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Compelling personal stories told by the people living them.

Editor’s note: This poem contains references to sexual assault and trauma.

I wrote this poem to help myself process the grief and anger I was feeling at the reversal of Roe v. Wade. I hope that having the courage to share it will inspire others to share their stories as well. Together, we can humanize those who are impacted by having lost their reproductive freedoms and protect those whose rights are currently on the line here in Pennsylvania. Our stories matter and so do our futures.

American Monsters

I was taken without permission, 
I was young, and shamed, and scared.
I’d close my eyes and try to dream, 
But the Monster was always there.

I prepared a plan alone in my room.
I researched where I could go.
In case I was pregnant at the age of sixteen,
By someone who I had told “No.”

The weeks went by and my cycle began,
Hallelujah! My secret stays mine!
I can keep it forever and eat the shame,
The Monster should fade with time.

Twenty years passed & the Monster still lives,
He stuck for decades in my mind.
But now it’s time to let my secret out,
For women’s rights are on the line.

In 2001, I had a plan,
One that would keep my future intact.
In 2022, the Monster has won,
I want our freedom back!

Maybe I’d be given an exception?
After all, it was an assault.
Of course, that’s if they believed me,
They’d probably say it’s my fault.

America, I want to love you,
But you have to love me in return!
So for now I’ll have two Monsters,
Because Roe has been overturned. 

—Poem by Stephanie Graf, a Pittsburgh resident and mother. If you want to reach Stephanie, please email

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