Veronica’s Story

Almost in all my country abortion is illegal. Just in the capital city had been legalized since 2007. In the city where I live, it is illegal. It is not that you can´t get one. It’s just that you have to do it in the clandestine way. And it is expensive, or unsafe.

I’m 36 years old, the mother of 4 year old twins and a housewife since I knew I was expecting twins. A year ago my husband lost his job. So we’re experiencing very bad times. Our debts are huge and we’ve been selling our stuff to get money to survive. Suddenly, bad news, I got pregnant. I just didn’t want another child. Two is more than enough. And the timing was the worst.

After talking with my husband, I decided to visit my gynecologist. He’d been great with my last pregnancy, so I thought he would help me. Instead of that, he said he didn’t know how to do that and send me to see a doctor friend of him. I thought it was okay, but this new doctor was an old man, in a very scary office who said he couldn’t give me the pills, because as I never gave birth but had a c-section I will need a surgical intervention in a hospital. And it will cost me about a thousand dollars as it is illegal.

I had no money to pay that. So I did some research and found out that in the capital city, they will provide me the service in the public health program paying a small fee (about a hundred dollars) as I’m not a resident of the city. Great! But the public health program is very deficient and never enough to attend all the people who need it. So I had to stand in a line starting at 3:00 a.m. to get one of the four turns they give every day (usually there are more than 12 people waiting for a turn), then wait until 8:30 in the morning sitting in the street to be received in a group with the other 3 women by a nurse who told us nothing really important. The whole process to be attended kept me from 3:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. waiting. Then, they made me an appointment for the next week.. So I came. And I waited, almost 3 hours to see the doctor. She was very kind, made me an ecography and told me that due to the weeks of pregnancy I needed a manual vacuum aspiration. And then she made me another appointment for a few days later (I had been fasting for hours and there was no procedure yet). She also told me they used a local anesthesia, just like the dentist does, and gave me a recipe for pain killers and antibiotics and two pills of misoprostol, which I had to put under my tongue at 5 a.m. the day of the procedure expecting to feel any kind of side effects like diarrhea, fever, shivering, vomiting or intense bleeding.

And so the day came. As I couldn’t bring my daughters, they stayed at home with my husband. I took a bus to get to the city where a friend was going to accompany me to the clinic. I started shivering and trembling at about 6:00 a.m. It was a hell of a bus trip. I was expecting to bleed, but the blood never came. The nurse told me to walk, so the bleeding would start. And I walked for almost two hours, but it never happened. Then, finally the time came. The nurses were vey kind. But then I realized that there were using a painkiller shot instead of anesthesia. Maybe, as the doctor said my pain resistance wasn’t very high. I just know it hurt a lot. She also told me that I had to hang on, because in the clinic they didn’t have anesthesiologist for these procedures. I felt it took a long time, as I was in pain, but about 20 minutes later, everything was done. Right after the aspiration was finished, the nurses handled me my lunch. A few minutes later I was on my way home, feeling as if I had been knocked out. It took a full week to feel a little less painful and swollen.

I think that maybe the abortion is no longer illegal in this big city, but the process to get one is punishment enough. It should be easier, emotionally safer, friendly, especially if you are paying for the service. And you are exercising your right of choice. Even though I’m not sorry.