I had my abortion in 1961, before it was legal.   I was 19 and so totally terrified that I am surprised I remember anything at all, or perhaps it is that I was so fear stricken that it has imprinted itself so firmly in my mind.  Contrary to what I often hear described, my abortion was not in a dirty kitchen or in someone’s backyard.  Nor were the abortions of any of my 3 friends, who all had abortions in those years.    I’d always thought the term ‘back alley’ was about the secrecy of attending those physicians out of hours, under cloak of darkness.

Not that it matters.   It was all very clean.  Very quick.   Very quiet.  So quiet in fact that it wasn’t even necessary for me to speak.   I am not sure I’d have been able to if given the chance.   My 32 year old married boyfriend organised it.   He said he’d organised 2 for his wife and it was perfectly safe and that I wasn’t to be bothered.

It was in a doctor’s surgery in Melbourne.   I couldn’t go until 9pm.  My boyfriend took me to the door, handed the woman at the door an envelope and she took me inside.   She quickly explained what would happen.   She told me that if I ever spoke about it, I would likely go to prison and force hundreds of other young women silly enough like me to have to face up to the consequences of their behaviour.

The doctor never even looked at me.   He spoke perfunctorily to the woman, who I assumed was a nurse, but may have even been his wife.   It was by far the most excruciatingly painful experience I have ever had.   Even the births of my 4 children years later did not compare.

As I was dressing to leave, the woman gave me some pills she said I had to take for 5 days.   If I didn’t take them I might get an infection and die and even then I was never to tell what I had done.

I never saw my boyfriend again.  Not ever.   I used to look for him at the train station where we used to meet each morning on the way to work and he was never there.   I don’t know what I expected.

I married 3 years later.  I gave birth to 4 beautiful boys, all grown now.   None of them know about my abortion.  None of them know the terrible dark tragedy of my soul.  None of them ever will.   I have loved my boys.   Loved them as much as I could with so many pieces of my heart shattered.   Loved them in spite of the one I would never hold, the one I betrayed, the one I longed to hold more than any other.

There is something very wrong with allowing one’s child to be taken so forcefully from within the protection of one’s own body.   There is something very wrong with what I read about abortion, as though it is a nothing, almost a rite of passage for young women, as though it is meaningless.   I don’t believe this for a moment.   I never have.   I didn’t walk out whole from that doctor’s surgery.   I have never been whole since.

I feel so very very sad for women today, that abortion is available around the next corner.    There is nothing to stop them today.  There are so many lies told to them about how their lives can only be richer, more worthwhile if they rid themselves of their children.   Nothing could be further from the truth.

My boyfriend was a policeman.   That’s how he knew where to find that place.  I wish he didn’t know.  Even knowing that I may not have married, I may not have had my boys, I may have had to beg, borrow and steal to make a life, if I hadn’t gone to that place, I wish I hadn’t gone.

I wish I had spoken up.   I don’t want sympathy.  I don’t want platitudes.  I want time to turn back so that I can run from that place, from that man who promised me the world, run so fast that no demon dare try to steal my precious child.    That can’t happen.   Now I just wait for time to turn and I wonder and I hope, that if there is a God, that I will be forgiven and that my child sees my heart..

3 Responses to Margy

  • Lyn Schoof says:

    Such a brave story! Thank you for sharing and I pray you find peace.

  • Margy, know that your story will touch many hearts and impact many young women thinking about having an abortion. It will also be instrumental in helping women being pressured to abort to stay strong and let their baby be born.

    Thank you for sharing this sad, painful part of your life. When the time comes, your little lost one will be waiting to greet you with open arms.

    God bless,


  • Karina van Vliet says:

    Oh Margy, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your baby all those years ago. No woman should have to go through that. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. xx

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