‘Self-managed: an abortion story in eight parts’ is a podcast that solely focuses on self-managed abortions. A self-managed abortion (also known as self-induced abortion) means that a person induces their abortion without medical assistance. This can be done with over-the-counter medications or through alternative, often more dangerous, methods. In this specific episode of the podcast, an anonymous guest tells her story of self-managing her abortion.
Sex ed #
The story starts with the guest telling how she grew up in an environment where abortion was accepted. At a young age, her mother had told her about abortion and gave her sexual education. Topics like feminism and gender equality were never an issue.
Nevertheless, when she finds out she is pregnant in college, she feels shame. Because she is well educated in sex and birth control, she believes that she should have known better. She blames her pregnancy on herself and feels that she doesn’t deserve support. That is why she decides not to inform anyone.
After finding out she is pregnant, she starts to isolate herself and research her options. Because of the expenses of a clinically managed abortion, she doesn’t see any other option but to self-manage her abortion. She chooses the safest herbal methods that she can find online, but after several attempts, the self-managed abortion is still not successful. This is when she realizes she has no other choice but to include her family.
Despite her fear of judgment, she starts by contacting her mother. Her mother is very supportive. It is then that she realizes that she was not afraid of her mother’s judgment; rather, it was her own internalized judgment that prevented her from asking for her mother’s support. She also contacts her partner, who again is very supportive in her making the decisions that are right for her. However, both her mother and partner feel sad that she hadn’t asked them for help immediately.
Abortion fund #
After asking for support, she reaches out to an abortion fund, which makes it possible for her to have an abortion at a fee that she can actually afford. It is important for her to have the abortion at home, so she opts for an abortion pill (read more about the abortion pill here). After a short non-invasive check at the clinic, she gets the medication and goes to a safe place to have the abortion. All this time, her mother is with her to support her.
Responsibility is a very important topic in this abortion story. The guest explains that people often ask “Why weren’t you more careful?”. She internalised those thoughts, making her blame herself and belief that she could and should have prevented the pregnancy. They impacted her for a long time until she reframed what responsiblity means. She now defines responsibility as: doing what you believe is good for you instead of doing what you think society wants you to do. She thus believes that the most irresponsible thing for her, at that time in her life, would have been to continue the pregnancy and have a child.
Positive impact #
Towards the end of the episode, the guest explains why she believes having the abortion was the best choice she could have made. She describes how it has benefited her relationship (she is now married to her college boyfriend) and their lives. Having the abortion also gave her space to think about whether she wanted to become a parent or not. It provided her with the option to have a choice about what her life would look like.