By Ana Rodriguez
I’m the daughter of traditional Catholic Mexican immigrants. They are loving, supportive, and have sacrificed so much to give me the life I have now. I know they would do anything to support me regardless of what I’m struggling with. Well almost anything, I know that if I ever faced a situation where I wanted to have an abortion they would be horrified at even my consideration of this safe healthcare procedure.
I most likely wouldn’t even have the courage to share anything with them if I ever made the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Knowing that makes me incredibly sad – I’ve never lacked the unconditional love and support from my parents when facing a difficult period in my life and recognize this as an incredible privilege. Even when I left home to move in with my partner across the country without getting married first my parents sent me off with a blessing.
That’s why I was so drawn to the play we rewrote about a daughter seeking her traditional catholic mother’s support after making the decision to terminate a pregnancy. As I considered the mother’s internal struggle between her moral conviction and her unwavering love for her daughter I pictured my own mother’s anguish. I put myself in her shoes and tried to humanize that experience and perspective. How does someone push back against a deep seated faith, a lifetime of devotion and conviction of what’s right and wrong? How does someone who is horrified at even the consideration of abortion transform their beliefs and behavior to support a child’s decision to have an abortion? To me it was only a love for that child deeper than love for religion and beliefs that would overcome such dissonance. In our telling of this story I willed this mother’s love to be deep enough to push back against stigma, against tradition, and shame.
This story is a recognition of the unique challenges of navigating both the choice of abortion and our families in the face of a decision to have an abortion through the lens of our Latinx, Mexican, and Catholic culture. It’s also a recognition that abortion stigma, shame, and lack of support does not have to be the only outcome in our Latinx families. It gives me hope of finding this same support in my own family if I am ever to need it. I hope this depiction of how things could be inspires children to be courageous with their parents to speak their truth and seek support if they ever need it, and that it softens parents hearts and opens them up to provide the support their children need regardless of their own religious convictions or traditional beliefs.