Tuesday 25 October 2016

'I am not ashamed of myself, I am ashamed of my country' – Irish woman on her abortion experience

Amy Molloy

Published 05/10/2016 | 19:12

Maeve- Anne Kenny
Maeve- Anne Kenny

A woman who had an abortion after her contraceptive pill failed has told how she is ashamed of the laws that forced her to travel to the UK for the procedure.

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Maeve-Anne Kenny found out she was pregnant the day before her 26th birthday.

She had two open-heart surgeries and is on medication for congenital heart disease and had been advised that careful planning would be needed if she ever wanted to start a family.

She explained that she was on the contraceptive pill when she became pregnant but that it didn't work.

Maeve visited a hospital to find out about the possible complications of her pregnancy. She was told that the foetus may have been damaged already, and it was likely she would be hospitalised for the rest of her pregnancy.

She felt a termination was the right decision to make and attended a crisis pregnancy agency for a consultation.

After speaking with a doctor, she was advised to wait to have a surgical termination as the risk of bleeding with a pill abortion was too high.

She said she had to wait for five weeks

She travelled to Liverpool with her mother and boyfriend for the procedure, from which she woke up hysterically crying as all the emotion from the previous six weeks came out.

Even though she knows she made the right decision, she says that half her friends and family do not know she had an abortion.

“I suppose that if people have an unplanned pregnancy, they are deemed to be irresponsible or stupid and other such words. No matter how much people claim to be liberal, some are still judgemental, so I decided to keep it to as few people as possible,” she told Independent.ie.

“On a rational level, I didn’t feel ashamed, but on an emotional level I probably did. I am not ashamed of myself, I am ashamed of my country.”

Now 28-years-old, Maeve says she finds it incredibly uplifting to see so many people supporting the Repeal campaign, which is why she decided to share her story.

“The movement is gaining such traction and seeing the amount of support out there made me reflect on my own decision two years ago. You can talk about abortion in the abstract all you want, but when you come face to face with it, it’s a different story altogether. Only then do you understand the gravity of it,” she said.

She admits that sometimes she does think what-if, but looking back, she feels she made the right decision.

“I felt lots of different emotions at the time; from relief, to anger, to sadness. I don’t think about it every day, but I know I made the right decision. You are always going to have what-ifs.”

She is grateful that she didn’t receive ill informed advice like other Irish girls, such as the advice which was recently exposed as being given to an undercover reporter in Dublin. 

Maeve is calling for the Government to Repeal the Eighth amendment, and give Irish women the right to make a choice.

“I suppose that every set of circumstances is different and it’s easy to judge when it’s not you. We are offered so much autonomy in every other aspect of life.

“Choice is the only way forward. I made my choice, and I’m okay.”

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