Earlier this week, Alabama’s Governor signed into law a bill which would effectively ban nearly all abortions, except in cases where the health of the mother is at risk. Doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion, and there are no exemptions for rape or incest.
So far this year, 16 states in the US have introduced legislation to restrict abortion rights, and there are fears that Republicans will ultimately overturn the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision legalising abortion.
In Australia, despite the fact that between one quarter and one third of women will have an abortion in their reproductive lifetime, it remains a criminal offence in New South Wales.
For many women, however, access to abortion has given them the opportunity to live a life they otherwise may not have had.
How women deal with the abortion differs from one woman to the next – whilst some explain they felt very “alone” throughout the procedure, others talk about how it brought them much closer to those around them.
Mamamia has spoken to five women about the time they had an abortion, and how it changed the trajectory of their life.
I was 27. I’d had a one night stand with a guy I met in a bar. I was on the pill but about six weeks later, I realised my breasts felt sore and I was nauseous all the time. I took a test and discovered I was pregnant. I knew straight away I couldn’t have a baby. I was living in a shared house in London with four other girls and only earning just enough to get by. I was making progress in my career in journalism and knew I had to focus on that if I was ever going to get to the place I wanted to be. Plus, I wasn’t in a relationship.
It was about a week before Christmas. I called Marie Stopes (UK abortion charity) and they couldn’t fit me in until early January, which made the festive period really tough as I didn’t tell anyone in my family. First week of January I went for the abortion pill (I didn’t have to pay as it’s a charity). First pill was fine. But next day went back for the second one and threw up violently right after taking it. I was then told I’d have to wait another two weeks before I could go back. It was horrible, obviously.
About a week later, I started to bleed and so passed the pregnancy. But it should have been a lot simpler than it was.
That said, I know I was unlucky. I don’t regret the decision in the slightest. The year after, I moved to Australia to further my career and I’ve done some incredible things in my life since then that I couldn’t have otherwise have done. I want to have a family when I am ready financially and emotionally.