The second story of abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had been living in Malta for several months before I became unintentionally pregnant. It couldn't have happened at a worse time, right in the middle of the global pandemic. I was terrified.
I went straight to the doctor, who was female. I thought she would understand. She did not and tried to force me to keep my unwanted pregnancy. When I bluntly told her I wanted to end my pregnancy, she became emotional and very judgemental. In her words she said, "Just think of the life inside of you." I replied, "Why don't you care about the life talking to you right now?" I walked out of my consultation with that doctor feeling distraught, angry, and misunderstood.
I had tried to obtain the combined pill right before I fell pregnant, but the pill I had a prescription for was not stocked in any pharmacy. I tried at least 12 pharmacies but nowhere stocked it or was able to stock it. If contraceptives were easier to get on the island, I wouldn't have got myself in this position.
After I had left the doctor I spoke to my boyfriend and we tried to look into illegal abortion options on the island or ordering the pills online. However, we were afraid that this was a dangerous option, so I immediately booked a flight out of Malta to have the abortion in my own country. I managed to get a flight a few days later, but when I arrived there were no hotels willing to give me a room due to the pandemic, as rooms were reserved for essential workers only.
I was close to tears, panicked in a city I didn't know, completely alone. I wanted to throw myself into the traffic. I called my friend who didn't know I'd even came to the country, as so far only me and my boyfriend (and the terrible doctor) knew I was pregnant. I was in tears. She comforted me and chastised me for not calling her sooner. She told me to get a train to her city. I did, and the next day we booked my consultation for abortion.
Within 10 days of arrival, it was time for my appointment at the abortion clinic. My friend and her daughter accompanied me as I travelled 2 hours to yet another city for my procedure. Within 3 hours of arriving at the clinic the procedure was over. The staff at the clinic were kind, helpful and understanding. They offered me the contraceptive implant that lasts for 3 years and did it for me right there and then. I almost wept with relief. I am so grateful that my country allows me to access this essential health service.
I am glad I am not a Maltese woman. I genuinely feel so sorry for women who are forced to birth unwanted babies. This experience has been the single most traumatic experience of my life. I have hidden my story from all of my family and most of my friends in Malta due to the stigma and taboo attached to abortion. I feel the current law on abortion in Malta values the not-yet-sentient potential life a woman carries over the life of the woman herself, and this is so fundamentally wrong.
I hope my story might help to change this in the future. Malta needs to move into the 21st century on sexual health and abortion and give women the right to choose what happens to her own body.”