Jane Doe 19

My story: My abortion story seems so much like the others I have read.

I was in my early twenties, at a very difficult time in my life. All in one week I found myself placed on academic suspension from the university I was attending, unemployed, and pregnant. I’ll never, ever forget the day I found out I was pregnant. I had a feeling for quite a while that my period wasn’t just late so I called on my life-long best friend for support and as I sat in her kitchen my hands shook too bad to look at the test after the longest three minutes of my life.

I was in a new but very committed relationship with the man who I am now engaged to many years later. When I gave him the news, he was crushed. I know after reading the stories of other island woman that I was extremely fortunate in this way. My partner told me that he was terrified but would support me in whatever decision I made and he stood by my side for everything.

It was at this point that I tried to gather information about my options. Do I consider an abortion, what about adoption? Maybe I can keep it and we can make it work. My first phone call was to my (female) family doctor. I explained my situation to her and asked her if she could give me information about my options. She referred me to the QEH for blood work to confirm what my at-home test had already told me. I went for my bloodwork and spent the next several days praying that I was wrong. Three days later I received a call from the nurse at my family doctors office. She confirmed the test results were positive. I told her that I was very seriously considering an abortion and asked to schedule an appointment to discuss it with my doctor and to get the first of my required signators to have the procedure done in Halifax. The tone of the nurse immediately changed. I was told that as a young, healthy woman my doctor would not agree to sign off on my abortion as it was not ‘medically necessary’. I was absolutely crushed. I hit my lowest point. I was becoming desperate.

I knew I could not have a child. How was I supposed to support this child with no job, no education and a very limited support system. How was that fair to bring a child into the world fully knowing you would not be able to provide them with the life they deserve?! Adoption was not an option to me. I knew there was a very good chance the child would be in foster care for years in a broken system. As I had seen first hand the abuse and hardship my nephew faced in the Canadian foster care system before his adoption, I could not risk that my baby.

Completely heartbroken, lost and feeling more alone than ever, I gave up on trying to obtain a doctors referral and called the now closed Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton, NB.  The clinic staff showed me amazing kindness and support from that first phone call. I no longer felt alone. I made my appointment and my next challenge was to get the money. It was going to cost $500 plus the cost of travel from Charlottetown to Fredericton. In a cruel twist of fate, I finally got a job and my first day was to be on Monday, abortion was scheduled for Wednesday. At this point rescheduling was not an option. I spent the next week frantically trying to gather the money while trying to ensure only those people who absolutely had to know what was going on did. I resorted to selling text books, clothing and calling in the debts of all of the friends I’d recently lent money to.

Finally the day of my appointment came. As I was only on day two of my new job I was unable to take any time off and was forced to call in sick and lie on my first week there. My partner and I left before 4am for our 8am appointment. The drive was horrible. I was crying non stop. I couldn’t even tell you why, I was just so disappointed with the entire situation. When we arrived at the clinic, the first thing we saw was a line of protesters on the sidewalks. Thankfully a staff member directed us to park at the back of the building so we could use an alternative enterance. My appointment went as smooth as it could have. The clinic staff were wonderful and really helped me to feel comfortable with the choice I had made and kept me calm throughout the procedure.

I was so thankful to have my partner there with me. I felt it was important to remember that this was also extremely hard on him. We both knew we’d always wanted to be parents but this point in our relationship and our lives, we weren’t ready.

I don’t regret my choice. I never have. I know that had I not decided to have an abortion I would not be the person I am today. I have since gone back to school and graduated and have a great job in my field of study. In a few months I get to marry the man who helped me through the hardest time in my life and we look forward to starting a family now that are able to support a child.

I went back to my family doctor once since they refused to help me. A few years ago I required emergency surgery to remove a ruptured cyst from my ovary. After being discharged from the hospital I visited my doctor to discuss after care and ways to prevent the problem from reoccurring. At this point it was suggested to me that my abortion was the cause and because of this there was nothing she could do. I left feeling hurt and embarrassed and made a complaint to health PEI but never received a response.

The news that an island women was turned away from the QEH with concerns about her medical abortion was heartbreaking but not at all surprising. I commend and thank her and all island woman who have shared their stories. You have given me the courage to share my story in hopes of helping future women seeking abortions. I believe that, together we can make a difference and in time island woman will not have to struggle as much as I did if they find themselves in the same situation but what we must change first is the mentality surrounding abortion.

I love my island, I love where I come from but I am horribly embarrassed with the way this vital medical service is handled by island politicians and certain health care workers. They should all be ashamed.

Anonymous – PEI