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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 00:03 GMT 01:03 UK
Abortion stories: Relief and regret

As the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act in the UK approaches, two women speak to the BBC News website about their experiences of having abortions.

Their names have been changed to protect their identities.

HELEN

Helen, 23, is the mother of two-year-old twins. She had an abortion earlier this year and says it was the right choice.

When I found out I was pregnant I thought, 'How the hell am I going to cope?'

I could not see myself pushing a double buggy down the road with a sling attached with another baby. I wondered how I would cope with three lots of nappies.

I didn't realise I was pregnant until I was a month gone. It was a bit of a shock. My partner was quite excited at first but it was quite a daunting thought for me.

I went to the doctors and they agreed with me that it would be too much for me mentally to cope with.

If I was still pregnant I would probably be going out of my mind
Helen

It is horrible. I didn't particularly want to do it but needs must. I had to think about the kids I have already got.

Not many people around me know about it. My mum rang when I was in the clinic and tried to start to talk me out of it, but I said, 'My name is Helen, not Superwoman.' Especially with the way my twins are.

If I was still pregnant I would probably be going out of my mind with despair at this moment in time.

It is very important that I had that choice. It would be very mentally draining.

Not many people agree with it. But if they believe it is wrong they should put themselves in the position of a single mother with more than one child under the age of five and not much money coming in.

They should deal with that and the thought of being pregnant as well. It is really difficult.

MARGARET

Margaret, 60, has had two abortions. The second failed, resulting in the birth of her daughter, now 23.

She regrets her abortions and says women should be supported so they realise there are other choices.

The first time I was 26 and involved with a married colleague, and after three months I found out that I was pregnant.

At first I thought I was having a child with the man I loved, but when he came back with the news he was going to get back with his wife, that's when it changed from being a baby to a problem.

I didn't think I could cope. There were emotional influences, being ashamed, telling my parents that I was pregnant, and having to leave work.

I was feeling fear and panic. I was reacting to a crisis and I had never had a crisis like that in my life.

My life was out of control and I wanted to get back to normal.

Why should the death of a baby be the only answer?
Margaret

I went to the British Pregnancy Advice Service for counselling. I asked if at ten weeks it was a baby and they said, 'No, it's just cells.'

I felt like it wasn't a baby and that was my get-out clause; I wasn't doing anything wrong.

Afterwards I was emotionally numb and although I didn't have an emotional breakdown, I became anorexic. I was promiscuous for some time. But at the time I didn't think it had anything to do with the abortion.

But nine years later there was an almost repeat - I met a guy at work and I didn't know he was married.

The second time we went out we had intercourse and I took the risk of unprotected sex as I thought as an older woman I couldn't possibly become pregnant.

But I did. Two weeks later I realised and had that same feeling of panic, I couldn't believe I was back in this crisis.

I had an abortion, but ten weeks later my period hadn't come back, I went back to the doctor who said I was still pregnant.

They sent me for a scan and that is when my denial ended. When I saw that baby with its heart beating, I knew that nine years ago I had destroyed a baby.

Before my daughter was born four months later I was worried how I would love it, but when she was born the feelings were just amazing.

I realised that I had been reacting out of fear and not really thinking. I was in denial: 'It wasn't really a baby but cells.'

Women deserve more than abortion in a crisis. There are other options, why should the death of a baby be the only answer?

Many women will argue with me. It may not be now, but one day, something will bring these emotions to the surface.


SEE ALSO
MPs to quiz minister on abortions
23 Oct 07 |  UK Politics
Abortion time limit cut rejected
31 Oct 06 |  UK Politics
Q&A: Abortion law
21 Jun 06 |  UK

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