Hillsboro mom shares abortion stories in hopes of ending stigma, shame

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 6:32 PM PDT
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HILLSBORO Ore. (KPTV) - Marchel Marcos was in Washington DC the day that the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, ending a nearly 50-year ruling that made abortions legal in every state in the nation.

“I immediately felt like I needed community,” Marcos said. “I went down to the rally.”

Marcos is 29, lives in Hillsboro, and is the political director for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.

She’s also a loving mom of two boys that she adores.

“It makes such a difference to choose when you can have a family.”

It’s something Marcos knows first-hand.

“I got pregnant in high school the first time I ever had sex, at 15, and I come from a very conservative family,” Marcos said. “I went to a Christian private school my whole life, so once I found out I was pregnant I was terrified.”

So, she got on a bus with a friend, went to planned parenthood in Hawaii and had an abortion in the state where she grew up.

Marcos said she moved on, graduated high school and moved to Oregon for college.

She had her first son, now ten, and then her second son, now six – but Marcos said at home, she was a victim of domestic violence, and got pregnant immediately after giving birth to her youngest son.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can be raped or sexually assaulted by somebody you are in a relationship with,” Marcos said. “I just wasn’t ready to have another newborn and having to navigate that, so I got an abortion again and I truly think that helped me navigate my career, childcare, all the different things I was already thinking about with having a newborn.”

Marcos says she never wavered on her decisions. She got out of that bad relationship and even became an advocate for abortion access, but she also didn’t expect to ever tell her story publicly.

She told Fox 12 she couldn’t bear to bring shame to her family.

It was her own mother who changed her mind three years ago.

“When she finally told me that there’s no shame in making a choice for yourself – like what a relief, what a weight lifted off my shoulders to hear that from somebody that raised you,” Marcos said.

For Marcos, shedding the stigma is part of the journey that is still not over.

“I think when we normalize these conversations and can share our stories, it really empowers other people to navigate their own decision-making,” Marcos said.

“I want people to move away from the shame that I felt when I was navigating that with my family,” Marcos said. “I want people to move away from it only being about the medical necessities to a save a life and to truly just be because I wasn’t ready and didn’t want to have a child at that time.”

Sharing her voice and her family -- a part of life that statistics can never show.

“We’re happy,” Marcos said, (“My kids) are thriving, and I just know that I made the right decision for myself and the family that I have.”