I had an abortion today. It sounds like a big deal and it was. It’s odd though, how much difference there seems to be between taking an iPill and taking an abortion pill. It’s just a question of 4 odd weeks, and one pill versus three, but somehow somewhere everything changes.
The sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s in the US ended up leading to wider-spread incidence of many STDs, and the flower child generation had their ideals tossed out and rubbed in the mud. But as developments in science and gender relations continued (somewhat) hand-in-hand, the issue of reproductive rights came to the forefront, and it’s a battle still being hotly fought. A woman’s right over her own body, versus the “personhood” argument that Oklahoma state thankfully just threw out — when does a fetus really become a person? Whatever your answer to that question, one thing that remains crystal clear in my head is that you can’t value the rights of an unborn unformed embryo over the rights of the person in whose body it is. The woman’s rights must come first. There are cases where obviously abortion should be an option, like rape, extreme complications or disability, grave danger to the mother’s health if the pregnancy is continued, etc. But who is to say that in India the severe social stigma, difficulty in advancing a career, nearly complete decimation of marriage chances, etc, do not constitute grave mental or emotional danger? Isn’t the most important thing about a birth the parents’ ability and willingness to provide the best possible quality of life and opportunities for a child?
All these arguments can be fought out point-by-point at the theoretical level, when it’s removed from personal experience. But what of when it IS personal experience, too close for objectivity, too close for comfort, too close for anything. Then the choice, for an upper middle class, educated, privileged and aware woman like myself, is clear. A lot of people I know have taken an Ipill, relied on it as effective birth control, like a condom. I know someone who planned a night of unprotected intercourse, because it would feel better for her long-term boyfriend, with her safety net being the emergency contraceptive she’d take the next day. Here’s what my experience taught me — nothing is 100% certain, and a condom’s 99% surety is WAY better than doses of hormones and their 98-55% effectiveness. If there’s anything worse being just a statistic, it’s being the minority statistic on a health issue like this.
So here is everything you need to know:
10. If you didn’t find out quick enough, follow step 9 and hope for the best. A surgical abortion may still be possible, depending on the time. If not, keeping it discreet is probably no longer an option, tell your parents, let them help you figure out options like giving it up for adoption etc. Best of luck.
My experience with FPAI was a good one. Telling the lady at reception “MTP” (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) made her concerned, discreet, reassuring and even more helpful. From there I was sent for counseling, then to the doctor for medical history, then for a urine and blood test. My blood type is negative, so I needed to buy an Anti-D injection, which was the bulk of my cost. I would never have known about it if I’d taken the pills at home and it could have caused huge complications later. Next was the pelvic exam, then the first pill, and then the injection. The next two pills I took together, exactly 48 hours after the first. The bleeding was supposed to start an hour after that and continue for 15 days. It started early, but intensified after the second set of pills. The pain in that first hour was staggering — I may have passed out from it. The pills work by triggering a miscarriage. My partner said “Ouch, that’s nasty” — there is nothing nice about this. After 15 days, I go back for a check-up to make sure the process is complete.
It’s supposed to be a tremendously traumatic experience, and I read about people who couldn’t handle the guilt even years later. For me, it was scary, yes, but I don’t feel guilty at all. I feel stupid for not using a condom, mildly nauseous, and somehow very grown-up all of a sudden. But it’s my body and my choice. So I do not feel guilty. Maybe the trauma will come with 15 days of heavy bleeding, but I think I’m strong enough to handle it. People I know and know of cried for days. Talking to your partner and to trusted friends helps, and this is just me, but I walked in there alone.
I wanted to write this to share my experience, and help anyone who needs it to find the right information. Condoms rock, morning sickness is debilitating and abortion pills hurt. Like my partner said when I described gory but essential details to him, “Ohh. I’ll keep that in mind for never again.”
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