I was 20 when I had an abortion.
When I found out I was pregnant I knew right away what my choice needed to be. That is not to say it was a decision I made lightly. I don’t believe anyone could make such a decision lightly.
I knew, also, that I would have to move quickly and quietly. I knew that it would be a big hassle to jump through hoops here on PEI just to get the referrals and coverage to have the procedure done in Halifax, not to mention having the procedure on permanent records that could potentially by seen by relatives/friends/others who work in healthcare. So, I had already decided I would rather just fork up the $700 (plus gas and bridge costs, lost wages, etc.) to have it done at the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton. I was lucky to have a supportive partner, who split the cost with me, but still it was a blow for both of us as students with hardly any income.
Before I booked an appointment at the Morgentaler clinic, though, I went to see my OBGYN, figuring she would confirm the pregnancy and help me with the process. When I told her “I think I’m pregnant” she asked why I thought that (nausea, late period, positive home test), she didn’t even bother checking, she trusted my knowledge of my own body. Then she said, “do you want to be pregnant?”. Another welcome surprise. I had been preparing myself to get defensive about my choice, but my doctor seemed to know exactly what I was thinking. She certainly wasn’t comforting or compassionate about it, but nor did I feel she was judging me. She never mentioned medical abortion (via a pill), which I didn’t even realize was an option here on PEI until reading some of these stories. She did explain the two options (Halifax vs Fredericton) for surgical abortion, and told me (much as I had assumed) how going the Halifax route would involve undergoing blood tests and an ultrasound here on PEI first, which would take up more time for such a time sensitive procedure.
I told her I would book an appointment at the Morgentaler clinic and she said to come see her again for a follow up, after the procedure. I traveled over to Fredericton just a few days later and had my abortion, then traveled right back and wrote a final exam the next day. I didn’t do as well as I know could have, but I had no excuse, no doctor’s note, to give to my professor.
I went in for my follow up a couple weeks later, where my OBGYN said everything was back to normal. That was the end of that. Not for me, of course, it will never be the end. One thing I really hate is the secrecy surrounding this (much more common than we realize) decision, I wish I was brave enough to talk about my experience with others without anonymity. Hopefully someday I will feel safe enough to do so.
I am so excited to see that people are starting to actually talk about abortion on PEI. I am so grateful for all these women sharing their stories. I can relate to so many of the stories I have read here. But what I have taken away from this is that, no matter what our situation was, none of us received the care or compassion we deserve from our province.
I know now that I was one of the lucky ones who had a relatively easy ordeal, but I think that was in part because I avoided the route that the government tells PEI women to take. And now that the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton has closed, the Halifax route and all of it’s hoops, is the only safe option left for us. And that scares me. A lot.
Anonymous – PEI