Cazembe Murphy Jackson is a 37-year-old transgender man intent on sharing the story of his abortion with the world.
Today marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court giving Americans control over when—and if—they have children. It’s been under constant attack since becoming law in 1973, and might be facing its greatest threat now: Last week, the Trump administration announced a new division in the Department of Health and Human Services devoted to protecting health-care professionals who refused to perform abortions on moral or religious grounds.
Jackson is sharing his story as part of the National Network of Abortion Funds’ We Testify project, which is expanding people’s perceptions about who seeks reproductive health care and why.
“The thing that motivated me to tell my story—beyond just having had an abortion—is that I want to help amplify the voices of trans-masculine and other nonbinary folks who also need access to abortion and other kinds of family planning,” Jackson, a community organizer and writer based in Atlanta, tells NewNowNext. “I think it’s important for us to see ourselves represented in the reproductive justice movement, since oftentimes you only hear about women.”
“Everyone that has the ability to create and terminate pregnancies should feel welcome,” he adds, “whether we identify as women or not.”
Jackson was raped his junior year of college, and the assault resuled in a pregnancy.
“I went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion,” he recounts. “Getting an abortion is a complicated process in general. Mine was made harder and more complicated by the fact that I’m trans-masculine. I kept having to go through the process of explaining that it was me, and not someone else, who needed it.”
Thankfully, the staff at Planned Parenthood was respectful and informed.
“I was treated with so much care,” he says. “They called a rape crisis center, told them my story, and got me into counseling.”
Jackson was struggling with depression as a result of the assault, and says, “I honestly believe that having access to the abortion and to therapy saved my life.”
Bringing stories like his out from the shadows and into the public eye has been one of the reproductive-right movement’s most impactful tools.
On social media, people are using the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion to tell their stories. Jackson admits sharing his has been intimidating at times, it’s also made him stronger.
“Telling your story about abortion can be a very lonely isolating thing,” he says. “Anti-abortion folks can be very demeaning, mean, and offensive. But doing it together makes it easier to be brave, because it’s not just one of us—we’re all in this together.”