The reasons why women get abortions are varied and personal. For some, it was because they were victims of rape or incest. Some were in abusive relationships and others weren’t ready to be mothers.
After several states passed restrictive abortion legislation, women are bravely sharing their stories, hoping to shed the stigma around abortion.
CNN reached out to women sharing their stories with the hashtag #YouKnowMe. Here are some of them.
Her child wouldn’t live to term
During her second trimester, Erica Goldblatt Hyatt learned her son had a rare condition and he would likely not make it to term. It was her first baby.
He was diagnosed with Congenital High Airway Obstruction Syndrome because his trachea did not form, she said. He also had a chromosomal abnormality, Trisomy 16, which frequently leads to miscarriage.
Goldblatt Hyatt and her husband consulted with fetal surgeons, as some babies with this syndrome could undergo surgery after birth. But their son’s case was too severe.
Doctors told her if their baby didn’t die of heart failure in the womb, he would be born brain dead, she said. The couple struggled, prayed and decided to end the pregnancy.
She spoke out because of all the misunderstandings around why women terminate pregnancies.
“I owe it to my son that died, I owe it to him to honor his memory,” Goldblatt Hyatt said. “And I owe the women that are not ready to talk.”
Goldblatt Hyatt had an abortion at about 20 weeks in 2012. Eight percent of abortions happen between 14 and 20 weeks, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s been seven years, and since then, she has had three healthy children. She does counseling work, some of which involves helping women who have terminated pregnancies.
She wasn’t ready for more children
A mother to two children became pregnant and she and her husband decided they weren’t in a place to have a third child. The mother asked not to be named in this story.
“We had two girls very close and it took us a while to find our breathing space to have our third, we really weren’t sure we could handle one more,” she said.
Her husband panicked when he learned of the pregnancy and the couple decided it wasn’t the right time. Later on, the couple had a son when they were ready. He’s her “light and love,” she said.
Most women who have had an abortion are already mothers. While the majority of women who had abortions in 2012 were unmarried – 85% – the CDC’s reporting shows most women who have an abortion have already had at least one child. And 14% of women who had an abortion in 2012 already had three or more children.
Her birth control failed
Even when practicing safe sex, sometimes things happen, and birth control lets you down.
Casey Duran was 24 years old and making $15 an hour when she learned she was six weeks pregnant. She was on birth control and she asked her partner to use protection as well, she said.
“I knew I wasn’t ready, and I tried to protect myself the best ways I thought,” the 26-year-old said. “And it still happened. It can happen.”
“It’s not just about women not having access because of rape,” Duran said of the abortion debate.
She was working as a receptionist and barely had enough to support herself, Duran said.
“I still think about how different my life would be if I didn’t have access to a safe abortion,” she said. “I would be living on assistance, raising a child on a minimum wage salary, using a public system that we’re often denied from because lawmakers think women like us take advantage of that system.”
She feels she shouldn’t have to explain her decision
The decision to get an abortion is personal, and frankly, many women posting online want to keep it that way.
Kristin Mink had an abortion years ago and doesn’t want to explain why.
“I’m mom to 2 amazing kids, for whom I’m so grateful. I also had an abortion years ago & it’s none of your business why,” Mink wrote on Twitter.
“I’m the same person now that I was then, just making different choices bc of different circumstances.”
She was raised in an abusive household
Kait Payne’s parents were 17 and 18 when they had her. They got married after she was born and they divorced by her second birthday.
“They had an extremely toxic and unhealthy relationship and my dad was physically abusive to my mom,” Payne said. “I was raised mostly by my grandma, a single mom with an 8th grade education.”
Payne was 16 years old when she became pregnant, she said. She was at a party and had alcohol for the first time. She and her boyfriend had been dating for a month and they had sex.
She consented that night but said now as an adult, she can see she was too intoxicated to truly give consent. She said her boyfriend told her that the condom broke.
“I knew from a young age that I did not want to live like this forever and I absolutely did not want my kids to grow up like I did,” Payne, now 26, said.
She shared her story publicly for the first time with her #YouKnowMe tweet, 10 years after she had an abortion.
“I always kept it quiet because it’s such a taboo topic,” Payne said. “But seeing the changes in Alabama and being the mother of a daughter, I couldn’t keep quiet about it anymore.”