Real voices

Women share honest, conflicted abortion stories with Supreme Court ahead of Texas abortion opinion

Tammy Romo-Alcala told the Supreme Court she regrets her abortion. (Facebook)

As the Supreme Court considers its first abortion case in a decade, about whether states have the right to restrict access to abortion, hundreds of women have come forward to tell the court their own stories of abortion, and of lives changed by the decisions to have them. Kate Banfield and Tammy Romo-Alcala are two of those women, both of whom had abortions at a Dallas clinic when they were freshmen in college. Banfield, who went on to graduate from Stanford, marry, and have three children, says she has no regrets about her decision, and that after making it, “she learned to trust (herself).”

But Romo-Alcala, who dropped out of school and went on to have two children, has a different perspective. She told the justices that, with the benefit of hindsight, she should have had the baby. “Women need to know your life doesn’t go on being the same,” she told The Washington Post of her decision to share her story. “If I knew what I was getting into at the time, I wouldn’t have gone through with it.” Romo-Alcala, now 44, says she battled depression and a drinking problem in the ensuing years.

The women have filed amicus briefs in the case Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, which the court’s eight justices are now considering after oral arguments last month. The justices may or may not read their stories and draw on them in making their decisions, but over the course of the past 60 years,  there has been an 800 percent increase in amicus filings and a steady increase in how often justices cite them in their opinions.

“Every time you hear about a Supreme Court case, it’s not only about the principles. It’s about the people and what it means for their lives,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Many of the women telling their abortion stories in amicus briefs, had never shared their stories outside of telling friends and close relatives. Banfield, 48, had never told her father about her abortion she had nearly three decades ago. She’d discussed the topic with her husband and three children, but resolved that if indeed she was going to go through with the amicus brief to the read by the Supreme Court justices, she needed to tell her father first. Recently, she sent her father an email to her dad early one morning, telling him, “I grew up that summer.” Within hours, her father had responded.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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