“Discovering that I was pregnant last year was a huge shock. I already had three teenaged children, and my husband and I knew we couldn’t grow our family any bigger.”
Lynn* was 43 years old when a pregnancy test revealed her worst fears. She and her husband Louis* had been happily married for 18 years, were using contraceptives, and had even spoken about Louis having a vasectomy so they wouldn’t have any more kids. So, when the results of the pregnancy test were positive, she and Louis were in agreement, right from the start.
“We couldn’t see any way of making it work, either financially or emotionally,” explains Lynn. “So the decision to abort was actually an easy one to come to.”
The mom-of-three said they’d always wanted the best for their kids and were only just managing to provide that. “Adding another child to the mix would mean we’d have to significantly downscale and compromise on what we were able to provide to our children. We’d have to start ‘coping’, and that’s not what Louis and I had worked so hard for. We wanted to enjoy our life and the children we were already raising.”
Abortion pills: a logical decision
Lynn had never had any experiences with abortion pills, but she started doing her research right away.
“As soon as I made the decision to terminate, I went online and researched safe and legal abortion providers in South Africa, which led me to the Marie Stopes centre in Cape Town.”
Lynn was six weeks’ pregnant when she arrived at the centre, which meant she was eligible for a medical abortion – that is, a procedure that uses pills to terminate a pregnancy.
An empowering moment
“When I arrived at Marie Stopes, I was accosted by a group of anti-choice protestors outside the building,” says Lynn. But they only made her more determined to exercise her freedom of choice.
“They tried to guilt me with information that I don’t personally connect with or believe in. They don’t know anything about my life or what sorts of decisions are right for me, so I walked into Marie Stopes feeling empowered: my body, my choice. They had no power over me.”
Lynn’s experience with the abortion pill at Marie Stopes
The procedure at Marie Stopes was simple, says Lynn, even though it wasn’t the most pleasant. “I had to take two sets of pills, one while I was at the clinic, and the other at home, later. Physically, I didn’t feel great. I started bleeding, and this continued for a few days. I also experienced some stomach cramps.”
But ultimately, says Lynn, she felt relieved, and has not once regretted her decision. It’s also helped her to learn more about the plight of women facing unplanned pregnancies in South Africa.
“I’ve heard terrible abortion stories about women who’ve used illegal providers – either because they were trying to save money, or because they were embarrassed or ashamed about their pregnancies. The risks they take with their health and their lives are terrifying, because these illegal providers really don’t know what they’re doing. I’m so grateful I found Marie Stopes, and I’m on a mission to help other women learn about them, too.”
Where to go for safe, legal abortion pills
If you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, Marie Stopes can help. Our services are dependable, safe and affordable, and available across South Africa. Never go the illegal route – rather, trust Marie Stopes for safe abortion care, counselling and confidentiality.
*Not their real names
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