An illegal abortion over 40 years ago

By anonymous on 04/09/2011
I was eighteen when I found out I was pregnant. I had just been accepted for university, and my whole life was ahead of me, and now it seemed that I would have to give up all my dreams.
In those days abortion was illegal, and people talked about do-it-yourself methods like knitting needles or tampons soaked in bleach, so I was terrified.
A couple of years ago, a girl at my school, in a similar situation, had gassed herself, and I thought of doing the same thing. Everyday you could read in the news about the horrible deaths women at the hands of back-street abortionists, but I had no way that I could lay my hands on £200 - a lot of money in those days. I was so desperate that my boyfriend, who was also a student and worked as a porter in a hospital, found out about a combination of drugs you could take that would bring about an abortion, and he went and stole them, and injected me himself.
It was horrible.All my muscles twitched and spasmed violently, I vomited uncontrollably - and then after a few hours I started to bleed. I was so relieved. It's hard to describe the feeling of relief that came over me.
My boyfriend got found out and went to court and got fined for the theft, but I was lucky. I went to University, and a kind counsellor talked me through the trauma. That was more than forty years ago, and since then I have had a successful career and a happy family, and I have no regrets about the decision I made. But what I regret is that I had to go through all that agony, instead of having safe legal abortion available to me as girls do now.

Editor's Comment

Your experience sounds terrible and very dangerous to inject drugs that could have been fatal. The do-it-yourself and backstreet abortions were very bad and often life threatening. Fortunately contraception has also progressed dramatically since the 1967 Abortion Act, and women can now use long acting reversable contraception which has a less than 0.5% failure rate.
Thanks for putting your experience on the site.

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