…knowledge that I needed, and I also just didn’t have the emotional stamina to do it by myself at that point.…I sought out help from a local herbalist and…told her my particular situation. [T]hen, I decided to go into ceremony…”