Dear America

Your law changes reinforced the idea that if I lived in your country, my life does not matter.

The first issue is the changes to gun laws. Have you considered the statistics for domestic violence homicide as to how many perpetrators had a previous record? Domestic violence victims often don’t report their abusers, we are often manipulated that everything will change. Police often aren’t involved until it’s too late. Please stop sending the message that these “gun control” measures will make a big change. Your law changes attempt to protect women but will only protect a small group. Of course, this is better than nothing but your gun control laws remain problematic.

If I was going through my hell with Brent in many American states with the laws as they are today, I’d probably be dead soon. I had never reported him. He had a gun licence approved just after I left him. If I didn’t have access to safe abortion, it’s likely that I would have stayed in that volatile relationship to attempt to raise the child with its father. He would have continued to manipulate and isolate me. Your law changes force many women to live in fear, fear that they may never escape an abusive partner.

I am thankful that I live in a country that is statistically less than 50% Christian. In fact, almost 40% of my country identify as non religious. This sends the message to me that women here are much more safe than women in your country from having our laws over influenced by religious beliefs.

The changes to your laws protect men. The overturning of Roe V Wade tells domestic violence victims that their lives do not matter.

The abortion

They warn you when you book with an abortion clinic that you may encounter protesters at the clinic. They don’t warn you that there will be a teenager in the waiting room waiting to terminate her third pregnancy. They don’t warn you that there will be a woman with a child in that same waiting room.

I look back on this experience and I feel anger surrounding the process. There are laws in certain areas that outlaw abortion but these achieve nothing. What angers me is that there are no laws enforcing the research process that I put myself through and no laws to enforce a single counselling session. The only moment that a professional speaks to you about how you became pregnant and why you want a termination is the gynaecologist almost immediately prior to being prepared for abortion surgery. It made me wonder about the teenage girl, had she ever actually had any proper counselling around her pregnancies. It made me wonder if the mother waiting for her own procedure had been offered all of the advice she may have needed. As a teen and before my own experience I always said that abortion was only for rape victims but having been through the experience myself, I am now pro-choice but I am pro-educated-choice. The gynaecologist who women speak to is not a counsellor, not a psychologist, cannot give qualified financial advice and is essentially only qualified to perform surgery on and treat the reproductive system. I am not attempting to disrespect the doctors working in abortion clinics, I am simply saying that they should not be burdened with a responsibility for which they are not trained.

I was in a ‘nice’ private clinic, the front of house staff were kind and empathetic. The gynaecologist herself was kind and respectful whilst performing an ultrasound prior to the procedure. However, it was not a pleasant experience, I was made to get myself on to the table prior to being given anaesthetic, I’ve had several surgeries in my life and never before had this happened. I then woke up in recovery hearing the crying of the teenage girl, she had nobody there with her, it had seemed she was on her own, that upset me more than anything at that time.

Mum was there once I came out of recovery, she had been incredibly supportive throughout the entire process from the moment I was standing in her kitchen after receiving the positive pregnancy test.

Driving home from the clinic I felt empty, no emotions just emptiness. I also felt really gassy and uncomfortable. They give you a suppository…my butthole was stinging so much. This is graphic, but this experience was my reality. We were on a highway and I literally sharted, luckily I was wearing a fairly large sanitary pad, we pulled in to a roadhouse a few minutes later and I rushed inside. It felt like I was pooping for half an hour. Mum came in to check I was ok, I washed my hands, we grabbed some food and hot drinks and continued the journey home.

I was occasionally teary, but I was numb. This month marks five years since this experience. I feel much the same today. Numb.