Melanie Repert was 17 when she found out she was pregnant. She decided not to have an abortion, but describes in her own words how her local clinic in Baltimore, Maryland was an invaluable resource that helped her understand her options; the clinic then helped her navigate her pregnancy without insurance.

By People Staff
March 04, 2020 07:00 PM
Melanie Repert
Credit: Melanie Repert

I was 17 when I learned that I was pregnant. I actually went to a local clinic, the Druid Clinic, with a friend who thought she was pregnant, and I took the test with her for emotional support because she didn’t want to pee alone. So, I peed with her, and that’s when I found out.

My immediate reaction was, “I’m 17!” I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I didn’t want to tell my mother. Luckily, the woman at the clinic was the sweetest. I think the color had drained from my face, so she sat me down and held my hand. She had this good vibe that was comforting and made me relax. She told me what I could do, and how to sign up for hospital visits if I kept the baby and what to do if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy.

I decided to keep my child — she’s now 18, and for me, it was the best decision I ever made. My family was able to help me and I was able to still get an education.

But during my pregnancy, I didn’t have health insurance and the clinic helped me with check-ups and everything I needed. They take you in whether you have insurance or not. Now the government is trying to take away funding for clinics and I don’t think it makes sense at all. They need to give women a place to go, whether it be for annual check-ups, abortions or just birth control. We need health care, so women like me have somewhere to go.

Guttmacher Institute
Credit: Guttmacher Institute

Even though abortion wasn’t right for me, the option needs to be there. Some people cannot take care of a child, and the right to an abortion needs to be on the table.

I’ve started sharing my story because I want everyone, including my two girls — my younger daughter is 17 — to know that not everybody is perfect, and even if you’re in a tough situation there’s always a light at the end of it. We need people to speak out for others who aren’t strong enough to speak for themselves.

  • As told to Julie Mazziotta
women's choices
Credit: Women's Choices, Women's Voices