‘I had an abortion; I tried to end my life afterwards’

By Danielle Jarvis

The article below is from New Zealand group Abortion Regret NZ, a group not only telling the stories of women who have had abortions, but helping Kiwi women with contacts to get help.

While we recognize most of our readers do not reside in that country, the story and video below show the powerful truth: that abortion regret is experienced years later…


It was October 31st 2000 and I lay on the operating table in panic, dreading what was about to happen. I was 17 years old, fearful and ashamed but at the same time wanting to protect the life that now grew inside me. My gut feeling was screaming at me to get off that table but I froze.

I wished someone would take me away from this horrible place, but nobody came. After all the only person who knew was my boyfriend at the time and he didn’t want this baby. But surely someone here at this hospital would notice that something wasn’t right before it was too late.

Unfortunately though, that day somebody missed something and the abortion went ahead.

Unfortunately I had missed something too because although I felt ashamed for being pregnant at the age of 17 the baby was not the real issue. The real issue was me. It was my shame, my guilt, my fear. I thought I couldn’t live with a baby, but it was actually myself I couldn’t live with and that’s why I tried to end my life afterwards.

I felt anxious, depressed and guilty about what I had done, and smiled to myself as I took my 16th panadol one night hoping I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. Unfortunately though I woke up to continuous vomiting and felt even worse than before.

I hated kids after that, I couldn’t even hold someone else’s baby without being affected. I had murderous thoughts about unborn babies and pictures in my head of kicking pregnant women in the stomach to kill what they held inside. And we wonder why there is so much abuse, murder and violent attacks in this country towards children. It’s because the door is wide open for that.

What manifested as anger was really grief, hurt and disappointment in myself but I wasn’t aware of that until years later when I went for counselling for other issues and my abortion came up when I told the counsellor my life story.

She told me my baby would have had a wee heart and a wee soul, why didn’t my abortion counsellor tell me that before I went ahead with it? I hadn’t been given the opportunity to connect with my own baby.

If I had been given an ultrasound of my baby back then, I suspect I would have 4 children now, not 3.

When I made the decision to abort I wasn’t told what it actually involved or the affect it had on the baby. I only found this out about a few months ago when I was preparing my submission for the Abortion Select Committee.
I watched a video clip of a real ultrasound taken during an abortion.

This video clip showed the baby fighting for its life at 12 weeks gestation, moving aggressively, trying to get away, as the abortionist places their suction tip inside the cervix. The heart rate is 200 beats per minute. At this stage it is not yet clamped on to the baby, yet the baby knows something is not right. The suction tip then tugs at the baby’s body, pulling it apart piece by piece. The head is too big to be pulled out in one piece, so they use something called a pollop forcep to crush the head and remove it.

I look back at my experience and think how dare they? How dare they take my child from me without informing me that this was going to happen to them?

There is no “informed consent” in what happened to me and the law gave me far too much status by allowing me to decide whether somebody else should live or die. I stuffed up and I cant take it back, and the only thing I can do about that now is warn others not to go down the same path and ensure that I myself never have another abortion again.

Thankfully I have received a lot of healing in this area now and I can enjoy my three children without the guilt of the past hanging over me. But I will always wonder who my oldest child would have become and what life would be like with them around.