This interview comes in three parts. Before, during and after an abortion. XX is a friend and very kindly told me her story.
AC: What age were you and what were your social circumstances?
XX: I was 17 and living with my boyfriend of same age. We were both young and naïve. Both of us were working in the same bar.
AC: Were you practicing safe sex and how many weeks were you when you found out you were pregnant?
XX: We were using protection but I got sick and the pill didn’t work. I was 5 weeks when it was confirmed by the doctor. In those days you had to get a pregnancy test at the GP surgery and ring up a week later for the result. The receptionist congratulated me.
AC: How did you react?
XX: My whole world fell apart. I knew instantly that I didn’t want to keep it. It wouldn’t be fair on the baby. Mentally I was good. But knew I did not want a baby.
AC: How did your boyfriend react?
XX: We discussed it. He was as shocked as I was. I told him I didn’t want it, he tried to convince me to keep it but I didn’t want to be another statistic, another single Mum. I didn’t want that for any of my children.
AC: Did your GP help you with your decision?
XX: My GP gave me the phone number of a local woman that arranges abortions. He told me he shouldn’t be giving me it.
AC: What happened when you rang her?
XX: I went to her house in the greater Belfast area. She assessed and counselled me. She took the £500 payment off me. She arranged the flights, the abortion and the B&B. I remember her house was all boarded up because someone had put all the windows in. She was just a woman trying to help another woman in my position. I don’t know who she was and I’ve never saw her again but I’d like to thank her for helping me.
AC: Did you tell any family or friends about your decision to have an abortion? How did you finance it?
XX: I told my Mum and she was disappointed that I was going to do it. We spoke to our boss. He offered us the money, but my Granny had a savings account for each of her grandchildren. I asked my Granny not to ask me what I needed it for. She looked disgusted. She has passed away now. It was never discussed. My good friend at the time was the only one to support me and still does to this day.