Married at First Sight's Jamie Otis Shares She Has Had Two Abortions
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Jamie Otis is speaking up for women everywhere.
Amid headline-sparking legislation out of several states restricting or nearly banning abortions, stars have come forward to speak about their own abortions, including the Married at First Sight star.
"I just cannot continue to sit in silence while women's fundamental human rights are being taken away. I am speaking up for HER," Otis wrote on Instagram. "I had an abortion. Twice. Is it something I'm proud of? Heck no! No one *wants* an abortion. It has left the most painful hole in my heart. But do I think women should be stripped of their right to choose? Absolutely not."
The reality star noted she had previously kept quiet on the subject after facing backlash when she wrote about it in her book, Wifey 101.
As Otis explained to People, she got pregnant at 18 years old with the first man she had sex with. While she said "in my family, you don't have abortions under any circumstances," the reality star elected to have one because she couldn't properly provide for a child at that time in her life.
"You're a teenager raising your 3 younger siblings all alone while your mom is off on drug binges. You're trying to keep food on the table, heat & lights on in the house, AND put yourself through college while working as a waitress," she explained on Instagram of her past. "You're not evil if you want to break the cycle of welfare, drug addiction, & raising fatherless children. You're not a monster if you want to raise children in a loving, stable, healthy environment."
She told People she got pregnant again while in nursing school. "I don't even want to admit that it happened twice, but here I am sharing my story so other women can feel that they aren't alone," Otis said.
Today, Otis is married to her husband of five years, Doug Hehner, whom she met on the first season of the TV series, and the two are parents to daughter Henley Grace. Otis has also spoken publicly about the miscarriages she has suffered during their marriage.
"After Doug and I got married, I knew my abortions were something he needed to know about me before we started our own family," she told People.
"My palms were sweaty when I told him. I knew this revelation could change things. But Doug's reaction couldn't have been more loving and supportive. He said, 'I'm so sorry you had to make this decision so young. That was so brave of you.' He saw my decisions from a point of view that was so completely different from mine."
More than a decade later, "my abortions still torment me and I hate that I had to have them," she told the magazine. "However, am I thankful? Of course. I wouldn't be able to be a good mother to my daughter right now or have been able to be a good parent to my siblings back then."
Now, she's also thankful for the lack of backlash regarding what she's shared and encouraged women to support each other.
"We can't hate on women and stifle their voices and their needs - especially if we haven't walked in their shoes. Instead, let's focus on education in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Let's lift victims up in support and let them know they matter & their voice is heard and respected," she wrote on Instagram. "Ladies, no matter what our belief is-we've got to support one another. Love is the only way we can truly make change in this world...we cannot standby & let men take away our fundamental human rights."