Baby killer. It’s harsh but it’s what many women are called when they decide to go through with abortion.
The topic is a touchy subject for a lot of people and because of the varying conversations that surround it, many choose to avoid it. But that doesn’t mean abortions aren’t happening. In fact, they happen quite frequently.
In 2014, it was reported that 81,897 women had abortions performed. And that doesn’t include women in Quebec or a couple of clinics in New Brunswick and British Columbia. It also doesn’t include the number of unreported abortions that happen daily. With that being said, statistics show that abortion rates have gone down each year between 2007 and 2014. Is it because people are abstaining from sex? Partially, but there’s more to it.
What’s most likely happening is an open conversation about sex and safe sex practices. The more we talk, the better educated we are on our choices and our bodies. Contrary to what some people believe, sexual education does not equal promiscuity. In fact, when compared to abstinence-only or little sex education, comprehensive sex education programs have been shown to significantly lower the risk of teen pregnancy.
Information is power and women need not be ashamed of the decisions they make or the options available to them.
To get a little more insight on one of the more controversial methods of birth control, we decided to speak with Rebecca, a 27-year-old woman who recently went through an abortion procedure herself.
How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?
As you can probably guess, there were a lot of emotions. Mostly anger at myself for being careless and confusion about what to do next. My period was about 2 weeks late when my partner and I decided it was time to get some pregnancy tests. I went to Dollarama and bought five. All tests came back positive, so for those questioning the legitimacy of dollar store tests – yes, they do work!
Well, that’s a fun fact about Dollarama. Did you know right away that you wanted to have an abortion?
Yes. I mean, there was some back and forth in my head but I knew that bringing a child into my life wouldn’t be fair to the child. I come from a very religious family and knew if anyone in my family found out, I would cause a lot of disappointment but in the end, it’s my life.
The exact moment I knew it was a hard yes came while I was lying in bed. I took a look at my apartment and it was a mess. I travel a lot for my job and knew that at that point in my life, I wouldn’t be able to continue working at the same pace if I chose to keep the child. And while my partner and I are in great jobs, we essentially still live paycheque to paycheque. Financially, a child would be a huge burden. I felt awful because although I knew it would ultimately be best for the child, it did feel like a really selfish decision; to put my career, finances, and social life before child rearing.
After you made the difficult decision, what were the steps you took?
First I went to my family doctor to confirm that those dollar store tests were, in fact, legit. My doctor then gave me a list of abortion clinics in and around Toronto – fortunately, there are lots. I chose one, called and booked an appointment. The process was very simple and I was able to book an appointment for the next day. It was a whirlwind process and I was very nervous.
What was the actual process like?
My partner and I went to the clinic together. When I got there, I was asked to fill out a form and pay a $50 fee. Afterward, I was brought into a waiting room. To my surprise, there were a lot of women there. Well, not a lot but around 5-10. After waiting a little while, I met with a nurse who I was able to talk to about how I was feeling. At that point, I was pretty talked out but they did offer to speak with me if I did ever need anyone to talk to. I was given an oral sedative and taken to another waiting room which had a few other women waiting to have the procedure done.
When it was my turn, I was seated in a bed with my feet placed in stirrups. There were three women and they were all very casual about the process – it was around the time Trump was running for president so they were all very chatty about that. I was given an IV with more medicine to help handle the pain and boy was there pain. With all the drugs, I was pretty loopy. They stuck something inside of me and for about 3-5 minutes, I experienced an intense pain that felt like really horrible period cramps. After I was done, I was taken to another room filled with a few other women who had also just had the procedure, la-z-boys, water, and cookies.
The office really runs like a well-oiled machine. Girls are in and they’re out. It’s all very calculated which made me feel kind of weird but also reassured me that the process was very safe and normal, though media doesn’t make it out to be.
Due to the medication, I felt very nauseous. I sat and waited until they said I could leave. My partner then walked me to pick up antibiotics, then to the car, and then home to rest.
Were there any after effects?
Physically, I bled for quite a long time. The doctor told me the bleeding could last anywhere from 1-4 months. I bled on and off for about two months. After the pain medication wore off on the first day, however, my body felt completely normal.
Emotionally, I was quite sad. I made the mistake of Googling what a baby looks like at 7 weeks (how far along I was,) and it tore me up inside. While I thought about it every day for the next few weeks, I still don’t regret my decision.
Was there anything surprising about the experience?
I spoke with one woman who I still think about today. She was new to Canada and like me, very nervous. She was there because she and her husband couldn’t financially afford to have another child – they already had a son. I think one of the biggest misconceptions about abortion is that the only people that go through with them are promiscuous women or girls. There is a bit of slut shaming when it comes to abortion when the reality is, a lot of the women I saw in the office that day were in loving relationships.
If you could give any woman advice about making the decision, what would it be?
That ultimately it is your life, your body, and your choice. It’s okay to be selfish. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Take a look at your options and choose what’s best for you. It is scary, it is confusing, it is sad. But in the end, if you do choose to have an abortion, it does not change who you are as a person, it does not make you a bad person and it’s not something you should be ashamed about. Talk it out. Talk to anyone you feel comfortable talking to about it. You will feel a lot better and it will help you make informed choices.
What are your thoughts on abortion? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.