This special weekend edition of “from the comments” was compiled from reader responses to Jessica Leeder’s essay I wanted an abortion in Nova Scotia, but all around, barriers still remained. Women and men have shared their own experiences in response to Ms. Leeder’s piece. Comments were collected from globeandmail.com and the Globe’s Facebook page.
I applaud the writer for making her experience public. When, in 1973 I found myself pregnant, I had to go before a committee of three doctors who would decide whether my request for an abortion was justified on grounds of mental or physical health. Looking back, it seems like it was the dark ages. I had assumed that all of Canada had matured enough to recognize that abortion is not only not illegal, but is a personal decision and should be readily available to any woman who asks for one, without the need for justification. Thank you for telling your story. I agree with another commenter here that the more this is talked about, the more likely it is that things will change for the better. - Deborah S
Although not far enough, we have come a long way in the Maritimes from the early 1970s. My wife and I were attending the University of New Brunswick in the early seventies. She was on the pill, but got pregnant. We were no more ready, or capable, of raising a family as fly to the moon. Thankfully, our doctor whispered to us that there was a doctor in Montreal who performed abortions and slipped us a piece of paper with an address on it, Dr. Henry Morgentaler.
We went to the clinic and my wife was told to keep her clothes on as they were being raided constantly. Ten minutes later, Dr. Morgentaler told my wife she was no longer pregnant, very healthy and “have your family when you are ready.” Seven years later, we had our first daughter, and two years later, our second. They are the apples of our eyes, wanted, loved, married, well educated and happy. Seven years earlier it would have been a different story, I am sure. - Beans Maroc
In 1968 when abortions were not available in Canada, I had no other choice but to go ahead with an unwanted pregnancy. I was still a teenager and my parents were in no way willing to help me or to welcome their first grandchild into our family. So I was shamed and forced to “give up” my baby for adoption. I was treated terribly, my rights were ignored and I suffered life-long consequences from this loss. It’s hard to believe that an abortion is still so difficult to obtain in Canada in 2018. I can’t help thinking how much easier the whole process would be if it were men who were having babies! - J.Charles
This is one of the most important pieces The Globe and Mail has published, right up there with the “Unfounded” investigative series. And it took your courage to do so, Ms. Leeder. Though I am now through that stage of life, I too, experienced the suffocating panic -- at age 40 -- that you so articulately and vividly describe. I had three teens and was a professional, university-educated single mum, close to exiting a live-out relationship that wasn’t right for me. Discovering I was pregnant only made that decision clearer, and an abortion imperative.
Had I not had an empathetic doctor, or lived in a province and city in which abortion was accessible, my anxiety and panic would have been even more crippling. I have taken for granted that all Canadian women had the same access and services available somewhere within reasonable driving distance and timing. To find out that this is not the case is a national shame. No one should have to cross provincial borders or pay for what is rightfully ours as citizens. The two weeks I spent waiting for the procedure were wrenching. I knew what I wanted and needed, and time would not shake my decision. Women deserve better. - mbadams
When I was in law school I found out I was pregnant. It was not the right time for me to have a child. I knew I needed an abortion. Due to wait times in Kingston I had to wait until my 11th week of pregnancy, experiencing the entire first trimester. I had to take two months off from school due to intense and constant morning sickness. It was terrible. If I went to school in Toronto or Ottawa I would not have been subjected to suffer through an entire first trimester for no reason. To those anti-choice people in the comments: I exercised my Charter right to choose whether I wanted to carry a pregnancy to term. Any person who exercises their rights has no reason to be ashamed, judged, or attacked in this country. - Isabelle Crew on The Globe’s Facebook Page
Thank you Jessica for sharing your experience. I am a man, and have always been pro-choice. But I cannot experience or claim to relate with the emotions, medical impacts and choices that a woman has to make during and after pregnancy. This article helps to educate us and gives us an opportunity to empathize. Thank you. - BSid
Thank you to the author for sharing your story. It’s important to continue to discuss the barriers that women face, when trying to access safe terminations. - Butterfly131
From the Comments is a new feature designed to highlight interesting and thoughtful contributions from our readers. Some comments have been edited for clarity. Everyone can read the comments but only subscribers will be able to contribute. Thank you to everyone furthering debate across our site.