CHERRY HILL, NJ, May 6, 2014 ( – A 25-year-old abortion counselor who filmed her own abortion for a contest in March now says in a piece published in Cosmopolitan that she hoped her YouTube video would portray “a positive abortion story.”

“I know that sounds weird, but to me, this was as birth-like as it could be,” Emily Letts, a 25-year-old abortion counselor, said of her abortion experience. “I remember breathing and humming through it like I was giving birth.”

“It will always be a special memory for me,” added Letts, who says that she kept the sonogram and that if her apartment ever caught fire, it would “be the first thing I'd grab.”

At the end of her video Letts, an abortion doula at Cherry Hill Women’s Center, boasted, “I don't feel like a bad person. I don't feel sad. I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby, I can make a life.”


She posted the heavily-edited, three-minute-long video – which shows her in a medical setting for only one minute – online after winning the Abortion Care Network's “Stigma Busting” video contest. 

Although the video purports to depict an abortion, neither the abortionist nor the baby are shown at any time, with the camera remaining focused exclusively on Letts throughout. “I was a professional actress for many years. I loved acting,” she writes. “While I was pregnant and waiting for my procedure, I thought, 'Wait a minute, I have to use this.'”

The abortion facility wanted to use it, as well, she writes. “At first they wanted to sit down and talk about the real consequences of this. There are a lot of politics involved,” she says. “We knew we could have hundreds of protesters at our door; we could have bomb threats. Working at an abortion clinic, every once in awhile it feels like you’re working in a war zone.

“But,” she says, “I said, 'Bring it,' and they were on board.”

In the Cosmo article, Letts explains that she became pregnant after eschewing birth control because of its many side effects, and instead charted her cycle.  “I had them put an IUD in after the abortion,” she adds.

In the video, after the abortion Emily thanks the abortionist and nurse, saying, “Oh my God, you guys are my heroes.” As of this writing, her video has been viewed 64,087 times on YouTube.

Two months later, Letts still admires her handiwork, writing in Cosmopolitan that “every time I watch the video, I love it. I love how positive it is. I think that there are just no positive abortion stories on video for everyone to see. But mine is.”

Pro-life activists say they are appalled at the blasé indifference Letts shows about her actions. “Emily knows that women do regret their abortions and are speaking out more and more about that regret,” said Bryan Kemper of Stand True Pro-Life Outreach. “Ministries like Silent No More are giving women and men that voice to share with the world the devastation they feel when they realize what they have done. I highly encourage everyone to go to their web site and listen to the testimonies of these courageous men and women who are speaking out. ”

But not all of Letts' critics describe themselves as pro-life. “We are certainly pro- choice but her cavalier attitude and attempt to claim her fifteen minutes [of fame] had us all astounded,” wrote Marnie Waynethe on the website NeonNettle. “Abortion is not something to be taken lightly or glorified. It is for most women a heavy decision. Emily looks forward to her abortion and enjoys the process as if she were nipping in for a manicure.”

Letts is far from the first person to attempt to counteract studies and personal accounts showing that many women regret their abortions, a reality that was acknowledged by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote in his 2007 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart that “some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained.”

Jessica Grose, the former editor of the website Jezebel, wrote an essay in Slate calling for happy, “blithe and unapologetic” abortion stories. Meanwhile, Jessica DelBalzo similarly wrote that women should “venerate” abortion “wholeheartedly” in her essay, “I Love Abortion: Implying Otherwise Accomplishes Nothing for Women’s Rights.” She had already expressed gratitude for her “euphoric” abortion experience in an essay entitled, “My Happy Abortion.”

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In June 2013, former Seattle City Council member Judy Nicastro, who wrote in the New York Times that she was “grateful” her late-term abortion let her son die “in a warm and loving place.”

A woman who went by the name “Jane Young” posted images of her 2011 abortion on her website,, “to counter the perverse use of dead fetus images used by the anti-abortion movement.” 

At Think Progress, writer Tara-Culp Ressler welcomed Letts' video, writing that abortion advocates “hope that a greater number of women sharing their personal experiences could slowly help politicians make different choices about whether or not to restrict abortion.”

However, left unfiltered, many abortion stories are less exuberant. Last February, CNN asked post-abortive women to share their stories. Even many of the women that described the experience as overall positive still expressed deep regret.

Numerous studies have confirmed a link between abortion, depression, and suicide. In 2012, a team of Chinese researchers from Anhui Medical College found that post-abortive women were 49 percent more likely to experience depression.

A 2008 study by the University of Oslo concluded, “Young adult women who undergo induced abortion may be at increased risk for subsequent depression.”

In 2005, Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health (STAKES) studied the deaths of all women of reproductive age over a 13-year period (1987-2000). It found deaths from suicide, accidents, and homicide are 248 percent higher in the year following an abortion, while women who had given birth in the past year had the lowest likelihood of death.


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