The reality of one Irish woman's trip to the UK for an abortion
The personal choices that Ireland isn’t prepared to deal with
Trying to make ends meet, my friend did what it took to make money. She turned to prostitution for a short time until she met a much older guy who promised her he would take her away from her horrible life.
He was nearly twice her age and she felt safe with him. He had a steady-ish job and seemed to genuinely care for her -- at least that’s what she felt at the time.
She was only dating (and living) with him a short time when she got pregnant again. After losing the first baby she was delighted.
He wasn’t. She told him she was keeping the baby. He told her it was either him or the baby, and in her vulnerable state she chose him.
Because she couldn’t have an abortion in Ireland, he gave her £1,000 at the time, and she flew to England for a few days and had it done there.
She was alone. Her family didn’t know and her boyfriend didn’t want to have any part in it.
She told me it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be. She is tough, she tells me. She has developed a thick skin down through the years.
The relationship with the older guy lasted a month or two more and then he kicked her out.
She couldn’t stay off drugs, although she promises when she found out she was pregnant she stopped everything except cigarettes.
She spent some time on the streets after that again, going from hostel to an acquaintance’s couch to sometimes sleeping rough. It was madness.
There were a lot of blurry one night stands and she fell pregnant again about two years after her first abortion. This time she tells me she knew she was in no fit state to bring a baby into the world, so she borrowed money from three different people and went back to England again to have her second abortion.
Her life for the following few years was up and down. She finally got a council house. She held down jobs for a few weeks at a time.
She cleaned shops at night. She cleaned hotel rooms. She worked in an office (for three days). She did many training courses, and during these times she was off drugs and sober.
She really felt she had a hold on her life, and then one small thing would happen and everything would be upside down again.
She became pregnant a fourth time and did contemplate keeping the baby. The father was an alcoholic and battled depression. She loved him but wasn’t sure he would make a good dad.
So she decided another abortion was on the cards. However, it wasn’t as easy getting the money for a third one, and when all else failed she ended up having to go through the nine months of pregnancy, but she felt she couldn’t keep him.
It was a boy. She gave the child up for adoption, the biggest mistake of her life she now tells me.
Her son is now nearly a teenager. He has yet (if he will ever) try to make contact with her, but she hopes someday he will.
My friend is now in her thirties. She is currently employed in a gym and is doing a course by night.
She still battles with drink. She might go off it for four-five months at a time, and then can’t handle being sober anymore.
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