A survivor of sex trafficking recently shared her testimony via video, pleading with Illinois lawmakers not to repeal the state’s last meaningful abortion restriction, a requirement that abortion providers notify a parent, guardian, or other designated representative when a minor girl is scheduled for an abortion.
Dr. Brook Bello experienced firsthand the lack of a safety net that comes when parents don’t have to be notified about their minor child’s scheduled abortion. “I was raped at 11 years old. I started being trafficked as a young teen,” Bello said. “Our traffickers made us get abortions. Had my parents been notified, my mother would have known what city I was in. She would have known what street I possibly would have been near. She could have contacted law enforcement.”
The abortions she experienced as a teen took a permanent toll on Bello’s gynecological health. Even after she was “happily married,” physical damage inflicted during the abortions caused her to suffer “miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage.” For years, her healthcare providers did not connect the dots between her past and her struggles with fertility. “But because I was so young, my doctor… didn’t understand that I had issues related to previous abortions. It wasn’t until later in life that my gynecologist said, ‘Oh, my God, what happened to you when you were young? Have you had any abortions?'”
Despite her best attempts to put her past behind her, Bello, who founded More Too Life to mentor other survivors and who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from former President Barack Obama for her efforts, was never able to carry a child to term due to the decades of untreated scar tissue from her teenage abortions.
She concluded her testimony by appealing to the politicians in whose hands the fate of the parental notification law rests.
“I ask the public, and I ask the Illinois legislature, ‘why would you want a child to keep something secret that’s going to affect the rest of her life?'” She continued, “I beg of you, I plead, Illinois, to not reverse and to please notify parents. I think that every state should notify parents. Why keep something a secret that affects someone for the rest of their life, and is absolutely connected to various issues of human trafficking and rape and violence that that youth is probably afraid to share? Give them a safe place to fall, and notify parents.”
Bello shared her testimony at the invitation of Parents for the Protection of Girls, a “coalition of Illinois leaders and parents striving to protect girls from the sexual exploitation and medical injury that would result from the repeal of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act.”
Live Action News has previously reported on the reasons behind the abortion industry’s aggressive advocacy for parental notification repeal as well as the ways that parental notification protects young girls here and here.
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