I’ve always been around doctors: my mother, her friends, mine. Stories about dilatation and curettage as well as menstrual abortions came and went, but they never really stuck in my mind.
This changed completely with the induced abortion experienced by a very close friend.
In Cuban hospitals and polyclinics there exists rooms for abortions, and every day a mass of women line up just outside to wait for this service. Some have faces of concern, of sadness, while others face it as if merely going to drink a glass of water.
My friend was there; she arrived early and was third in line. Reflected in her face was fear. It was a fear that couldn’t counteract the comments by some girls who compared the procedure to a pain in the ovaries, or those who said this was the third, fourth or even the sixth time they were having an abortion.
My friend’s turn came. She went into a small cold room where they put her into position on the intimidating metal table. She opened her legs, and like this the end of her pregnancy began.
Later she told me how a hose slide up her uterus, how she could feel it siphoning and scraping – and the pain…so much pain.
She also described another type of pain, the psychological one: how she would never know if it was a boy or a girl; how one less person would be born at the end of August 2011.
It might seem that after having experienced all this, I would take a stand against abortion. But no. I now support legal abortion even more firmly.
Up to now I hadn’t said that it would have been impossible for my friend to have raised that child. She graduated from the university but now receives a wage that isn’t enough for her to survive on by herself. She lives in a house with her parents, her grandparents and her sister – where there’s barely enough space as it is for all of them.
The Cuban government reports that in 2010 there were 2,326 less children born than in 2009. It seems that my friend’s situation is being repeated on the island by thousands of women. The population is decreasing and aging.
Our critical economic situation is putting a break on pregnancies and births. The right to abortion should be protected to prevent a greater number of families falling into poverty.
From here in Cuba, I voice my support for all women of the world who are struggling for this right.