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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 11:55 GMT
'My illegal abortion regrets'
Ghanaian market trader, Esinam, 42, told the BBC's Africa Have Your Say programme why she decided to have an illegal abortion at a back-street clinic in Accra.

Abortions are outlawed in Ghana except for cases involving rape and incest, or if the woman can prove she is mentally ill.

Esinam sitting in a wheelchair
Esinam regrets having a termination by an unqualified person
I was devastated after finding out that I was pregnant for the fourth time, despite using contraception.

My husband and I can barely look after our three children on the little income we have. How could we afford to feed another mouth?

Thus, I decided to have an abortion. I didn't have any counselling - the decision was my own.

My friends told me about a special clinic in Accra. Trusting them, I decided to go there.

Four months gone

On the day of the abortion I woke up early, did some household chores and got the children ready for school. After dropping them off, I took a taxi to the clinic. I was four months pregnant at the time.

The reception was very neat and tidy and there were other women waiting on benches.

I felt cold and couldn't see. I was losing so much blood, I thought I would die

I had thought the procedure would be done in an operating theatre but it wasn't. It was just an ordinary room.

Even though I realised it wasn't a proper clinic, I was still determined to go through with the termination. I had no choice.

The 'doctor' asked me to undress and lie down. After an examination, he inserted some metal instruments into my vagina. He didn't give me any aesthetic - he just began removing things from my body.

I didn't see anything, but felt a pulling sensation. The pain was unbearable, but I muffled my screams.

I did not allow myself to fully express my pain. I felt guilty about the whole thing, but the idea of bringing up another child in abject poverty convinced me I had made the right decision.

After fifteen minutes of 'surgery', he inserted a white tablet into my vagina. He told me that this would cause the remaining foetal parts to eventually discharge.


In agony, I went home, to await the next stage of my abortion.

Most women don't want to have an abortion, but society looks down on single mothers
Anonymous, Congo

That night, I bled profusely. My stomach was bloated and I gave off a foul odour. I felt very weak and confused. My husband was on a night shift, so a neighbour rushed me to hospital.

My heart was beating very fast and I began to drift in and out of consciousness. I felt cold and couldn't see. I was losing so much blood, I thought I would die. My mind went blank.

When I regained consciousness, I was told that my womb was rotten and had been removed.

I cannot have any more children and if I had lost any more blood, I would have died. I am very grateful to the doctor and his team at Accra's Ridge Hospital who saved my life.

I am lucky to be alive and really regret going to an unqualified person to have a termination.

I would urge anyone considering an abortion to get counselling from a qualified doctor first, before undergoing this procedure.


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