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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 17. 19th July 1972

ii No Flowers but no Regrets

ii No Flowers but no Regrets

[unclear: We] do not know precisely the number of illegal abortions [unclear: performed] in N.Z. each year, the figures vary between [unclear: 5,500] and 12,000. Illegal abortions are sometimes [unclear: dangerous]. More often than not, they are attempted by women [unclear: themselves] out of sheer desperation because they do not [unclear: qualify] for a legal abortion; or done in unhygenic conditions [unclear: y] quacks.

[unclear: In] Canada there are at least 100,000 illegal abortions a year. [unclear: of] these 20,000 are admitted to hospital for post-abortive [unclear: mplications]. At least 1000 of these cases result in severe [unclear: lisability] or death. (Source. Canadian Birth Control Hand-[unclear: ook] 1970).

Canada's prohibitive abortion laws are similar to those in [unclear: ew] Zealand. These figures contrast greatly with those in [unclear: ountries] where abortion is legal and easily available; [unclear: ungary]: between 1962-64, 358,000 legal abortions with 2 deaths.

Czechoslovakia: between 1962-64, 140,000 legal abortions without a single death.

[unclear: Bulgaria]: between 1962-64, 67,000 legal abortions without a single death.

Compared with countries where abortion is illegal, the [unclear: ortality] rate is very low.

[unclear: Illegal] abortions can be safe if performed by qualified people [unclear: a] hygenic conditions. But Safe abortions which are out [unclear: ide] the law are done at great risk to the careers of those [unclear: who] perform them — such was the case of a doctor from [unclear: whom] I obtained an Illegal but safe abortion.

The prospect of an unwanted pregnancy is a traumatic experience for most women. I was faced with this problem — I didn't want to keep the baby but at the same time I didn't want to adopt it out personally I do not believe that adoption solves the problem of unwanted pregnancies. It was suggested to me that I have an abortion. The doctor I went to see in New Zealand advised me not to seek an abortion here because the possibilities of obtaining one safely through illegal channels were very slim.

I was advised to go to Australia but was warned that I had only ten days to go before I would be three months pregnant, after which few doctors would risk doing an illegal abortion. I was then faced with the unenviable task of finding a lot of money. Luckily a friend was able to lend me $350. At this point I did not know that with $300 and over, you had to book the return flight for not less than two weeks.

When I arrived in Australia the first task I was faced with was finding the doctors number in the phone book. I explained to the receptionist that I was from New Zealand and could I have an appointment as soon as possible as I only had a short time to stay. She told me to be at the rooms that afternoon.

In the course of my interview with the doctor he asked when I was due. I lied a little saying I was 2½ months late instead of 3. The operation was to cost $120 and to be in cash. I told him I only had travellers cheques and he explained that travellers cheques could be traced. I was also told that the hospital was a small private one and that there would be 2 nurses another doctor and himself. He told me not to worry, that it would be perfectly safe.

I went to cash $150 in travellers cheques which to my surprise caused me no trouble. Early the next morning the taxi took me to the hospital, the nurse ushered me into a room whereupon she asked me for the money then left me to get undressed. After about a quarter of an hour I was led to the operating theatre clad in a dressing gown with a pad hanging at the back. The theatre was spotless and the two nurses and doctors were waiting for me. Once on the operating table I knew nothing more till I woke two hours later.

I was relieved and pleasantly surprised to find no pain. When I talked to the other girls in the ward I found they felt the same. Before I left the woman advised me, for the next six hours, to walk around as much as possible. Also I wasn't to have intercourse for a month in case anything went wrong and if it did to ring my doctor immediately. Nothing went wrong and I was back at work after a couple of days.

I've never once regretted my decision, for me I think it was the best possible thing. If the operation had not worked, and this happens to many women, I would have seriously contemplated suicide.

I don't think women should be punished for seeking relief from an unwanted pregnancy, and from my experience I can see no reason why the practice of abortion should not be made Legal — so that it can Always be Safe. If the abortion laws are repealed, women will be able to choose whether or not they want to continue an unwanted pregnancy.