- Jessy Rosales got an abortion at 20 while she was in college.
- She used “every single penny” in her checking account to pay for the $800 procedure.
- Now 26, Rosales is financially stable living in Los Angeles with a career she loves.
When she was a 20-year-old college student, Jessy Rosales found out she was pregnant. “I was heavily dependent on my FAFSA [student aid] money, and also worked a really shitty part-time job on my campus,” Rosales tells Insider. At the time, she didn’t have financial support from her parents and didn’t have a car.
Now 26, Rosales lives in Los Angeles, pursuing a career in reproductive justice and advocacy work that has led to her financial stability. She credits the abortion she had at 20 with her success today.
Rosales had to wait 3 months to get an abortion
UC Riverside, the college Rosales was attending, didn’t have an ultrasound machine to help Rosales find out how far along she was in her pregnancy. “At the time, California public universities were not equipped to help pregnant students,” she says.
“Despite me having been on
, I was still having very irregular menstrual cycles. So when I found out I was pregnant at the end of September, I went through a bunch of hurdles to try to get an abortion — and I wasn’t able to get one until December.”
In an interview with Mother Jones, Rosales said she was referred by her campus clinic to a family-planning clinic, which didn’t actually offer abortion-care services. The family-planning clinic referred her to yet another clinic that made her wait weeks for an appointment, just to find out that they didn’t take her health insurance. Finally, Rosales went to Planned Parenthood, where she was told that she was at least 16 weeks into her pregnancy.
After overcoming multiple hurdles, Rosales paid $800 for a second-trimester abortion
If you find out early enough about an unplanned pregnancy, you may be able to get a medication abortion that uses pills to end the pregnancy. According to Planned Parenthood, a medication abortion can take place up to 77 days after the first day of your last period. It can cost up to $750; However, it is covered by most health insurance plans and Medicaid plans. Planned Parenthood also says local branches can help patients find additional funding for a medication abortion if needed.
Unfortunately, because of the lack of resources at UC Riverside and medical appointment waiting times, a medication abortion was no longer an option for Rosales at 16 weeks. After a medication abortion, the next option is a surgical abortion, which costs an average of $549. At the time, Rosales says a surgical abortion in her first trimester would have cost her $300.
Neither the less-invasive medication abortion nor the more-affordable surgical abortion were available to Rosales, so she had to fork over $800 for a second-trimester abortion. “I used up every single penny in my checking account,” she tells Insider.
Her abortion allowed her to build a career she loves with financial stability
Since getting an abortion, Rosales has been sharing her story publicly in hopes that no one else has to go through what she experienced. She worked with the justCARE campaign to pass Bill 24, also known as the College Student Right to Access Act, which helps people in California public colleges access medication abortions.
The bill also allocates $200,000 per college for “medication abortion readiness,” which includes ultrasound machines,
services, and costs associated with training and hiring medical staff on campuses to give a comprehensive reproductive care to people of all genders.
Her advocacy work turned into a full-time job shortly after college, allowing Rosales to fulfill a lifelong dream of moving to Los Angeles. “I have a big-girl job now,” says Rosales. “I have a lot of financial freedom, but at the same time, I’m not in a place to start raising a family yet.”
She says, “I read somewhere that a parent can expect to pay close to $1 million to raise a child — not all at once, but over time. Had I not been able to afford my $800 abortion, there was no way I was gonna ever be able to afford to raise that child. That would have locked me into poverty forever, for the rest of my life.”