By Ian Bush
CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — A counselor at a South Jersey women’s health center is sparking fierce debate across the world as a video of her undergoing an abortion goes viral.
Emily Letts says her video is a virtual way to hold the hand of a woman who’s confronted with an unexpected pregnancy.
“So many women feel alienated and alone when they’re making this decision, and feel like they don’t have the voice to speak about it,” she says.
Letts was in her first trimester when she had an abortion at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center, where she’s a patient advocate.
In the soundtrack of the video, a nurse can be heard telling Letts, “I’ll be by your side the whole time during the procedure. I’ll be here.”
The footage focuses on Letts’ upper body and shows her breathing through the surgery, under local anaesthetic. Online, the video has inspired some commenters to call her a killer.
Letts is measured in her response:
“A woman deals with her body her own way. Yes, that was a pregnancy that I terminated, and yes, that could have become a child. I have a special relationship with that pregnancy — it is mine, it is precious, and it is sacred for me.”
She says she wasn’t ready to be a mother, and doesn’t blame herself for not using birth control — even though she calls that a mistake.
“Adoption was not the right choice for me. I love adoption. And I love birth. But this is my own personal story. I would not be able to carry a child for nine months, have the most profound moment of my life giving birth, and then give the child away,” Letts told KYW Newsradio today. “If and when I have a child, I will be that child’s main support for love and guidance throughout its entire life. That will be my child, and I will be an awesome mother. That day is not today. Adoption was not the right choice for me; it is a great choice for other women.”
As for the passionate opinion on both sides of the abortion issue, Letts longs for some middle ground.
“All I ask from anyone who sees this video is, let’s understand each other and let’s embrace each other in our hard and traumatic moments. Let’s support women and trust women throughout all of them,” she says.