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Hania from Costa Rica, tells her story from 1976. She was 17 years old when she had an abortion.

  • Drawing illustrating a woman.
    OTALT/Helene Karlsson

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

Hania's story

At the age of 17, I had a clandestine abortion in a private clinic. I made the decision to end the pregnancy with my partner, and his sister recommended the clinic.

Within a few days, I got a fever and I was in a lot of pain. I visited various clinics to seek help. However, doctors rejected me as a patient because of the risk they were exposed to if they treated me for a post-abortion infection. Abortion was, and still is, illegal in Costa Rica. I only survived because I eventually found a gynecologist who agreed to see me, gave me adequate antibiotic treatment and other medications and advised me to rest for a month.

I managed to survive, but many women do not.


At that time, the abortion was difficult physically and psychologically, but I never regretted the decision I made, because I was not ready to be a mother. I think it is particularly important that no one has to experience painful situations for choosing to terminate a pregnancy.

I managed to survive, but many women do not. States and churches must stop being complicit in the deaths of thousands of women who decide to abort for whatever reason.