I was just shy of 20 years old when it all happened. The thing that every young girl dreads is discovering her body. Alby ,my boyfriend and l had had a few pregnancy scares before. It was like an internal alarm that was programmed to ring every time we had sex and l was approaching my period. It certainly didn’t help that God made the symptoms of pregnancy similar to the symptoms you get at the beginning of your period. This particular month was different, it was almost like I just knew. We obviously had been using protection and would often buy a plan B just to ease our conscience. Well, it turns out my body had other plans. I used the last money l had to get tested at a nearby medical practice which confirmed I was pregnant and the doctor attempted to give me some counselling upon seeing that my whole being shifted for the worst. I asked about abortion and he pointed out that it is illegal. I could see in his eyes that he was indeed pleading with me. I don’t come from much and my mother gave her all to ensure l was in college. I felt stupid and worthless. I didn’t want to be a disappointment and I certainly wasn’t capable of raising a child so I went over to the internet to look for whatever options I could find. I contacted a Doctor Phillip from South Africa who gave me a woman’s number. The horror stories we would often hear about people using hangers to abort started flooding my mind, but for the sake of my future l was prepared to die for it. After a talk with my boyfriend, we decided to go for it. The pills cost R800 and we would need to find someone to transport them across the border who wanted R200. Alby looked for money as l did and together, we came up with the required sum. We wasted no time and got the pills which came with no instructions, so you can imagine how difficult that was. To add on, the pills came in a transparent plastic which was hastily tied. We couldn’t tell if we had bought paracetamol or abortion pills. I was fortunate to have Alby, because he had found someone who said he was qualified to do it but wanted a whooping 100usd. We had to call up that lady who gave us the pills and ask for a refund. She agreed but certainly didn’t make it easy for us. We got half the refund and added that to pay off the new guy. He put the pills in my vaginal canal using his very fat, callused fingers and every minute hurt like hell. I started bleeding in the kombi on the way home and it continued for about 4 days. I was happy when it stopped and we went for an ultrasound scan at that same guy who just said ‘eish’ and that we needed to repeat the procedure. The second time hurt even worse and was so humiliating because he had to call in his friends to help. I remember crying so hard but l knew l couldn’t tell anyone. I suddenly became even more grateful for Alby for showing up and holding my hand throughout the horrendous procedure.
Abortion should be a free or small-fee procedure at local clinics where women, young or old, can feel safe and protected. It already isn’t an easy decision to make and the backdoor channel usually is neither safe nor sanitary. There will be no one to explain what is happening and up to this day, l do not know what initially went wrong or if everything was corrected. I am, however, happy that I did not carry the pregnancy to term. Alby broke up with me a couple of months later but I did graduate with my Honours degree and made my mother proud.
Children are a lifetime responsibility and that decision shouldn’t be made by anyone else but the woman who is going to carry and raise them. It certainly cannot be forced by the government or a parent or worse even a soon to be absent father. Lastly, abortion does not reflect negatively on a woman’s character. I do not think it is something to be ashamed of nor is it to show that one has questionable morals. I believe it shows maturity and courage. It takes a lot to make such a difficult decision to ensure your life is on the intended path.