YOUNG Irish students have spoken of how they bought abortion pills online as they could not afford to travel to Britain for a termination.
In a series of compelling stories appearing in tomorrow's 'Weekend' magazine, women who have undergone abortions tell the Irish Independent about their experiences.
Suzanne Lee (23), from Dublin, said she had no regrets about her decision to terminate her pregnancy.
"Last August I discovered I was pregnant. I was 22 and a student in UCD. I had no idea what to do.
"It wasn't an instant decision to have an abortion, though deep down I knew that was what I was going to do."
Ms Lee paid €90 for an abortion pill. She explained: "I had to get the pills delivered to Belfast and get someone to bring them down to Dublin."
Another 23-year-old student who used the abortion pill, known only as Sandra, said she was already a single mother to a seven-year-old and did not want to jeopardise her chances of a career by having a second child.
"Having another child would mean staying on welfare, giving up on a career, trying to find a job that would somehow cover childcare costs for two and giving up on the life that I'd been working hard to obtain for myself and my son," she said.
However, not all of those interviewed felt they had made the right decision to terminate their pregnancies.
Adele Best (38), a member of Women Hurt, an organisation where women who regret their abortion can share their stories, said she regretted her two abortions "with every single fibre of my being".
"I went totally off the rails in the weeks afterwards, drinking and taking drugs and getting into fights to numb the pain of emptiness and depression and the profound sense of loss," she said, adding: "No one prepared me for the reality.
"I realised that as a woman I'm deeply programmed to nurture that life, not forcibly destroy it."
Sinead (45) was a single mother to a three-year-old son when she went to London for an abortion in the early 1990s at the insistence of her mother.
"On the plane home, my mother warned me never to speak of this to anyone. I kept it bottled up inside me for 21 years. I vowed to be the best mother to my other child, but sometimes the grief overwhelmed me."