Woman in Viral Abortion Video: These Stories Need to Be Told

Thursday, 15 May 2014 02:31 PM

By John A. Oswald

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The 25-year-old patient counselor who posted her abortion on YouTube says she is still "positive" and "comfortable" about what she did  — but hopes the full spectrum of stories from women, including those who have regrets and those who kept their child, get told.

"Read my lips. This is how I feel, and it is my experience. And it is my own, and it’s not yours," Emily Letts said in an interview with Salon.

Letts aborted her unborn child in the very same Cherry Hill, N.J., clinic where the former actress counsels other women coming in looking to do the same thing.

She was lambasted by anti-abortion groups  — especially those who said her video sanitized what they call the brutality of killing of the unborn.

Even some abortion rights supporters were appalled, including The Telegraph's Dina Rickman who says she’s so "passionately pro-choice" that her friends call her "the terminator."

"I'm not denying there are still many things we need to demystify — I just don't think those conversations should involve YouTube. For me, Emily Letts' video just shows there are some taboos we just don't need to break," Rickman wrote after Letts’ video went viral.

"I do feel comfortable about my decision and I feel positive because I have so much love and support around me. It’s my home. It is my own workplace, where I go into that surgery five to eight times a day to support other women," Letts told Salon interviewer Katie McDonough.

McDonough, in the interview, told Letts, "The video is incredible. I won’t pretend to be objective here. I am so glad it exists."

Letts acknowledged the controversy but said such stories need to be told.

"I just had the most amazing conversation today with this woman. She ended up Facebook messaging me, and said, 'You’re asking for stories, and I would like to give you my story,'" Letts told Salon.

"She was struggling financially, very poor — she was scared about what to do. She said that the family of the man she was involved with really wanted her to terminate. … She said she hated every single day of the pregnancy. Every single day was filled with doubt, terror, shame, and all these different things," Letts told Salon.

"But when she laid her head on the pillow at night, and she closed her eyes, there was a very small part of her that wanted to carry it. So she listened to that part of her and ended up giving birth.

"And she shared this so openly and so freely and so beautifully — that this experience was so scary, traumatic, filled with shame, but that she still felt she had a choice," Letts said.

Letts works at the Cherry Hill Women's Center. The clinic, she told Salon, will perform abortions on women and teen girls who are as far along as 24.6 weeks.

"I believe I’m really the only clinic anywhere near where I’m located who does that," Letts said.

Letts said she wants those who decide to have abortions to let go of their guilt.

"I know there are women who feel great remorse. I have seen the tears. Grieving is an important part of a woman's process, but what I really wanted to address in my video is guilt," she wrote in Cosmopolitan.

Christian blogger Matt Moore says he still finds Letts’ position to be cavalier.

"Emily's mind is utterly corrupted. The way that she can take something like abortion — the dissecting of a small human child — and doll it up to present it as an example of positivity and strength is horrifically disturbing," he wrote last week in the Christian Post.

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