Abortion Experiences in Brazil
Part two of “Abortion Experiences,” in which I am posting the interviews I conducted around a few women’s experiences with abortion here in Brazil.
“Before I found out that I was pregnant, I never thought I would get an abortion. Really, I didn’t. I believed that it was each woman’s choice, but I knew that for me, it wouldn’t be a choice. I am old enough, and I feel like I would be capable of having a child. And for me, abortion felt like ending a life. In my heart, I couldn’t deny that fact.
Until the day I found out I was pregnant. I had had sex twice within the past few months, and both times I had been protected, either with a condom or the pill. However, my period hadn’t shown up for a long time, so I took a pregnancy test.
I was really upset. I knew that I really wasn’t in a place where I could financially support a child, and I couldn’t put my career on hold right now. I wasn’t sure who the father was, and I doubted that if I were to have the child, the father would be present within its life. I decided pretty quickly that I had to have an abortion. This really tore me up inside. It wasn’t what I wanted to happen to me. And beyond that, I knew I couldn’t afford it, and I would have to borrow money from someone in order to make it work.
But in a certain way, I got lucky. When I went into the doctor to get an ultrasound, I found out that the embryo had not properly attached itself to the uterine lining, and the pregnancy was not viable. I was told that I would probably miscarriage within a few days, and if not, that I would need to come in for the procedure. But it would be legal, meaning that I wouldn’t have to pay the very high price for an illegal abortion. Also, and equally important for me, it meant that I was not ending a life. Life had never really taken hold.
I really believe that the baby understood that this wasn’t the moment for it to appear. I want to have kids. Desperately. I know I’ll be a great mother, and I plan on it. But I can’t right now, and it knew that.”
“I had recently changed pills when I became pregnant. I took it correctly, and everything, and I didn’t think there was anything wrong, until I had lots of cramps for a few weeks, and I didn’t get my period. And then I realized that I was pregnant.
I thought about it. But I am 23 years old, I haven’t graduated, and I’m not in a place to have a child right now. I’m not even with the father of the child. And that’s it, I can’t right now.
The fact that it was illegal wasn’t the problem, the problem was that I was worried that I might be imprisoned, or that something bad might happen during the procedure. I didn’t know what the conditions in the clinic were going to be, because they for sure weren’t the same as in a hospital.
When I first arrived to the clinic, there was a police car there, collecting his bribe, so I couldn’t go in until he had left. My boyfriend could not come in with me, and I couldn’t bring anything inside the clinic. I ended up waiting there for about 3 hours, with all sorts of women. There was a woman who already had a child, was single and with a lot of responsibility in her job. A girl who was going to do an exchange in the US, and knew she couldn’t have a child. There was also a 17 year-old girl there. I felt so bad for her.
When it was my turn they gave me something to knock me out. I woke up very groggy, and I don’t remember anything about the procedure. The place seemed clean, and they treated me well. But it still wasn’t the most comfortable place. They counted the money right in front of me, and you could tell that they were worried about being imprisoned again, since they had recently been shut down.
I believe abortion should be legal. It is already difficult to make the decision to have one: there is the question of religion, or not being religious, that mentality that it is a life you are ending. I don’t know if in 10 years I will regret not having had this child, but either way, it is difficult. But the fact that it is illegal makes it much harder. You have to suffer even more. If it were legal, maybe there would be support.”