I never thought I would find myself in a situation where I had to think about abortion. In New Zealand, where I live, abortion has been decriminalized since 2020, which theoretically should make access to services more straightforward. I had mine in 2011.
Once you decide that abortion is the right choice for you, you typically need to see a healthcare provider for a referral to an abortion service. In smaller towns, this can be a significant roadblock, as not all doctors are comfortable making such referrals, whether due to their own beliefs or community pressures. Back in 2011, you had to wait until you were 12 weeks to be allowed the procedure as the at-home pills available elsewhere are not available here. You are told to fast the evening before and show up at 7am, where you meet dozens of other women and their support people waiting in a hallway. The security guard then has to usher you through two sets of doors. Here, you are put into another waiting room where you are called ‘at random’ over the next 3 hours to continue onto the next step. They take 3-4 women at a time into the preparation rooms, which are also shared by a dozen or so women who have just had the procedure. I had to meet with a doctor, a counsellor AND a social worker before I was allowed into the next room (All three legally had to confirm you were ‘allowed’ the procedure).
The procedure in and of itself was fine, and staff respectful. After, they give you half an hour in an upright chair, again in a room with a dozen or so other women, then your support person is asked to take you home. The process of the getting the appointment and the whole day sans the procedure itself, seem unnecessarily barbaric to me and lacks any real privacy or consideration. Other women I have spoken to like it to being in a cattle line and I can’t say I disagree with them. The whole thing felt like we were being treated with the least amount of human consideration. Possibly, it’s designed this way as a deterrent as protesting outside these kinds of facilities was only banned in 2023.
I understand the submission calls for those experiences in contrast to Roe V Wade and I wanted to highlight that often what happens in America, affects us here too. As of October 2023, a more conservative government has been elected, with the leader being personally outspoken against reproductive rights of women.