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To keep or not to keep: the abortion dilemma

A reminder popped up on my phone: ‘your period is due in two days.’ I closed the reminder and forgot all about it. Until two weeks later…

Another reminder popped up. 

‘My period tracker app with a kitten gave me a range of options:
A. Are you five days late?
B. Did you forget to clock in when you started your period?

‘That’s when it hit me. Aunty Flow hadn’t made her monthly visit this time around. My mind flashed back to that night of reckless sex with my ex. I had sworn I would never talk to the player, leave alone sleep with him ever again. But there was something about his toned frame and what it did to me whenever I saw him that made my resolution go out the drain.’

In denial, Fiona delayed taking a pregnancy test, telling herself her periods were irregular anyway, and the app was not that accurate – she thought of the day her period caught her unawares with no tampon because it had wrongly estimated the start of her flow.

A week later she had to confront her fears and take the test. No surprises there – she was pregnant.

I hated myself for letting him have sex with me. The thought of having that cheat’s baby nauseated me.”

Without telling her ex, Fiona walked into a clinic well-known for doing abortions and with KSh9,000, she got Mifepristone and Misoprostol drugs and had a medical abortion, since the pregnancy was still in its early stages.
‘That was two years ago and, as much as I thought it was the right thing to do, here I am now – 31 with no man and no child and I’m wondering – maybe I should have just had the baby and been a single mum. I’m having baby fever now and I cannot find a man to marry me or even be a sperm donor.’

As the International Day for Safe and Legal Abortions draws close, we sought the opinions of women on whether they support or are against abortion.

‘The law says abortion is illegal, unless in the opinion of a qualified medical professional the health of a mother is at risk.
To me, this also includes her mental health – not just physical well-being. If a woman has been raped – whether by a stranger or their partner, having a child by that person will only serve as a permanent reminder of the ordeal. There are so many cases of people committing suicide due to depression. Rape can cause depression and I don’t think we need to push a woman to the point of suicide just because she cannot legally procure an abortion.’
Kelly, 27

‘I don’t support abortion. A pregnancy may not be planned, but two wrongs don’t make a right. There are women struggling to conceive, so if you are fortunate enough to do so without any intervention, why flush the baby down the drain? Have the baby and life will sort itself out along the way.’
Linda, 33

‘Who am I to judge someone who wants to abort? I say, if you want to have a baby – have one. If you don’t – don’t. If you accidentally get pregnant and don’t want to keep the baby – get rid of it. There are a lot of bad mothers out there mistreating their children all because they didn’t want to have them.’
Grace, 24

‘I know there are women who say they have no interest in having children, but trust me, this usually changes by the time you get to my age.

You want to leave a legacy through your children. There is a part of your life that no one can fill except a child.

Yes, it’s expensive, yes, it’s sometimes heartbreaking, but having a child is a blessing and it is wrong to throw that opportunity away through abortion.’
Tonia, 40

‘The criminalisation of abortion is the reason why there are so many unsafe abortions that lead to deaths of mothers. There should be some allowance for safe abortions.

The irony of the society is that it is hypocritical – if you abort – you are a horrible human being. And if you have a baby out of wedlock and at a young age, you are an immoral woman.

You cannot win. This judgment from all corners makes young girls go to all sorts of lengths including drinking bleach and trying to terminate their pregnancy using hangers. Live and let live.’
Winnie, 36

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