Ebony Wiggins is a Nashville, TN native, and advocate for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She officially began her advocacy for reproductive rights through The Tennessee Stories Project; an organization that works to destigmatize abortion through storytelling. She served as a 2019 National Storyteller for Planned Parenthood and has represented the organization as a lobbyist before Congress. She continues to share her abortion story in hopes of not only ensuring safe, legal, and accessible reproductive healthcare for ALL but also as encouragement for others to not feel shame and to know they are not alone.
I was 22 when I had my abortion, and I’m 100% shameless about it! I was living at home with my parents at the time and was attending college. I found myself pregnant after my current partner failed to inform me there had been a “slip up” in our last sexual encounter; which would have prompted us to purchase a Plan B as we had done before. So, when I realized my period was later than expected I figured it was due to stress, given that I had missed a period for the same reason 2 years prior. I simply thought I’d take a test, it would be negative, and I’d start my period the next day.
Suffice it to say, the test was positive. There wasn’t a single minute that I contemplated what I wanted and needed to do. I always knew that if I found myself with an unwanted pregnancy, I would have an abortion. I was not ready mentally, emotionally, nor financially to not only be a mother but to go through childbirth. Most importantly, I did not want to have a child with the person who had gotten me pregnant. So, I called my OB-GYN, who was a family friend and had recently moved, and they directed me to Planned Parenthood. I was able to receive my abortion that same day and did not have to undergo the 48 hour waiting period that is now in effect as of 2016 after Amendment 1 passed in Tennessee.
There’s never been a moment where I regretted my decision. I’m now 29 years old, and I’ve been able to experience so much within the past 7 years. I take being a mother, being a parent, very seriously. And I don’t think it’s a decision anyone should take lightly. Because of my abortion, I’ve been able to continue to grow and to develop so that if/when I decide to have children, I’ll be an even better mother because I wasn’t forced into motherhood when I wasn’t ready.
I could go into all sorts of detail about the things I’ve been able to do, the places I’ve been able to go, and the people I’ve been able to meet because I received an abortion. But, it’s important to understand that my abortion experience was a positive one NOT because I received an abortion but because of the circumstances surrounding my abortion. I was very lucky!
I was lucky enough to have an OB-GYN who referred me to the proper care, instead of wandering into what seemed like an abortion clinic to only find out it was a pregnancy crisis center. I was lucky enough to have access to a facility that provided abortion services less than 20 minutes away, as opposed to those who have to drive hours to an abortion clinic. I was lucky enough to have friends who indirectly supported my decision by loaning me the funds to pay for my abortion that day; in comparison to some people who are confronted with the lack of support from those around them. I was lucky that my manager at the time was someone I could call and honestly explain why I couldn’t make it to work. Whereas others may have to lie to reason their absence. And I was definitely lucky that I still had a job after missing work to receive an abortion when employment security is jeopardized for some.
Most importantly though, I was fortunate enough to have parents who educated me on life, politics, and social issues that allowed me to think for myself at a very young age, contributing to my premeditated decision. And 7 years after receiving my abortion, I’m fortunate that my parents and close friends continue to support my decision, and my advocacy for reproductive rights, unconditionally, especially given how public and open I am about receiving one.
I want people to be able to hear my story, and allow it to be an example of how accessible, and supportive, abortion should be for any and everyone that decides to receive one or contemplate one! And for those that are, the difficulties they may experience are because of stigma, and not because they are any less deserving of safe, legal, accessible care, and non-judgment!
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