While conservative politicians are looking to illegalize abortions in the US, there are other countries who are dealing with the extreme consequences of that kind of movement. Women who don’t want kids are abandoning their kids (yes, I know we already do here too), and more importantly, there are women so desperate not to have kids, they are willing to go in for illegal abortions with questionable doctors and clinics. There were times in American history where people did this, and in some cases, we forget, because it has become something of a relic of the past.
In Brazil, there are over a million estimated abortions performed every year, and almost all of them are illegal. There are some who go to questionable clinics and doctors who may not even be doctors while others do it in their own homes. They sometimes obtain illegal drugs through the black market. In Brazil’s system, the woman may be reported to the police, but the hospital will treat her if there are issues with an incomplete abortion. Most importantly though, that does not stop women from trying.
Struggles of young women who panic in various situations rum the gamut. They may simply not be prepared. Other times, they may be afraid of family reactions, and in many cases, they research at home abortions online, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. The people involved in providing services are often sketchy, and a lot of the options look, even to the untrained eye, quite dangerous.
There are some who consider telling the police they were raped. Abortion is legal when you are raped in Brazil, which is something some Republican politicians would like to outlaw. At that point, they actually have to report the rape to police and undergo examinations. Naturally, they take the risk of reporting the wrong date if they are using rape as an excuse, and the police may very well arrest them if that is reported.
For many of these women, it’s not necessarily the abortion process that’s scary, but rather the fear of being arrested, the fear of being stuck with a baby, the fear of what their families will think. Of course, in this highly Catholic country, it is also often drilled into their heads that abortion is murder, creating a certain guilt. At the same point though, in some cases, it is the right thing for them. It is simply better if they can ultimately get the right medical services and support.
As one girl who went through this process said,
I don’t think it was a life. I think it was a bunch of cells that were becoming a life. It’s not as terrible as people say it is. I am sure that I chose the right decision.
In some cases, there are better options than others, and some will have supportive families, friends, and boyfriends who will help them through a process to for example find a way to get a legal abortion. Ideally, if they are going to, they should be in the right hospital, and this is a law that clearly should be overturned. The problem is those who don’t. The issue is for those girls who don’t have any support, those girls who are truly doing it on their own, and this includes those girls who may have been raped, but they are afraid that no one will believe them and the police will arrest them, even though they’re being honest.
After the abortion, one woman received a letter telling her how much her abortion had cost. That came to a total of 150 reais or $75 US. Illegal clinics, on the other hand, charge 1000 reais. As you might imagine, it’s not uncommon for women who see themselves as being saved by this to recommend that other women actually cry rape to get an abortion.