A Woman Who Had An Abortion At Mississippi Clinic Shares Her Story

SMS
A Woman Who Had An Abortion At Mississippi Clinic Shares Her Story
Mississippi's only abortion clinic will close soon, after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The neighborhood that surrounds the little pink house, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, looks like a scene from the 1950s — a time when abortion was illegal and women resorted to what usually turned out to be unsafe and deadly methods in order to have the procedure.

Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973. Now, thousands have visited the clinic every year.

But it isn’t easy to make the trip there. For many it takes a lot of soul searching, tears and healing.

In 2013, a fresh, unique coat of paint turned the Jackson Women's Health Organization from a muted color to bright pink as a way to show solidarity with women.   

Over two decades earlier in 1992, the JWHO was one of eight abortion facilities in Mississippi. Lawmakers spent years chipping away at these venues. The ACLU says by 2014 new state laws had painted a new landscape in the magnolia state; only two abortion facilities and one clinic were left. Just a few years later, the pink house became the only house to service women looking for abortions.

Astria Goolsby was 16 years old, a basketball player and in love.

"I was a very ambitious young lady," Goolsby said. "I saw myself being successful. I saw myself going to college. I saw myself getting out of this small town, and one day I was pregnant."

Today she’s an accomplished personal fitness professional.

"We also have trainers that can help you walk after a stroke," Goolsby said. "We have trainers that can, I mean, help you after while you're pregnant, after you're pregnant. So we just specialize on working with individuals who have some sort of need or limitation versus just 'I want a six pack for a spring break.'"

Goolsby says she went back and forth about what to do but that ultimately, she says her family had other plans for her.

"There's nothing happy about going in," Goolsby said. "There is not a place you go in and in there saying, 'Oh, so glad we got out from outside those protesters. Now, where's the popcorn?' It's not how it is in there. It’s traumatic enough to have to walk in, it’s traumatic enough to have to make the appointment, it’s traumatic enough to have to Google and find out 'where can I go?' You know, the process of healing afterwards, whether you need a lot of healing."

It was a valuable lesson — one she occasionally focused on to keep from making it again.  

At the age of 30, she moved into that 1950s-looking, artsy district of Jackson, Mississippi and ended up having to face her experience. 

Now a successful businesswoman, Goolsby says she’s been blessed to be around people who have not been judgmental, though sooner or later a reminder brings up the sometimes triggering decisions and conversations.