Sep 032010

I had my first abortion three days ago and I’m not sorry. At 27 and on the hunt for a full-time job, I’m frankly not ready to be a mother, though I plan to be someday. My main method of birth control when I became pregnant was the copper IUD (supposedly a 1.26 per cent failure rate). I’d been using the device effectively for one year when a positive pregnancy test after Christmas proved otherwise. At the time, my boyfriend and I were frequently using condoms thanks to a recurring yeast infection.

I was horrified when I found out I was pregnant. My horror turned to panic after reading about ectopic pregnancies, which occur in roughly 20 per cent of all IUD pregnancies. Thankfully the pregnancy was normal and my doctor, stunned that I got pregnant with an IUD properly in place, said removing the device might trigger a miscarriage. I wanted that to happen but unfortunately it didn’t.

I immediately told my doctor that I was considering abortion, and after talking with my boyfriend and some close friends, I decided that it was the best option for me. I don’t deny that it was a difficult emotional time for me but I knew that I was making the right choice. I think it is possible to make the decision out of love. I want my children to have better opportunities than what I would be able to offer right now.

Terrified of hospitals and medical environments in general, I was scared shitless at the prospect of having an abortion. It doesn’t help that abortion propaganda and vilification is rampant in my part of the world – eastern Canada – even though abortion here is legal, FREE, and widely available in community hospitals (accessibility is a problem in provinces like New Brunswick and Newfoundland). Overall, it’s considered a NORMAL MEDICAL PROCEDURE, which it is.

Still, you can’t wave your hand without poking a right-wing bible-thumper in the face – plenty of ‘CHOOSE LIFE’ signs scar farmer’s fields and bumpers in my rural community. Funny how zealots who talk about ‘allowing nature to run its natural course’ have no qualms seeking medical intervention for their cancerous prostrates or hardened arteries. It’s a disgusting double standard that all women must fight.

I also tire of the casually dismissive, self-righteous tone that some people have towards abortion. Out of sheer good luck they have not faced an unwanted pregnancy but are always the first to quip, ‘I’m totally pro-choice, but if it were me, I would NEVER have an ABORTION!’ Give it a rest.

Unlike a lot of writers on this site, when my pregnancy was confirmed I was not subjected to unnecessary testing, counselling, or scanning. There was no ‘are you absolutely sure this is what you want?’ codling from strangers and I wasn’t left struggling to come up with a reason that was good enough. I guess the fact that I am a woman AND therefore an adult capable of making up my own mind was not lost on anyone. I simply phoned my doctor’s office and was given a time later that week to have it done. My decision was respected the whole way through and I wish that all women would be treated in the same professional manner. I was not even told exactly how advanced the pregnancy was, though according to my dates I was nine weeks along.

I was given a vaginal suppository to insert the night before the abortion. This turned out to be the most painful part of the process as it dilated my cervix and caused quite a lot of cramping, which meant I got very little sleep. A friend accompanied me to the hospital the next morning and I was taken to the day-surgery wing (not a fanatical protestor in sight) and then to a private room.

My nurse told me she’d had the D and C procedure twice before and that I had nothing to worry about. Her openness was an immense comfort to me. I was then whisked into the operating room where I was given a general anaesthetic for the five minute procedure. The abortion was performed by my own doctor and there was no pain. I woke up feeling slightly groggy but incredibly relieved.

I think that all abortions should be done under such humane conditions and it’s sickening that some so-called health care providers, even pro-choice ones, deny women adequate care or pain relief during abortion. The fact that many women pay up to $1000 for the service, on top of other incredible expenses, only adds insult to injury.

I am so thankful that I live in a country where abortion is fully funded and where women are not psychologically, physically or financially punished for seeking an essential health service, NO MATTER WHAT THE REASON. I hope that this becomes the picture for women in all parts of the world. Thanks so much for this website – it is wonderful to honestly discuss abortion without the secrecy and stigma found in other forums.

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