Support needed for abortion patients

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Barriers to abortion and support for young women are still shockingly present in Kingston.

There are roughly 275 abortions each day in Canada, according to uOttawa, and  about 50 per cent of women who choose to have these procedures are under 25.

Considering abortions are so common, as I see the throngs of young women scrambling across University and Union with me, I know I can’t be as alone in this experience as I feel.

If the girl in front of me on the sidewalk can proudly share her recent sexual experience in an Ale House bathroom, I shouldn’t have to whisper the word “abortion.”

However, the negative stigma towards abortion on campus is an unfortunate reality. 

When I broached the topic of abortion to my female friends, one jokingly called me a “family-killer” paired with a congratulatory fist bump, another declared “careers first, bitches” and simply changed the topic. 

Though these statements didn’t personally condemn me, they weren’t the soulful life support or constructive conversation I was hoping to engage in.

Sexual activity in youth has become a widely discussed and accepted norm. Why has the conversation around abortion not grown too?

Apart from the stigma associated with abortion, there’s no shortage of physical barriers to pre-procedures.

Visiting the Women’s Clinic at Kingston General Hospital (KGH) is absolutely terrifying. Located in the dark depths of the building, it features damp hallways and dungeon-like flickering lights to complement the low ceilings.

It’s an absolutely horrific space; any attempt to maintain eye contact is ignored by medical staff and shamefully avoided by other patients. 

No one at the Women’s Clinic offered me mental health advice or told me what to expect from my body — things a soon-to-be mom would be showered with at that point in her pregnancy, should another decision have been made. 

The long wait times for appointment booking and high demand for treatment from the Women’s Clinic at KGH (often upwards of four weeks) adds emotional stress to an already trying experience. 

In my case, it pushed me over the 12 weeks gestation period. This required me to get my abortion at a special stand-alone clinic in Ottawa, one of eight in Ontario. 

It’s common for women to travel over 100 km to have an abortion in Canada. No one’s posting smiling selfies on those road trips. 

I had to manage costs of transportation and taking time off school and work. Even more stressful though, is finding someone trustworthy to drive you safely to and from the procedure, and to keep your new secret safe once home.

This Thanksgiving, I was bitten by a stray cat and went through rabies treatment at the hospital.

With six phone calls and a letter from KFL&A Public Health throughout my rabies treatment in a two-week period, I was very well-supported. 

Post-abortion, I followed up with a random clinic doctor who’d never seen me before, with a single slip of paper from the clinic in Ottawa. 

The physical pain of rabies treatment and the emotional stress of seven needles on the first day, and three additional hospital visits was much worse than having an abortion.  

But given the option, I would jump in front of a rabid animal rather than manage an unwanted pregnancy.  

Rabies over babies shouldn’t be a campus reality.

Kendra is one of The Journal’s Photo Editors. She’s a fourth-year ArtSci student.

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