I have many stories tell, but I none of them are my own. I am responsible for providing care for the girls and women who take the flight from Ireland to the UK to end a pregnancy.
I am a qualified as a midwife and I work for an abortion provider.
I’m fortunate enough to have never been faced with the decision to end a pregnancy. But even if I did, by the good fortune of where I live, I have a choice.
I hold the hands of the frightened and stunned, the women who find themselves in a foreign city with foreign accents, filled with the yearning of wanting to be at home and safe.
I hug the Irish girls who have never had a passport before, never left their small rural town before and are all alone because they had nowhere to turn in their own country.
I have discharged the sophisticated business woman who flew to England in a day to end a pregnancy that was the result of a bad relationship.
I have watched these brave women walk away from my clinic, knowing they may have lied when they said they have a responsible adult to care for them when they leave, but having to accept their word because they have a flight to catch and can’t afford an overnight stay.
I have administered pills to women, knowing that within 20 minutes there may be an effect and she will start to bleed and cramp as the pregnancy passes. Wondering will she have anyone to hold her hand? Or will she be curled up in an airport toilet with no privacy and dignity in this most vulnerable time in her life? Will other passengers stare? In sympathy or judgement? Will she be ok?
I have pleaded with these women to get some counselling and help when they get home when I know there is no help for them when they get there.
I come home from work every day and I think of them. My sisters. Your sisters. Did I do enough to make it easier? Did they know that I genuinely cared? I hope there is a modicum of comfort to be taken from that before they return to an Ireland that doesn’t want to know about it, wants them to keep their secrets as if it is a personal shame. It isn’t.
I don’t ask them why they are here. I do not ask them to prove their worthiness to end a pregnancy. Nor should you.
Abortion is not easy. So, for our sisters, our daughters, our cousins, our friends, repeal the 8th and show some humanity.