‘Fear convinced me to have an abortion. I made a terrible decision’
If there had been a pro-life person at the clinic, I might have done differently
‘When I got pregnant in 2008, there was no one who could support me... Fear was my only food and nutrient.’
In advance of the referendum on whether to retain or repeal the Eighth Amendment on May 25th, The Irish Times has asked readers to share their personal experiences. This is one of the stories we received.
I was walking through Phibsborough in Dublin recently when I saw a young couple climb a lamp post and pull down an anti-abortion poster. It was one of the ugly ones with the big “Do Not Kill” words and an alien-looking foetus on it. It scares the life out of me too, but this couple tearing it down really puzzled me.
I kept walking. Ten minutes later I saw the couple in front of me. They had got rid of the poster and were holding hands. I caught up with them and asked, “Excuse me, can I ask you why you pulled down the poster?” The girl got angry and said the “No” campaign gives people no choice.
I couldn’t agree with that, especially when the date of the referendum was already set. I asked them to leave the posters alone, as seeing both sides would give people the opportunity to choose, yes or no, in the referendum. She didn’t agree.
This is my story of “choice”.
I’m Polish, but have been living in Ireland for 12 years. I have Irish citizenship now. When I got pregnant in 2008, there was no one who could support me. I hadn’t told my family, they weren’t close at that time. Fear was my only food and nutrient.
I travelled to Manchester, facilitated by the Marie Stopes Centre in Dublin. When I got to the abortion clinic, it was nearly automatic; no questions asked, no options given. I don’t even remember the procedure. Nobody took the time to tell me, “Sit down child and listen before you make your choice”.
Nobody told me, “This could be the best thing in your life. God will help you, even if you don’t feel or believe in it now. Life will go on. Time will pass. Your feelings, your financial situation, your outlook will change, but that life will never come back. Tell your family, they might help you. You won’t be alone. It isn’t our choice to stop a life; the life’s already been given. Believe me when I tell you, you’re scared now but it’ll get better and we will help you. I’m here to reassure you.”
No one gave me a hug, and no one tried to tell me there was a different way. Everyone assumed I’d made a choice. But I hadn’t. Fear had led me there. I had a problem, and, in my head, I found the best solution. I didn’t want to be - nor carry - a burden. I thought I was so liberal, modern and independent. I could handle this.
Today I know that was not a choice I made. I’d never heard those other words. I didn’t know there was another way. Today I’m not scared.
I find it extremely sad that in these reproductive centres there is no gentle pro-life person to talk to. I was very lost. Today I feel I made a terrible decision.
I look at my friends’ children and I see love. I would change all the pro-life posters for the faces of all children, black, white, children with Down syndrome, autistic children, children in wheelchairs, pretty ones, and the ones who aren’t so photogenic. Today I would choose life.