Fatuma

Fatuma is from Kenya. She had an abortion in 2019, when she was 22 years old. She already had three children at the time.

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    OTALT/Helene Karlsson

This story is collected by a feminist organization based in Kenya called TICAH (Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health). They run a safe abortion hotline, Aunty Jane Hotline. They collect stories from the women who call or from community women who have accessed abortion services from TICAH's network of healthcare providers.

In this community, most women do not share their abortion stories. It is a secret that women keep to themselves, so it’s very hard to identify if unsafe abortions are happening.

Fatuma

Fatuma's story

I decided to have an abortion because I already had three kids, and looking at my situation, I was not ready to have a fourth child.

I was with my friend, Liz, and we stumbled upon a lady who was talking about a certain seminar on safe abortion from a local organization. We were interested and decided that maybe we should attend and find out what it’s all about, and that is where I got informed. Right after the seminar, I met another lady who gave me contacts for someone I could call. I approached her with my situation and she gave me a number to call for help.

One of the motivations to attend the seminar was because I was already pregnant by then. My husband did not know and I did not want to share it with him. Up to today, he still doesn’t know about it and I cannot tell him about it. I could not tell him because I knew if I told him he would not allow me to have the abortion. My son is now two years old but at the time he was one year old, my second born was four years old and my first born was six years old.

When I terminated the pregnancy I was only one month pregnant. The lady I met at the seminar gave me the Aunty Jane hotline number, I called the hotline the next day. The lady I spoke to referred me to a clinic. There they gave me pills to take. I had to put them under my tongue. I don’t remember which pills they were, but after a short period I started bleeding. 

In this community, most women do not share their abortion stories. It is a secret that women keep to themselves, so it’s very hard to identify if unsafe abortions are happening and if women know of women who are going through it. Maybe they know, but I am not sure, I can only speak for myself. If women are dying, that is very unfortunate.