Sylvia

Sylvia, born 1940, travelled from Sweden to Norway for an abortion in 1964. Abortion was then illegal.

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    OTALT/Helene Karlsson

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

I never talked to my girlfriends about it. They were all married with families.

Sylvia

I had my abortion in 1964, when I was 24 years old. I had been married for a short period of time, but my husband was an alcoholic so I moved out and ended up alone with the children. I met this guy and I got pregnant, and we decided on an abortion. I already had two children and I did not want any more.

It was my boyfriend’s brother’s wife or something, who knew about this clinic in Norway. I don’t know how she knew about it. I don’t think she had been there herself, but anyway she knew of it and I was grateful since abortions were illegal here. I had no idea where to turn, so it was thanks to her that we ended up going.

We made an appointment and travelled by car to a private clinic. I can’t remember where it was but it was not very far across the border. That’s where the abortion was done and it went really well. It was a curettage and there were no complications. The clinic was nice and clean, the doctor was no charlatan. It was a simple procedure and not very expensive either.

I came home and I was maybe home for a day, but then I went back to work. I had a permanent job at the hospital. I had no discomfort at all.

Now when I think back on it, I only feel relief. It’s not a trauma in any way.

Sylvia

The decision was not hard to make. My boyfriend might have been prepared to have the child, but I didn’t want to, it was too soon for me to get remarried. So then he agreed too. It was not that complicated.

The only one who knew, besides my boyfriend and his relative, was my mum. She thought it was a good decision too. I couldn’t have another child, I had to work to support myself and my family. It was out of the question. I never talked to my girlfriends about it. They were all married with families. Everybody got married young back then.

Now when I think back on it, I only feel relief. It’s not a trauma in any way. It didn’t work out with this guy either. I was the one to break it off. Later I got remarried and had a daughter. She knows I had an abortion. But almost nobody else does.