When I was 20 and in college, I got pregnant. My boyfriend took me to the clinic. The abortion cost $190. I still have the receipt to remind me of how crucial the right to choose is. I felt only gratitude and relief after the procedure–not guilt or shame. It was 1980. Today, my daughter, born in 1990, is 21 and in college. I am standing up for her right to control her destiny. I am the 1 in 3.

I found out I was pregnant 3 days after I’d lost my job. I was 19, newly married & already thousands of dollars in debt. No woman should have to choose between poverty or social stigma & shame. I am proud to be 1 in 3!

“I am only twenty-one years of age yet I have had two babies in less than three years. I was married when I was eighteen years old and my first baby was a premature birth, it was born dead and I had a bad time for I had a hemorrhage. Then septic poison set in and I lost all power of my legs. I went to a hospital and could not walk for five months. Shortly after I became pregnant again, and I worried a lot for fear I would be the same way as before, but when my second baby was born it was paralyzed and had septic poison, and the doctor said it would not live long. It lived for three months, and I now live in constant dread for I fear I will have more.”

“I am asking for some advice concerning my future welfare. I am the mother of ten children. I gave birth to the tenth on June 11. The baby was born dead. I suffered untold misery and came near flooding to death, and feel awfully bad yet not able to be up and doing this writing. I have eight stout robust children. The ninth one is twenty months old and weighs only nineteen pounds, has four teeth, and not walking. I gave nourishment for him only three months. I would rather not bring the dear little things into the world if they are not healthy and stout. My health is so run down and I am so weak I cannot expect the children healthy.”

“This is a call for help. I have been married three years and have two sweet babies, one two years and the other just a few months old. The four of us are huddled in one little room about eight feet square. At night there is no way of ventilating the place and I think it’s a crime; I think children deserve something better than that. My husband don’t care for children, and says if another one comes he will dear out. I have another sister deserted by her husband for the same thing. Please advise me what to do.”

—  Excerpts from “Motherhood in Bondage: Voices that gave rise to the Planned Parenthood movement,” a collection of letters written to Margaret Sanger by women (and a few by their husbands) begging Sanger to inform them on how they might control their reproduction.  

These were written over 100 years ago during the first couple decades of the twentieth century.  I feel it’s important to remember the awful state of women’s health and reproductive justice in our country at that time because of the current attacks on women.  We will NOT go back to a time such as this - we will NOT allow the government and their corporate sponsors to push us back into the allies. We demand quality healthcare for ALL which includes complete autonomy over one’s body and reproductive health.