ShameLESS, Without Regret

by Kim Rippere, follow her on twitter

My abortion story is 30 years long.

When I was 18, I had a one-night stand and stupidly used the pullout method. Without any testing, I knew I was pregnant pretty quickly; but, like many teenagers (with brains that are not fully developed), I chose to ignore it. I knew the problem wasn't going away, but ignoring seemed like the best option. As a 47-year-old woman I now wonder how I could have ever made such a decision to ignore something so important.

I told two people: my best friends. Both were and are very different. One was another young woman who lived in the same medium sized town. The other was a guy who lived 3,000 miles away. He was the first person I told and he eventually became my husband, and, although we have divorced he is now still my best friend.

But getting back to my 18 year-old self. Lunch was getting earlier and earlier. I was just so hungry. Then the final straw. I went shopping with my Mom to Plums in the San Fernando Valley and she said I was “thick” in the middle. I knew I had to do something. I was also terrified that I was too many weeks pregnant to get an abortion.

Somehow, I figured out where I could get an abortion in my local community. My local friend took me to the clinic and brought me home. Honestly, I do not remember anything from the procedure; other than the relief that, given how pregnant I was, they were willing to perform the operation.

My friend brought me home with some medication and all was well. I screwed up the medication some, but no harm. This friend fell off the radar and was never heard from again. Odd, but her choice and whatever.

Fast forward 30 years to Facebook. Don't all good stories include Facebook?!? I moved quite a bit as a child and remember my middle school friends better than some high schools friends. Having an unusual last name, people started finding me and we had some short chats to reignite the ties (when I remembered them, sadly not always). But, mostly, nothing came of these.

Then, my friend who disappeared after my abortion found me. I accepted the friend request and thought “hmmm.” Whatever, it cannot hurt. One day I brought up what had happened via private message. She apologized! Turns out she is deeply religious, against abortion, and has had some of her own trials and experiences over the years that taught her “grace.” Her word. It never occurred to me that she might have had her own opinions about my choice and that was why she disappeared! As a 47-year-old woman, how could I never have considered that she might have had feelings about my abortion?

My abortion and fetus is something she gave great thought to over the years. A completely different reaction than my own; I put the whole thing behind me and didn't give it another thought. I wasn’t in denial, it just wasn't a big deal in my life. I don't think about my foot operation much either.

I have never regretted this decision and cannot imagine my life if I had made any other decision. I have been telling people since I was ten that I didn't want kids. I am and will always be childless by choice. Having the ability to choose a child-free life is of fundamental importance to me. I had an abortion and I am #shameLESS.

WLP 2012 Highlights: Our Feminist Future

Originally posted at


WLP/GSA Washington Prep, Day of Dialogue

2012 was an amazing year for WLP students and alumni.  Our girls made tremendous strides in leadership, public speaking, writing, college matriculation and academic excellence. In an era in which girls of color are routinely demonized in mainstream media and the dominant culture as hypersexual vixens and "baby mamas," WLP students have been leaders for feminist social change in their communities, teaching about and pushing back on gender justice. 

Leadership Outreach and Peer Education
WLP Wash Prep & GHS developed and facilitated Days of Dialogue, HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice, sexual assault awareness, AB540, media literacy and voter awareness presentations
WLP Wash Prep students registered new voters at Wash Prep and Duke Ellington HS
WLP launched Wash Prep's Gay/Straight Alliance
WLP students and alum developed and presented at the HRC’s annual Youth Media Education Conference
WLP alum joined with community partners Black Women for Wellness and FUEL to conduct four college panels at Wash Prep, GHS and Cal State Dominguez Hills
WLP Wash Prep president Jamion Allen spoke before the LAUSD Human Relations Commission on bullying and harassment

WLP presents on the 2012 election, health & reproductive justice policy

WLP Wash Prep sponsored Chicano student movement activist and change agent Paula Crisostomo for Women's History Month & the Women of Color Speaker Series


Karly Jeter, Posse Winner '13


WLP GHS alums (class of '12) Janeth Silva, Brenda Briones, Liz Soria, and Jimena Villa formed a post high school AB-540 group called The Five DREAMers.  
Academic Excellence
WLP GHS member Karly Jeter (class of '13) won a full four year Posse Foundation Scholarship to the College of William & Mary in D.C.
WLP Wash Prep member Victory Yates (class of '13) was a finalist for a Posse Foundation Scholarship to Grinnell College
WLP GHS president Miani Giron (class of '12) won full scholarships from the Posse Foundation and the Horatio Alger Foundation

WLP GHS seniors & alum Lizeth Soria, Janeth Silva, Imani Moses, Brenda Briones, Mayra Burunda, Clay Wesley (class of '10), Miani Giron, Jimena Villa and Ronmely Andrade received community leadership "First in the Family" scholarships from the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable and the Wells Fargo Foundation

Mayra Borunda (class of '10) made the President's List at CSU Long Beach during her first semester with a GPA of 3.8 and is currently on the Dean's List with a GPA of a 3.67.

Brenda  Briones (class of '12) got a 4.0 during her first college semester


WLP alum Liz Soria withDiane & Sikivu

WLP Wash Prep, Victory Yates
Posse Finalist, '13

"In my home and in my community I have always understood that a higher education is not as important as having kids and staying home to clean and cook like a “real woman/ wife” does. 
I think of Women’s Leadership Project (WLP) as the light in the darkness. As a senior at Gardena, I had no hope or desire to go to college before WLP. I used to think it would be impossible for me to attend college because I’m undocumented."

–Liz Soria

“After listening to (deputy city attorney) Heather Aubry talk about the challenges facing African Americans in the legal field I think I can make it through law school too…I felt much more motivated to pursue a legal career. ”

–Victory Yates

WLP interns and alums, Marlene, Imani, Mayra & Clay
Class of 2010 & 2011


“I never really questioned how the media portrays women of color. So, having WLP teach us how to observe and analyze the media helped me understand why young girls feel pressured to have ‘that long hair,’ ‘those blue eyes’—even if they are contacts, and “that nice body.” Aside from learning how to recognize these issues, we also did a lot of work to fight things that like sexual harassment. I know some people may say, ‘oh, just ignore it,’ but it’s not ok to ignore sexual harassment because by staying quiet, you begin to normalize it.”
–Imani Moses, Class of ’11 (CSULB)
Media & Publication
Articles by WLP GHS members Janeth Silva, Brenda Briones and Miani Giron were featured in the Feminist Wire, L.A. Progressive, USC Intersections and KPCC blog
Articles on WLP’s work by Sikivu Hutchinson and Diane Arellano were featured in the Feminist Wire, Racialicious, Arizona State University’s LeadCast blog, the American Humanist Association, Free Inquiry, Black Agenda Report and Alternet

Brenda Briones, author,
"Repro Justice Could
Save Lives…"


"Reproductive justice recognizes that women of color are impacted by a lack of access to reproductive health services and outdated machista views of sex and sexuality in our communities. It is a human right for a woman to choose when and/or if to have children."


Janeth Silva, author,
"Undocumented & Unafraid"

"It is difficult to put into words the feelings that come over me each time I see military recruiters targeting my fellow peers. I’ve learned to recognize that look in their eyes when they know they’ve spotted an insecure senior who doesn’t have top grades and isn’t sure what to do after high school. From my point of view, they look like hungry lions hunting for meat. They lure students with false promises and use our hopes and dreams against us."?