L.

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2020 United Arab Emirates

What were your feelings about doing the abortion/s?

I felt grief to have to abort the pregnancy given that I am older (42), conceived naturally with a partner I feel committed to and would like to have a child with, and feel it is unlikely that I could get pregnant again. However it was necessary given the legal risks in this country. So I felt very sad to have to do it. I was also scared of the physical process, worried about the pain and the potential for complications.

How did you do the abortion?

Although I was scared, the information I received was thorough and reassuring. I followed all the instructions exactly as written and it was a very smooth experience. I did feel cramping and had heavy bleeding and it took about 5 days after the procedure to feel completely normal again, but it was much easier than I expected.

I am married, but separated from my husband for the past 3 years. He is living outside the country at the moment due to COVID travel restrictions returning to the UAE after what was supposed to be a short trip, and we're in the process of a divorce. In this country, it is illegal to have sex with someone other than one's legal spouse. Since I am technically still married (having a divorce in process doesn't make a difference to the law here) and my spouse is outside the country, conceiving a child with my boyfriend of 2 years is technically illegal. Although I would love to have another child, I would face severe legal ramifications if I chose to continue the pregnancy since going for any prenatal care here and/or giving birth would implicate that I had sex outside my marriage. Under normal circumstances I would have traveled to Europe to obtain a legal abortion, but travel restrictions due to the COVID would not allow me to return here to my country of residence thereafter, so I felt that I had no choice other than to try to figure out a way to obtain an abortion here.

Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?

The fact that it is illegal in my country of residence did make me feel more nervous and fearful than I would otherwise. I was nervous about receiving the medications via mail and the potential of having to seek medical help if anything went wrong. However, the emails from the Women on Web team were incredibly helpful and reassuring and everything went very smoothly.

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