Kate’s Story

 

My name is Kate. I had an abortion at 19. I had no money, no support, and no one to tell. I don’t think I’ve ever even said it out loud.

I’d been pro-choice my whole life and I was terrified of telling people who loved me about a decision that I wholly knew was right for me. I didn’t have any money to travel and I didn’t know any alternatives. I didn’t even know if there was anyone I could talk to for support.

I thought I was just going to die

I spent endless time searching online for ways to have a home abortion. I did all sorts of desperate things to myself, to no avail. I worked evenings after college, and double shifts to save. I cried constantly and couldn’t eat. When I finally had the abortion, I was terrified of the blood. I had agonising pains in a hotel room. I thought I was just going to die. I didn’t even really mind, sadly.

When I got home I went to a clinic. I said I thought something was wrong with me. The doctor scraped me, felt my insides, told me I’d had a miscarriage and should, “be more careful.” I was careful, but that didn’t matter.

I’ve carried that as a burden for years. A sense of shame that I didn’t deserve, that no one does. I read endless posts online about how terrible someone like me must be, how heartless. Sometimes I forget that when I talk about abortion rights, I’m talking about something that shaped me irrevocably. It doesn’t even feel like my story. Ignoring the needs of women like myself doesn’t make the problem go away, and it doesn’t make this country any safer a place to be a woman, or to be a mother.

The 8th Amendment is not just arbitrary linguistics, it affects so many people you know, so many people you love. Irish women deserve more than this; more than being reduced to a sad figure on a website, more than another signifier of Irish shame, more than being disregarded and denied autonomy and respect by people who have never, and will never, know them.

Girl with her eyes blacked out

Artist: Louise Hickey.

www.behance.net/loohicks

Audio: Fiona O’ Connor

Can you think of someone to share this story with?