Abortion laws cause Texas women to speak out

Amira Van Leeuwen | Staff Reporter

AUSTIN, Texas – On the first day of her sophomore year of high school, Michelle Browning, now 54, met a dark-haired boy on her school bus. Browning held an address book that displayed a little Garfield cartoon on the cover.

“The first time I ever saw him…oh gosh…my heart melted,” Browning said.

Browning was 15 when she first discovered she was pregnant with the dark-haired boy she met on the bus on that very first day. As a young, shy, studious high school girl, Browning lacked the self-esteem to tell him she was pregnant.

“When I became pregnant, it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I really wanted to have that part of him that would love me,” Browning said. “And I knew that if I went ahead and proceeded to have a baby, I would just make a mess of everyone’s lives.”

She felt “paralyzed” while making the phone call to tell him she was pregnant.

“I need to talk to you,” she remembers saying.

“Well, I can’t, I have to study,” he said.

After that, Browning never collected the courage to tell him again. She remembers feeling desperation and hopelessness. In one instance, she was water skiing on Lake Travis with her family.

She was a decent water skier but remembered thinking to herself, “I wonder if I could fall hard enough that I would just knock this loose.”

She was skiing and crashed. It wasn’t until after a crash that knocked her out that Browning realized she needed to stop before she harmed herself.

“I can remember being home alone one day and just screaming and sobbing, beating on the walls; I was just so beside myself with despair,” Browning said.

So Browning turned to her older sister for help.

Late one morning in October of 1983, two months after her sixteenth birthday, Browning arrived at the clinic around the vicinity of Old Wharf and I-35, where she would soon have her first abortion. Not a single soul harassed, picketed or said cruel things to her. The staff was kind and compassionate to her. She felt very fortunate.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Browning said.

During the abortion, the doctor stopped and looked at Browning.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” he asked.

And she was.

“I have never doubted the choice that I made, it was the best outcome for all of us involved,” said Browning.

The relationship with Browning’s dark-haired young man ended when he went off to the Air Force Academy the following year. She remained friends with him for most of her adult life. Eventually, he graduated from the Academy and became a pilot. He flew refueling aircraft throughout conflicts in the Middle East, starting with the first invasion of Iraq, and later married a woman he was dating while in the Air Force Academy. They now have three children together.

“He’s had a happy life, and I have had a happy life,” Browning said.

The way their lives played out reaffirms the feeling that Browning made the right choice.

“I think about what our lives would have been like if I had had a baby at 16, that would have ruined everything that he had been working for,” Browning said.

Browning isn’t ashamed that she had an abortion.

“It would have surely ended my endeavors to go to college,” Browning said. “I would have just been this teenage unwed mother, or we’d have gotten married, and we would have never made it as a married couple, and I can see that now as an adult.”

Shortly after turning 21, Browning became involved with an older divorced man and father of two children. At that time, she was using The Today’s Sponge, a birth control sponge made from soft, squishy plastic. The sponge covers your cervix and contains spermicide to help prevent pregnancy.

She realized that she had no business distracting someone from staying entirely focused on the things they needed to be focused on, which was, in this case, the man’s existing children.

“I just don’t understand why this man is dating and doing fooling around with a college girl when he can’t even pay his child support and take care of his children,” Browning remembered her father saying.

“I felt like it was absolutely the best thing that I could do to avoid screwing up more than what I had already screwed up,” Browning said.

Browning was among the many Texans who gathered at the Austin Capitol on Oct. 2, 2021, to protest Senate Bill 8 (SB8) and a woman’s right to choose, wielding a sign that said: “Ask Me About My Abortion.”

Senate Bill 8 (SB8) bans all abortions at approximately 6 weeks and makes no exceptions in the case of rape, incest or sexual abuse. The anti-abortion law also gives citizens the right to report anyone who aids and abets someone getting an abortion with a reward of $10,000 per claim.

Planned Parenthood and other activist organizations describe the bill as one of the most extreme abortion bans in the nation.

SB8 bothers Browning. As a non-religious person, she resents having religion be why her health care choices are made for her.

“I just feel like it’s really motivated by religious beliefs,” Browning said.

She’s very disenfranchised by elected officials from Texas.

Browning believes this law does not have anything to do with protecting babies or protecting women or healthcare but is merely politics.

“They’re effectively putting a bounty that anyone who has nothing to do with any of this, can try to pursue, and that is over the line,” Browning said.

When Browning’s mother was a teenager, abortion was not legal but people still tried to have abortions. Some would travel to Mexico, and others would find someone who would agree to perform an abortion. Young women often died or fell ill with infections after.

“That’s part of the reason I just feel such despair, is the only word I can think of,” Browning said. “Such sadness and such despair that the ability to have a safe and legal abortion is being taken away from so many young women or women, it doesn’t matter what age.”

Browning plans on donating to Planned Parenthood, seeking lobbying groups and trying to find ways to support appeals to the Supreme Court.

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One Comment

  1. Dear Ms. Van Leeuwen

    I would like to point out something obvious: most men have no idea just how important
    the right to kill a child is to a woman. The reason it is so important is that the threat of
    pregnancy threatens to unravel the entire lifestyle of all modern women, and this
    lifestyle is the cornerstone of their entire existence.

    If there was no abortion, women would have to consider their sexual decisions.

    That’s why it’s so important to women to have abortion as an option, because without it,
    the sex party would basically end if they knew that any man they had sex with could be
    the permanent father of their child. Without abortion, women would still have sex outside
    of marriage, and they might even still have sex with strangers sometimes, but they would be
    much, much more deliberate in their choices. Nor would they chase bad boys who “make
    their heart melt” and then cry, ‘Oh boo hoo, now he’s threatening my lifestyle.’

    They would automatically start rushing to the best men. This would give men leverage to make
    demands from them. Hence, “the best men” for potential fathers would not be the men who
    women now consider to be “the best men”. In short, there would be a lot less reckless decisions if
    women had to face the consequences of their own choices. Mind you, men do NOT and cannot force
    a woman to undergo abortion, –she is in charge. And if she does not, he is ordered to support the child.

    Of course, the whole problem wouldn’t be solved – women could still leave men and take their money.
    However, the number one reason that women leave men is to go on sex adventures, so with the sex
    adventure curtailed, they would have much less reason to break up families. Ultimately, you would have
    to solve the issue of family courts, that is, if you want to fix families. You would have to decide that men
    keep the children, because they have the money – not decide that “men give their money to women so
    they can care for the stolen children.”

    More slutting, more gay anal pride, more pedophile tranny promotion, more drug addiction, less freedom.
    However, the abortion “problem” is a lifestyle problem created exclusively by the female.

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