As I'm sure you all know, on Tuesday, Donald Trump said, in no uncertain terms, that women who have abortions should be subjected to "some form of punishment". He has since retracted the comment, backpedaling as he's known to do, but what's said is said.
And this is what I have to say.
I have already been punished over and over again for a choice that I made when I was a 19 year college student, unable to care for neither myself nor a cactus at that point.
I am punished every single time the legality of abortion comes into question, every time old white men discuss whether my decisions relating to my own body are valid.
I was punished when 3 different clinics stipulated that I had to go through "counseling" to ensure that I was "making the right decision" even though there was no doubt in my mind that I was doing what was right for me.
I am punished when I drive past Planned Parenthood on a beautiful Saturday afternoon & see protesters shaming women just like me.
I was punished when those same protesters, 20 years ago, yelled and screamed obscenities at me as I made my choice, even as I cried.
I am punished by others who think that I am not worthy of respect, that I am a criminal, that I am somehow a lesser human being than they are.
I am punished by my own silence these past three days, wanting to speak up, but afraid to share my story.
Twenty years ago, I made a choice that was legal. I made a choice that allowed me to pursue the life I have today. I made a choice that was right for me. I made a choice that I do not regret.
This is where it ends. I refuse to be ashamed any longer. I won't be punished anymore. By anyone.