'Putting up barriers': Raleigh woman reflects on her abortion experience as a teenager

Jamiese Price Image
Friday, June 30, 2023
Raleigh woman reflects on her abortion experience as a teenager
EMBED <>More Videos

North Carolina's new abortion ban is set to start July 1.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Mary Lucas has stayed silent for nearly 20 years. Now she is openly sharing what happened to her in high school.

"I haven't talked about it, there's just been a stigma," she said. "When I was 15, going on 16, sophomore, going as a junior in high school, I had an abortion. It's not like I had to, but I chose to, " Lucas said.

A choice she made hoping to preserve her youth by not becoming a mother. Now at 35 years old, Mary has found her voice and shares her story without shame.

North Carolina's new abortion law, set to start July 1, has pushed her to speak out even more.

"I think the first time I heard about it, I got- goosebumps, I've cried. I've felt it you know, but deep down, it's not really affecting me and my ability to have an abortion. I think this bill is affecting more of our marginalized communities," said Lucas.

Before Senate Bill 20 was passed the state banned the majority of abortions after 20 weeks. On Saturday, the new restrictions ban most abortions after 12 weeks. The law also requires more in-person visits before an abortion can take place - a requirement Mary feels is out of reach for many women.

ALSO SEE: Federal judge rules most aspects of North Carolina's 12-week abortion ban can begin Saturday

"That's putting up barriers for our marginalized communities that maybe couldn't take off a day of work for three different appointments before they even choose to do this. So I think I was in a point of privilege to be able to do that," Lucas said.

As she reflects on her lived experience, Lucas is on the other side of the new law advocating for a woman's right to choose. But women like Tami Fitzgerald with North Carolina Values Coalition disagree with Lucas's stance and said in this case babies win.

"Babies that are 13 weeks and older will have the right to life in North Carolina, and what a huge victory for these babies. How wonderful that they will have the opportunity to experience life," said Fitzgerald.

Lucas said she has found some solace in knowing sharing her story helps break down barriers for women who are still afraid of the stigma.

"I'm grateful that I can be the voice for other women who can't share their story or who aren't comfortable sharing their story, but I hope that more people speak out," Lucas said.