By Washington DC Producer Fred Dimbleby
“There were horrible protesters who harassed me and chased me.
"I barely made it inside and I was alone at that time, I was by myself, and I was extremely frightened.”
When Bethany Van Kampen Saravia had an abortion aged 19, she came face to face with the toxicity surrounding the issue in the United States.
She was harassed by protesters, tricked by a fake clinic, and then faced the stigma so many have to deal with after having abortions.
Despite this, her abortion was a choice she could take for herself, one she says was “incredibly personal”.
But now millions of Americans are facing a world where they will no longer have the right to make that choice.
On Friday, the country’s highest court issued a ruling overturning the decision in Roe vs Wade, a case from 1973, where the court confirmed there was a constitutional right to an abortion.
Bethany describes her own experience of having an abortion
The decision revolutionised access across the country, but also led to backlash from those who oppose abortion.
Almost immediately, anti-abortion activists began appealing to the country’s courts and legislatures to limit the newly established right.
This process culminated in the court's decision on Wednesday in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organisation to overturn the countrywide right to an abortion.
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Bethany’s experience inspired her to become involved in pro-choice advocacy and she now works as a Senior Legal and Policy Advisor for Ipas, a global reproductive justice organisation.
She never imagined the right to an abortion would be “stripped away”.
“The US is in a very small minority of countries that are going backwards,” she says.
“In the past several years, we’ve seen dozens of countries liberalising their laws.
"They know abortion is healthcare, and they want abortion to be accessible because it will help save lives."
The Supreme Court's decision won't stop abortions from happening, Bethany notes
Bethany knows the impact criminalising abortion can have.
Her mother had an illegal abortion before the Roe decision was handed down by the court.
Thinking about her experience still angers Bethany.
“She had an abortion when she was a teenager…and she was taken to someone’s house at night in a secretive, clandestine nature.
"She was scared, she was frightened.
“She was told by that person that she could not make any noise because he had neighbours.”
Nearly half a century on there is, once again, no national right to abortion in America.
Despite this, Bethany thinks the provision and effectiveness of abortion pills will mean her mother’s experience is unlikely to be widely repeated.
“If people have accurate information and access to pills, they will self-manage their abortion safely and effectively and with dignity,” she says.
“It’s not going to stop abortions from happening, it’s going to make it much more difficult for people to access that care.
“Sadly, people will go to jail and providers will go to jail, and the thought of that happening here in the US is…deeply disturbing to me”.
Bethany says it's “terrifying” to think of her baby daughter growing up as many states have no access to abortion
Bethany now has a nine-month-old daughter, Vianna, and says it is “terrifying” to think about her growing up in a country where many states have no access to abortion.
However, she adds Vianna “is going to know that all of these people in her life, the people who care for her and who love her, they’ve had abortions and that abortion is healthcare, that abortion is safe, that abortion is normal.”
Despite the court’s decision, Bethany has not lost hope that abortion access will once again increase in America.
“It’s not going to be an easy task to turn the tide on this one, but I do believe that we can do it.”
“We have to remain true and loud to those values because we are right and abortion is healthcare and we have to just never yield on that.”