Abortion, a secret within walls

Translated by

Misha Galván

DURANGO, DGO.-When she was still underage, Cinthya interrupted three of her pregnancies, which brought guiltiness carrying it out alone.

Little by little it was decreased by understanding there was no other way.

“I wasn´t ready to be a mom, besides I was a victim of psychological violence by  my boyfriend, four years older than me, I didn’t have the ability to take care of myself”.

Over more than 15 years passed after de three abortions, Cinthya decided to tell her story anonymously, “I´m conscious that any of my acquaintances imagine what I did.”

She had 17 years old when she met Juan, of 21 years old, whom in the beginning was like a ‘prince’, but after the first year of relationship started controlling her. With strangeness says, “Obviously I didn’t notice this until a few years later after breaking up him”.

Juan was the only person who talked to her besides her mother and siblings, later she stopped going out with high school friends and dedicated only attending school, then home, and after that on to him. He was to who she lost her virginity, and said the first time was ‘pretty’ but then the control he enforced since a year before, brought it to the sexual relationship too.

“Multiple times I did it obligated and with repulsion, but I don’t know why I couldn’t say no, and I remember sometime denying to, but he grabbed me and said that it would be only a little and he would penetrate”.

Sexually violated, Cinthya got pregnant for the first time before turning 18. Even though the sex education given in school, she and her boyfriend weren´t cautious, she admits not asking her boyfriend to use a condom, and he didn’t talk about the topic. Later after the abortion she asked how they would take care of themselves, but he said it didn´t feel the same. Again she says she doesn´t understand why she didn´t speak of how she really thought and felt.

“I thought I wasn´t an object and I didn’t want to get pregnant again”.

However, it happened again and decided to abort. Through a friend he managed to receive some pills, which name she doesn´t remember, but says were octagons. “One was taken through the mouth and the other was through the vagina”.

She narrates with difficulty what happened after using these pills. “I felt very bad, I was alone in my bedroom, I told nobody what I would do, only to him, he told me to take care and that he loved me. I started to feel pain in my stomach, strong contractions, it was intense but bearable. It all finished when I couldn´t put up with the feeling of going to the bathroom. When I peed, I noticed there was blood and something reddish and fleshy. I lowered the lever and I cried”.

The next day, Juan went to Cinthya´s house, asked how she was, but kept not using condom even after this second abortion, for her the sexual intercourse was more an obligation than a desire,

“I started feeling repulsion, I didn’t want to be with him, I hated him, I didn’t know how to leave him, something had changed in me that I couldn´t dare to finish the relationship”.

Juan and Cinthya got pregnant for the third time and had an abortion again. The same medicine, the same process, the same symptoms, but she tells the guilt was worse, she even began hating herself.

Their relationship didn’t ended there, but one time they fought in his bedroom and threatened to not let her go. “He pushed me to the door and took a rifle he had in his house because he and his mom only lived there, and when I saw he carried the rifle, I told him what he wanted and that we would never fight again, then after a while he let me out, and I never came back”..

Cinthya with these experiences has a clear posture about abortion, she agrees with taking out the penalty.

“For years I regretted having an abortion but now I understand I couldn´t have taken care of a baby, and I know it wasn´t the best way to avoid it but in that moment I couldn´t respond other way, I blamed myself but know I now I was my partner´s and my ignorance´s victim, and although what other could say about me, no one can take away the right I have over my body, I did it, and it had its consequences but it was a decision over my body and my life. I believe nobody; neither the government nor the church has the right to decide for me”.

In Durango abortion has a penalty up to 5 years of prison, although it doesn´t inhibit the action of it, as it is shown in Cinthya’s story.

Julieta Hernandez Camargo, president of Women in Durango, the feminist organization indicate that this year there are four people who have been funneled to Mexico City and Oaxaca, to have a safe and legal abortion done.

They were an underage girl and three women between 20 and 30 years old. All of middle class indicated Hernandez Camargo, “Evidently are people who can pay the travel expenses and some other that involve the interruption of the pregnancy”.

Although in support for women who require an abortion there are national organizations, for example ‘Fondo Maria’ and ‘Maria Stop’. To one of these groups the underage was funneled.

Over the arguments to interrupt pregnancy, the interviewed referred that in teenagers, there´s the medical risk, while in adults there´s the economic issue, plans and personal projects, and also there are women that already have so ‘many’ kids. Some of them besides the lack of resources to take over a child live in violence conditions with their partners.

This year, the association has not attended abortion cases of rapes. But on 2019 they accomplished the freedom of a woman who had been four years in jail.

She was accused of kinship homicide, a usual felony attributed in abortion cases in states like Durango, it´s illegal. “Actually it was never proved that the product was alive”, said Hernandez Camargo.

The abortion and taking out its penalty debate has taken strength in the last years in Latin America, in Durango on last March 8th it was registered the first local and historical feminist march and beside demanding a stop to sexist violence and the femicides impunity, called out for legal abortion. Among the women who protested there was an opinion repeated: in Durango the public officials are more conservative than the general population.

Activists pointed out there are groups who strongly reject abortion, but are religious, to which the officials belong to.

Jennifer Josefina de la Torre Delfin, an activist from Durango, said “Durango’s society rejects abortion because it´s a religious state”.

However, remarked that abortion is a public health topic and “starting from there, it doesn´t mean all women want to interrupt their pregnancy, but it does mean to have access to it. Also to have no legal discrimination, depending on the geographic place where you are if we all belong to the same country”.

On March 8th while other women with green handkerchiefs and purple t-shirts  shouted ‘safe and legal abortion’ in the 20 de Noviembre avenue, Pro-Life sympathizers prayed in the cathedral’s door and showed their rosaries to the protesters.

Despite the social critics and the legal restrictions, everyday abortions are done, and Mexico is one of the countries with most internet searches on misoprostol and other ways for pregnancy interruption.

A BBC study revealed that the search for abortion pills on the internet has increased and has more impact in countries with more restriction toward abortion, like Mexico.

Misoprostol is a drug traditionally used for stomach ulcers, but also the World Health Organization (WHO) establishes it for a safe abortion.

The so-called secondary effects caused by the misoprostol are an argument of the anti-abortion groups, since before it was only used to fight ulcers, but know the WHO offers a guide to a pharmacological abortion, however made clear that the dose depends on the age of each woman, their weight and the weeks of pregnancy, of course in most cases women obey the internet guides they find to have the abortion, where one of the common searches is “homemade methods for abortion”.

While others follow on advises given by strangers, like Cinthya´s that remarks “I took the pills my boyfriend gave me, without consulting what might happen to me and I was alone in the interruption moment, dying of fear”.

By Sandra Nallely Urbina Olaguez

Collaboration/Enlace magazine

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