Fearless Friday: "I Will March On"
The Women’s March meant something different to each of us. We marched for racial equality, LGBTQIA rights, reproductive rights, environmental protection, female empowerment, and so much more. To me, it was a way to show my support for all women, with no regard to their race, gender alignment, or political views. I marched because I believe that though we are all unique, we are one in the same, and we must stand together. My main reason for marching was to protect our right to autonomy over our bodies. As I’m sure it did for many of us, the Women’s March hit a particularly soft spot for me due to some recent events in my life.
First, let me tell you a bit about myself.
I had an abortion on January 12th. Making the decision to do so was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was young, a sophomore in college with a bright future ahead of me. I thought of the child that I carried inside me, and I considered what my future would look like with it. I wanted to finish college, get a degree, have a career, and travel. I didn't feel ready to be a mother, so I made the decision to terminate the pregnancy. While at the time I believed that I had made the right choice, it was one that I instantly regretted. I felt its absence and I believed that with it, a piece of me had been taken as well. However, amidst my guilt and regret, I was also aware that I was lucky to have had the ability to make this life changing decision for myself. I was thankful to have had access to a safe and legal abortion. While I felt guilty for having one, I still believed deep down that it was each individual woman’s right to choose. Before I made my decision to have one, I had confided in several friends, many of whom revealed to me that they had had abortions and were very happy with their decisions to do so. I came to the conclusion that it is, and MUST be a right that all women hold: the right to reproductive freedom. We should be able to choose what is right for ourselves because we are all so different, and what is good and right for one person may not be the same for the next. There is no person better fit to make decisions regarding our bodies than ourselves.
So I marched on this day, only nine days after having an abortion, supporting a woman’s right to choose to have one, even though I wasn’t at peace with my decision to do so. I marched because I am PRO-CHOICE, which does not mean that I am PRO-ABORTION. I am not pro-abortion. Choosing to have one was the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life and the worst thing that I’ve ever lived through. I would never wish it upon any woman. For some women though, it is the right choice. All I want is for each and every woman to have the ability to do what is best for herself. Making abortions illegal will not stop them, instead, it will lead to more unsafe and fatal abortions. It will not help women, it will only make an impossible decision that much harder and an invasive procedure that much more dangerous.
To me, the March was eye opening. Never have I felt as much unity and encouragement in a single moment as I did while attending the Women’s March. I could feel it in the air; it was an embrace from womankind. I felt the arms of thousands of women surround me in understanding and support. I felt valid, respected, and recognized as a woman capable of making decisions for herself. That feeling has stuck with me, and changed me for the better. If any good came from my abortion, it is that I feel inspired and passionate about helping women like myself. Women, who need love and support regardless of their circumstances. It has given me the strength to share my story for the first time, publicly, so that every woman who reads this will know that I stand by them.
I attended the Women’s March in St. Petersburg, Florida on January 21, 2017. The March was St. Petersburg’s largest protest in history, with numbers exceeding 20,000 individuals.
Article by: Zoe Jones
Age: 20 years old
Pin Drop: St. Petersburg, FL
Roots: Tampa, FL