When I first walked into the clinic, I was bracing myself. The clinic was closed – it doesn’t take patients on a Tuesday, just Maria the medical steriliser doing some paperwork upstairs and Suraya the receptionist organising bookings and interstate patients for later in the week behind the front desk.
I was in an abortion clinic for the first time – and I’m not sure what I thought I would see, but whatever I expected to jump out at me, it wasn’t there.
Suraya gave me a tour, and the camera crew – just one camerawoman and a sound guy – explained how patients first arrive, then see a nurse, then consult with the doctor, then consult with the anaesthetist, then go in for the procedure and then spend time in the recovery area, they don’t leave until they are deemed ready to go by nurses. She has to fend off partners and family members who are anxious to pick up their girlfriend, wife, daughter, sister or mother – clients won’t be leaving until the anaesthetic has worn off and they’ve been fully briefed on aftercare.
After nine weeks at the clinic, Maddie discovered there are as many reasons for abortion as there are women who have them. Post continues below.
I was there to begin making a documentary for the ABC about what it means to work in an abortion clinic. I spent the next three months working alongside nurses, doctors and support staff helping to provide women safe and legal abortions.