Emily Letts, a reproductive counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center, knew she was pregnant last November. Shortly thereafter, she knew she would get an abortion because she was “not ready” to have kids. But as a patient advocate, she also knew that she had to be the one thing she’d never seen before: a “positive” abortion story.
So she filmed everything—from the pregnancy confirmation to the actual abortion itself. The resulting video is just over three minutes of harrowing, cerebral (and safe for work) footage that made Letts the latest target for online criticism. However, it’s been online since March 14, only gaining real traction after Cosmo posted an explanation from Letts yesterday.
In that piece, Letts explains the video further, including both the history of events and her reasoning behind what she felt was a need for a positive abortion story:
“On a whim, I took a test, and it came up two pink lines. The moment when a woman looks down and sees those two pink lines and she’s not expecting to see them, it’s like time implodes and explodes simultaneously. You’re caught in this tornado that just sucks out all the breath in your lungs.
Once I caught my breath, I knew immediately I was going to have an abortion. I knew I wasn’t ready to take care of a child. The guy wasn’t involved in my decision. I called my supervisor and said, “Excuse me, I am going to need to schedule one abortion, please.” It was very early in the pregnancy, only two to three weeks.
Patients at the clinic always ask me if I can relate to them — have I had an abortion? Do I have kids? I was so used to saying, “I’ve never had an abortion but…” While I was pregnant and waiting for my procedure, I thought, “Wait a minute, I have to use this.”
I searched the Internet, and I couldn’t find a video of an actual surgical procedure in the clinic that focused on the woman’s experience. We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like. A first trimester abortion takes three to five minutes. It is safer than giving birth. There is no cutting, and risk of infertility is less than 1 percent. Yet women come into the clinic all the time terrified that they are going to be cut open, convinced that they won’t be able to have kids after the abortion. The misinformation is amazing, but think about it: They are still willing to sacrifice these things because they know that they can’t carry the child at this moment.”
Fighting that misinformation has drawn the ire of, surprise, a host of conservative male pundits that claim that Letts is everything from “A WITCH FROM HELL” (caps theirs) to “encouraging women to have abortions” and everything in between. More drastic repercussions have included death threats, but Letts doesn’t seem to have been fazed much by that. After all, being a Women's Center abortion counselor does not come without its share of critcism. As a result, it only makes sense that Letts intentions to help ease the stigma around abortion outweigh whatever criticism that come her way over a personal decision.
As she writes in the Cosmo piece:
“I was able to learn and move forward. And I am grateful that I can share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt.”