Here’s what it’s like to get an illegal abortion: Latin America

BuzzFeed Health asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to write about their abortions. The form was shared widely and translated into multiple languages. They received over 1,200 responses to the English form alone. They published nine of the stories. Here are a few excerpts:

I did it with pills (misoprostol)… No one should have to go through this alone, so I studied hard and I became like an underground expert in abortion…When I was 16 I had no idea about anything and I did it anyway, because it was the only possibility that I had, and the only thing that I wanted was not to become a mother. It wasn’t traumatic at all because I was so sure about my decision. After that, it was clear to me that no one should have to go through this alone, so I studied hard and I became like an underground expert in abortion because in my country it’s so… illegal, there is no information at all from official media. So I try to help all the women I can, and I’ve been doing it since then. When I had to go through this again, eight years after the first time, I was relieved because by then, I knew everything about it.” (Chile)

“I had my abortion about a year ago in Jamaica (where it’s actually illegal) because I was living in Abu Dhabi at the time (where it is very, very illegal). I had sex and didn’t know he took the condom off. My godmother is a prominent doctor in Jamaica, so she hooked us up with someone who does abortions there.

“I was 20. A friend of mine knew a girl who had done the same, and helped me get the pills… I cried for days and sometimes still seven years afterwards. I took that decision on my own because I didn’t feel ready to be a mom. I’m not proud of what I did, and I don’t think I would repeat it, but I don’t regret it. Yet it makes me sad to this day. For times I forget it, and at times it haunts me. I did it without medical attention and as a secret. My family doesn’t know, so it made me feel really scared and lonely.”  (Venezuela)

“I have always believed that abortions happened just with women who were 16 years old, in the most stereotyped ways possible. My situation was different. I am a mother and I am married. My abortions happened when I became pregnant with my husband the second and third time, without planning it. I had both abortions in unimaginable situations, lying on the rug of an old woman’s house…” (Brazil)

Source, Buzzfeed, BY 26 January 2017 ; VISUAL: Kate Ferro for Buzzfeed News