My name is Maria, I’m a first generation immigrant from Brazil, currently living in Oklahoma – which has been one of the leading states in the attacks to reproductive health that are happening across the country. Brazil, much like the United States, has been hit by a wave of conservative values the past few years, which tends to have serious implications on human rights.

I felt the need to share my story because it’ll hopefully show the perspective of someone who lived in a country where abortion is criminalized. Also, I would like to highlight how sex education fails us and makes it even more challenging to access care, even in sexual assault cases.

In 2014, while out with coworkers (cis men) and a cousin (cis woman), I was drugged and raped. As a consequence of that, I found out I was pregnant nearly two months after. At that point in time, I didn’t understand I had been raped. The perpetrators didn’t seem to understand how being under the influence of drugs would make me unable to consent.

Accessing health care was nearly impossible in my case. I hadn’t reported the sexual assault, I’d have no supporting evidence at that time, and I didn’t understand how the healthcare system worked in those cases. I did, though, know I wanted to terminate the pregnancy.

I confided in a friend who had a friend who knew someone. A month’s paycheck paid for the pills and I administered them at home, by myself and completely unaware of what was to come. It was a painful, scary and just overall emotionally difficult experience for me. Not only I was handling the process with no assistance, there was the fear that something was gonna go wrong, I’d have to go to the hospital and they’d know for sure. I was terrified.

It’s been almost 10 years and to this day I’m thankful for the people who provided care when my country failed me. And to this day, I resent the political decisions who put me in that position in the first place.

Seeing the United States go that direction brings back feelings of grieve, anger and helplessness. It won’t stop abortions from happening and they know it. So we might as well share our truth and make sure they can’t help but hear it.