September, 26 2018
Free and Sympathetic Service: My Abortion Journey in the Netherlands

While in school in the Netherlands, she found out she was pregnant and decided to get an abortion.

by Adelle
Issues // Gender and Sexuality
Share:
It was summer back in Den Haag, 2016. I just had my heart broken, so I downloaded a dating app, fooled around with some guys, including this overly polite guy . The day after I slept with him unprotected, I rushed to the nearest pharmacy to my dorm to get a morning-after-pill.  

Days went by and  I did not get my period, which made me anxious. My thesis development was not helping either. I picked up two test packs at the groceries store and tried one the following morning. It was a double-line. I was positive pregnant. The denial came in. I decided to try the next test pack tomorrow morning. This one was a fancy test pack. It reveals whether you are pregnant or not along with the weeks of pregnancy on its micro screen. Mine said: pregnant >3, which means over three weeks of pregnancy.

Fortunately, I lived in Den Haag, so everything was there. After skimming the information on the website of the abortion clinic, I found out that I could do it for free just like any Dutch citizen. Nervously I filled out the information required, but I did not know exactly how old my pregnancy was. I persisted to have my abortion performed the next week, but was told that I had to make sure how old my pregnancy was before we could go ahead with the procedure.

So my request was rejected. I was deeply desperate, scared that the older my pregnancy was, the more complicated the process would be.

On the following day, I counted exactly the last time I had my period and the last time I had sex. Again, I contacted the clinic – this time I knew I was seven weeks into my pregnancy. The process was exactly the same and I finally had my confirmation date. It was such a relieving moment that I cried. There was a set of preparation rules I had to follow before and after the abortion. The operator asked me to be ready at the clinic, at 8 am sharp.



During the waiting days, I phoned the man I had sex with to tell him I was carrying his baby. He suddenly panicked. Instead of offering any help or even saying something nice, he yelled at me on the phone. I wanted him to feel what I had felt, so I told him I would continue the pregnancy. He yelled again, telling me to abort the baby soon, otherwise he might get kicked out of the country.

On the appointed day, I went to the clinic accompanied by a friend. I reregistered at the patient’s counter and was told to wait for the abortion, which would be conducted at 8:30. In 10 minutes, a nurse called me in. She checked my blood tension and heartbeat, also the age of the pregnancy. She asked me how I got pregnant. I told her I had an unprotected sex with two guys I recently. She asked me again, what type of abortion I chose and whether I’d need birth control pills. I prefer the vacuum method and a “yes” for the pills.

The next few minutes was a complete mental torture, but the nurses and the doctors were nice. I walked into the room, changed to a green surgical gown. They confirmed my abortion consent and told me the steps that were going to be taken. Since I prefered the vacuum method, I needed anesthesia.

I woke up still drowsy and with a menstrual pad on. I peeked from my bed in the recovery room and saw a lot of ladies. It felt like a relief. I’m not alone after all – I told myself everything would get better.

I caught one of the nurses and asked her if it was OK for me to go.

“Yes, of course, you okay? Can you walk?” she asked.

In the guest room, my friend met me and asked me how I felt. I smiled to let her know I felt fine. At the patient’s counter, I asked the nurse what to do next and where I could get my birth control pills. She was nice and she handed me an envelope, a letter to the nearest general practitioner to my dorm where I could check my health, along with a guideline for post-abortion care and my birth control pills prescription. I thanked her and headed to the nearest pharmacy.

To this day I am still thankful I had access to such professional and sympathetic service, because for someone to undergo an abortion, it is not easy. I did not want my pregnancy. It was the result of an unprotected sex with a total stranger. The checklist of reasons was endless. It is my body and my life. My way of being responsible for my own-self and the fetus inside was by getting an abortion. I was fully aware that I could not raise the baby. And no, I do not regret my decision.

Adelle is a lady who is still navigating her life. She loves cooking and learning new languages. She is a self-proclaimed researcher working in an international non-government organization.