When she did not heed her own professional advice with regard to contraception: "It was my first pregnancy, and, full disclosure, I hadn't been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I'm a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control. Before this experience, hormonal birth control scared me because of complications I'd heard about from friends - gaining weight, depression, etc. So I tracked my ovulation cycle, and I didn't have any long-term partners. I thought I was OK. But, you know, things happen. I wound up pregnant."
Let's take a quick break and talk about quite a massive issue Letts has brought up. Letts was scared of hormonal birth control because of stories she had heard. From friends. Not from healthcare professionals. Not from her doula education. From anecdotes.
Even with Google it is important, in order to at least partially understand the reasons behind filming an abortion, to be aware this is how women (and people in general I suspect) glean their medical knowledge.
There are so many invasive medical procedures I think those who have a vulva and accompanying parts would like to see.
So let's move on. Letts was pregnant and the pregnancy was unwanted and unplanned, therefore she scheduled an abortion. "Patients at the clinic always ask me if I can relate to them - have I had an abortion? Do I have kids? I was so used to saying, 'I've never had an abortion butâ¦' While I was pregnant and waiting for my procedure, I thought, 'Wait a minute, I have to use this.'"
Letts was aware of a woman, Angie AntiTheist, who had filmed her medical abortion to show exactly what happened and get rid of any mystery, but could not find any videos of a person undergoing a surgical procedure. Having seen women come into the clinic where she works absolutely terrified in spite of the fact a surgical abortion is safer than giving birth, Letts chose to film her own procedure.
Both AntiTheist and Letts have received hate mail for their videos and pro-choice stance. In the Telegraph pro-choice Dina Rickman writes about how she believes it was unnecessary to film the procedure, saying it made her "squirm": "Letts's video is not what an abortion looks like. This is termination as performance. It's stylised, editorialised" But what everyone about to undergo the procedure I imagine the biggest question is 'will it hurt' and however stylised this short film is, it shows that physically it's clearly not too traumatic.
There are so many invasive medical procedures I think those who have a vulva and accompanying parts would like to see. A smear test, for example - which The Vagina Monologues failed to demystify. An examination at a GUM clinic perhaps? A how to on a self swab. An abortion is on a long list of things people would like to see presented frankly, rather than in anecdotal form.
In surgery Letts was not alone. All she wants to do is show people considering a termination, they will not be alone. And they will be OK.