No one knows what to expect when they click to ThisIsMyAbortion.com and that’s exactly the point.
Viewers aren’t bombarded with graphic fetal images. They aren’t told abortion is bad, or even that it’s illegal. Instead, they find four photos that were secretly snapped on a cell phone by a woman who calls herself Jane. In what appears to be a health clinic, the pictures show two large glass jars on a metal cabinet hooked up to two tubes. One is partially filled with blood—not a lifeless foetus.
ThisIsMyAbortion.com appeared on Reddit Friday morning, and we immediately asked Jane for an interview. In a Your Money exclusive, she got candid about what it really costs to have the procedure, who doesn’t have access to care, and why, in an election year, telling her story matters more than ever.
What are the actual costs of having an abortion in a clinic?
JANE: My abortion cost $700.
Were there any unexpected fees?
JANE: No, I paid for it at the clinic desk in cash.
Did health insurance come into play, or was it not an option?
JANE: I did have health insurance at the time, but it didn’t cover the costs.
Were you offered any financial support from family or friends?
JANE: I had the financial support of my partner at the time of the procedure. We split the cost in half and both felt as though we were equally taking financial accountability for our shared responsibility. I do not currently have financial support from my friends or family. I am fortunate enough to have a job in these economically challenging times and can support myself and my family.
Did finances play a role in your decision to have the abortion?
JANE: While finances did not play a primary role in my decision to have an abortion, I am well aware of the hard work that it takes to raise a child and provide that child with a decent life.
It makes sense you want to remain anonymous given the subject matter, but is there a point to be made that this could happen to any woman in the U.S.?
JANE: Yes, absolutely. It is already happening. Women are having sex and having abortions. Accidents happen. Violations happen. Life happens! As life happens, real education and options should be made available to men and women.
What power is there in remaining anonymous?
JANE: The power in anonymity is placing my little story in a much larger context and making it relatable to anyone and everyone. I could be from the deep south or live in your neighbourhood. I could be a minor or perimenopausal. I could be a high school graduate or a PhD professor. I could be Christian or Muslim. I could be your daughter, your mother, your sister, your boss, your friend. I could be all of these things to this audience. This isn’t about me. This is about all of us. The power is in the collective.
What are your opinions on who has financial access to abortions? Do you see a wealth divide? In your interview with journalist Jessica Gotlieb, she pointed out that rich women only need to hop on a plane to visit a state where abortions are legal.
JANE: There is a vast wealth divide that decides who can and who cannot access an abortion. I’m well aware of the privilege I had in being able to pay for my abortion outright. Many women, in fact, I would argue most, cannot afford the procedure simply out of pocket. If I did not have the financial means to pay for my abortion, I would have gone to serious lengths to have made it possible.
Women are faced with that reality everyday. It’s madness to witness the inequality of wealth distribution in our social programs. A much larger portion of my tax dollars feeds our defence program than our health programs. If I had any say in how my tax dollars were allocated, I would direct all my hard earned tax dollars to education programs and women’s health organisations.
Why wait until this year to launch the site and publish the photos?
JANE: It was a strategic move on my part. This is an election year and women’s rights are centre stage. It’s important for all of us to remember that women’s rights are human rights. What happens now influences women and men alike. We live in precedent setting times, so let’s progress forward. Everyone must have the right to make an informed decision over their personhood. Our time is now.