Sylvie Shene

Share your story

1979 Portugal

it was okay

Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?

Yes

A Life-Saving Experience


Thank you for asking people to share their abortion stories. I believe that the only way we can remove the stigma surrounding abortion is to let people share their stories in public and have an open, honest dialogue.

Abortion was a life-saving experience for me. I had just turned 20 years old in 1979, when I found out that I was pregnant. I was already living in an emotional prison with my family in Portugal, and having a child at that time would have robbed me of any chance to free myself. My child wouldn’t have fared any better: He or she would have lived a life of poverty with an emotionally unavailable mother.

Abortion was illegal then, and my whole family was against it. If they had found out about my condition, there’s no doubt in my mind they would have forced me to carry my pregnancy to term by any means possible, including locking me up or giving me drugs.

Fortunately, I found a midwife who was willing to give me the abortion I needed, although I got a bad infection from the procedure and had to go to the Emergency Room. Shortly thereafter, I moved away from my family and liberated myself from the traumatic emotional bonds that tied me to them.

The moment I found out that I was pregnant, I knew in my heart that abortion was the best choice for me. I was very comfortable with my decision, and I’m still confident that I did absolutely the best thing by not bringing an innocent new being into my set of circumstances.

The way I look at it, abortion is a private choice between a woman and her conscience that has very little impact on society. On the other hand, violence and abuse against unwanted children create a huge burden on humanity. If more people thought about this, I think they’d see that people who are against abortion are actually supporting cruelty against children.

The only bad feelings I had about my abortion was that it was illegal. No woman should have to go underground to decide what’s right for her. I still feel angry that I had to hide from everyone. I strongly believe that abortion should be available to every woman who wants one, and that politicians and religious fanatics have no business controlling women or putting us down.

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