I was relieved and happy to find everything had worked. But I did and do still feel guilty. I think it's a natural reaction. As women we are programmed to want children, so I did feel that it was a part of me and something I should be caring for. But I did the right thing.
Well, it worked. Not without a lot of pain and anxiety beforehand though. The biggest worry was waiting for the medicines to arrive, but I was well supported by my friends and the women on web service so my experience was as good as can be.
I was travelling on the other side of the world. I had no money, no boyfriend, no stability whatsoever. I felt guilty about having an abortion, but I would have felt more guilty if I had brought a child into the world and not been able to give it a comfortable upbringing. I did consider adoption, but I ruled it out because I didn't want to put my family through the anguish (I think my Mum would have had a very strong opposition to her grandchild being given up for adoption). Although I could have stayed in Chile to complete an adoption, I was living with a family and wasn't about to impose on them in such a way.
Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?
I suppose it did because it meant that I actually questioned my decision because of its illegality, because the opposing argument was to be heard everywhere due to Chile's Catholic culture. If I had been in England, I wouldn't have been exposed to opposing opinions so I wouldn't have even considered them. I was also working for a women's rights organisation at the time so that meant I had access to all the information and statistics about Chile's abortion laws. It's one of only 3 countries in the world (together with Nicaragua and Guatemala) where there is no option for abortion, even if the woman is raped, her health is at risk or if the baby will not survive outside of the womb. Now, more than ever, I support a woman's right to decide for herself and it truly disgusts me that a government could impose a law that could change people's lives so greatly. While I was pregnant, I used to see girls far younger than me pushing 3 babies around and I knew how lucky I was to be able to make the choice to at least get on a plane and go to a country where it was legal. Even if I couldn't, I was from the rich part of Chilean society and though ilegal, rich women can find abortions. It's the inequality and lack of education that sets these girls apart so that some don't even know how to prevent pregnancy. That's truly shocking, but what's more shocking is that a lot of educated and open minded people won't accept that as a reason, preferring to think the girls are just stupid.
How did other people react to your abortion?
Everyone I confided in was extremely supportive. I will admit though, that I didn't tell people who I didn't think would support me for fear of making the lives of those around me difficult.
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