What WE think of abortion - by the women who had them...
By EIMEAR O'HAGAN and RUTH KELLY 13th September 2007
Amanda Platell reignited the abortion debate:
On the 40th anniversary of the Abortion Act, the debate as to how late a woman can leave it before she terminates her pregnancy has been reignited. Yesterday in the Mail, Amanda Platell argued that the current 24-week limit should be cut. But what do women who have had abortions think? Here is one: six more to come. . .
Sarah Giles, 27, works in sales for a computer company. She lives with her boyfriend, Mike, 29, an estate agent, in Northampton. She says:
I think the abortion limit should definitely be reduced to 13 weeks. I was only six weeks pregnant when I had my abortion, and even then I had bonded with my baby.
Seeing the foetus on the scan - which you have to have before they will carry out the procedure - was unbearably moving. It was two years ago and I haven't been the same since.
I'd been going out with Mike for a year and a half when I got pregnant. We weren't using contraception and he freaked out. He said we didn't have the money, that it was too soon in our careers, and it would ruin our lives.
At the time, I agreed. My parents divorced when I was young and I hardly saw my father, and that's not what I wanted for my child. I wanted to be married, in a stable, loving relationship, with plenty of money.
We agreed that I would have an abortion, but I was unprepared for how I would feel about my baby, and about how I would be treated at the clinic. There were about 20 of us in at the same time, and we were herded about like cattle. It was horrible.
I had a general anaesthetic, but when I came round I was lying on a recliner chair surrounded by the other girls in the waiting room, many of them sobbing hysterically. It was like a scene from hell. There was pop music blasting out from the office, and the staff were chatting loudly, ignoring us. All I could think was: "Get me out of here."
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After an hour, I was allowed to go home. My boyfriend drove me back as I sobbed helplessly. I was bleeding heavily, and two days later I was still in pain and bleeding.
A month after the abortion, I went to my GP to get antidepressants. I couldn't sleep - I felt awful.
Today, I still have a huge sense of loss and feel that we did the wrong thing. Mike and I are still together, although the abortion nearly split us up.
I hope that one day we'll get married and have children together - but I will never forget. Even today, I see pregnant women or happy young mothers with their babies and think: "That could have been me. It makes me cry.