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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 15:41 GMT
Anna's story: No regrets
Anna
Anna, a cash-strapped student, spent 800 on an abortion
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By Shane Harrison
BBC Northern Ireland's Dublin correspondent
line

Anna is one of the Irish Republic's abortion statistics. She is one of the 18 women who leaves every day to terminate their pregnancy in Britain.

Her story is by no means unique.

Anna is a 21-year-old student who works part-time in a shop in the centre of Dublin.


I was too young to be a mother

Last year shortly after a relationship with a fellow student ended she discovered she was pregnant.

"I was shocked. I just didn't know what to do or who to turn to. But I knew that as a 20-year-old student I just couldn't cope with a baby.

"I'm not religious and it was not an easy decision but I thought I was too young to be a mother."

Anna turned to her close friend Helen and confided in her.

Helen told her that she would accompany her to Britain for the abortion that Anna had now decided to have.

The two women left Dublin by boat for Liverpool. Anna was by then 12 weeks pregnant.

They stayed there the night before the termination and the night after.

Ending her pregnancy cost Anna about 800 (1,000 euros) altogether.

She came back to Dublin to resume her life.

'Hypocrisy'

Anna, like so many Irish women who have had British abortions, is eager to protect her identity.


The government should either have the abortion clinics in the country, or not let the women travel, but not try and pretend they don't know what's going on

She only spoke to the BBC on condition that her interview be filmed in silhouette and that her words were voiced by an actor.

She has told her mother and her sisters about what happened but not the rest of her family.

"I don't know whether my ma told my da. I don't think so. I think he'd be really upset. And he certainly hasn't said anything to me."

The current referendum has made Anna think again about her abortion. She says she would not give any woman in a crisis pregnancy any advice.

"It's such a personal choice and such a difficult issue that I wouldn't want to tell another woman what to do or what not to do."

Looking back she says she doesn't regret terminating her pregnancy.

She believes she made the right decision but she's not sure she would have another abortion.


I have no regrets about what I did. But I do have regrets that I was stupid enough to get caught

"I have no regrets about what I did. But I do have regrets that I was stupid enough to get caught. Not to have used contraceptives.

"I'm not sure I believe there should abortion on demand in Ireland. And I don't think that if I got pregnant again I would not have another abortion. Not because I think I made the wrong decision first time but because I think people should face up to the consequences of their actions."

Anna admits her views on abortion appear confused and contradictory.

But she believes most people in Ireland also hold complex and conflicting views on the issue.

Nevertheless, she has no sympathy for what the Irish Government is trying to do in the referendum.

"I suppose it is hypocritical. The government should either have the abortion clinics in the country, or not let the women travel, but not try and pretend they don't know what's going on."

See also:

05 Mar 02 | Europe
Q&A: Irish abortion referendum
26 Jun 01 | Europe
Ireland wavers on abortion
27 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Bishop calls for abortion referendum
15 Jun 01 | Europe
No abortions on 'abortion ship'
05 Apr 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Ireland
03 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Legal challenge to NI abortion law
20 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
No change to abortion law
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