Paula's Story

I found out three days ago I am pregnant. This was a total accident. Since I've never wanted to have kids (actually, even if I wanted one, I wouldn't be able to afford it), I decided to have an abortion.

In my country (Brazil) abortion is not legal. The majority of Brazilians are Catholic and they're very fanatic when it comes to abortion. According to the law, women can only have an abortion if the mother has been raped or if the pregnancy is risky to her. Even so, it's not easy to get an authorization (you need to prove that you fit in one of these cases) and the public health system is terrible.

About a year ago, there was this ten-year-old girl that lived in the country; she was raped by her neighbors and got pregnant. I remember reading in the newspaper an interview with her; and, even though she didn't quite understand what was going on, she clearly said she didn't want to have a baby because, if she had one, she wouldn't have time to play with her dolls! Her family and her opted for an abortion and managed to get an authorization (it was not easy since the local court was somewhat connected to the local church). Well, as soon as the church people heard the little girl was going to have an abortion, they started protesting, disturbing the girl's family, swearing whenever they passed by... and the local church offered the family money to help raising the baby, a TV, a refrigerator and other stuff if they changed their mind and made the girl have the baby. Being very poor, that was what they did, against the girl's will. I was really revolted!

I called my gynecologist and told her I was pregnant. She was very nice to me, but she told me something really bad: in my city (Rio de Janeiro), a lot of (illegal) abortion clinics have been closed by the government. I called one of them and learned they're making their "surgeries" somewhere else, since it's not safe to have them at the clinic. It's very expensive too. I really hope the hygienic conditions are OK. I am really scared: I don't want to get an infection and I want to know what they'll do to me during the procedure. The woman that talked to me on the phone sounded as if she was using some secret language. When I started asking questions (oh, my GYN told me not to use the word "abortion" but "surgery"), she said "You have to schedule an appointment, which will cost US$50, and the doc will give you all the info you need."

My boyfriend and my female friends are being very supportive. He told me about this website. I didn't tell my parents nor my sis about it; I don't think they'll understand. I just hope I recover quickly, so no one will suspect of anything.

9 August 1999

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Find out more about the Catholic Church's involvement in abortion politics at See Change