CHOICE/LESS, Episode 04 – Kelly: How Do I Take Back My Story?

Jenn Stanley

CHOICE/LESS creates a platform for people to take back their stories from the dangerous, false, and shameful rhetoric surrounding sex, unplanned pregnancy, and reproductive rights. But coming forward requires bravery, because it can come at a price.

This episode is a perfect example of how anti-choice legislators and activists often try to advance their agenda by targeting those who speak out, and grossly misrepresenting their stories. In many cases, they will fabricate a false narrative entirely to silence and shame.

Kelly Fitzgerald is a 30-year-old writer who lives in Cape Coral, Florida, with her fiancé, Fernando, and their two cats. Kelly is three years sober. In the fall of 2012, she had an illegal abortion while living in Mexico, an event that she now credits with helping her on the path to sobriety.

In April 2016, Kelly wrote about this experience for an online publication called Ravishly.

Within weeks, it had been poached by a handful of anti-choice websites that used personal photos from her social media accounts to accompany defamatory headlines and stories filled with medical and scientific inaccuracies.

Anti-choice misinformation campaigns are far from benign. Last summer, the anti-choice front group, the Center for Medical Progress, began releasing a series of deceptively edited videos purporting to expose Planned Parenthood officials engaging in illicit trafficking of fetal tissue and organs. Though the videos were widely discredited, and their makers face felony charges for of tampering with a governmental record, they have inspired a wave of anti-choice legislation and an uptick in clinic violence and anti-choice terrorism.

Like many of the other CHOICE/LESS storytellers, Kelly has gone public with her abortion story in an attempt to combat the stigma surrounding the procedure and other reproductive health issues.

Kelly Transcript (pdf)