Jump to maincontent


Caroline comes from a rural part of Sweden. In 1995, at the age of 16, she had an abortion. This is Caroline’s story.

  • Drawing illustrating a woman.
    OTALT/Helene Karlsson

Caroline's story is collected especially for the SHHH project. All informants and stories in this project have been anonymised. All names are changed.

And I’m utterly grateful for the possibility to have an abortion. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I’d had a baby at 17.


Caroline's story

I was 16, and had just started upper secondary school. I had also just started having sex with my first serious boyfriend. We always used a condom. But then I got a feeling, and took a morning after pill. I thought that would do the job. But it turned out that no, three weeks later I started throwing up. So we went to the school nurse together and took a test.

She sat us down in front of her desk and said “the test is positive”. I was like “Yes!” and she said “No, no, positive means, well, you’re pregnant”.

My world came tumbling down. I was immediately certain of what I needed to do. I wanted to be a dancer, and that didn’t go with having a child. So I made an appointment for an abortion right away.

It took me a while to get my abortion. I think it was seven weeks. I guess I wasn’t prioritised. In my later pregnancies I’ve proven to have something called hyperemesis. I was vomiting all the time, so I couldn’t go to school. It was a bad start to upper secondary. I was always a good student, so being stuck at home throwing up was rough. 

My boyfriend supported me, but we didn’t see much of each other during the week. I wasn’t in school, and he didn’t go out of his way to see me. He was only 17 after all. Thankfully I had the best mum in the world supporting me.


At first, everything was ok. A nice nurse stroked my hair. But, when my anaesthesia was complete and it was time for countdown, the door flung open and in came a group of students, at least five of them. The doctor said “they’re here to observe what I’m doing”. I don’t think he even asked if it was ok. I just remember it felt horrible. They came in and sat down along the wall, with a direct view of my genital area. The doctor stood to the side. It felt awful not to have been asked beforehand, to not get the chance to say no. But I was already so out of it, and I went to sleep.

Afterwards, it was just good-bye, no one followed up on me. I was worn out physically after having vomited for eight weeks, and no one asked me how I was in regards to what I’d been through. But well, that was it.

I think you end up getting the children you’re supposed to have. Like, they come back. If it wasn’t the right time back then, they come back later. And I’m utterly grateful for the possibility to have an abortion. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I’d had a baby at 17.