I live with my partner and our three young children in a regional town in North East Victoria. We have limited income but do get some practical help from our church community. When I finally clicked and worked out I was 10 weeks pregnant we decided to terminate the pregnancy.

The closest fertility control clinic for surgical terminations was 40 km drive from our place. When I arrived at the clinic, I was shocked to see someone from our church standing with a group of protesters. I was so scared, she called out my name and thrust a small doll into my hand, saying termination was murder. I was shocked, humiliated and left the clinic in tears.

 

Traveling to Melbourne for a surgical abortion was the only option left that gave me and my family privacy and safety without judgement. I was completely overwhelmed by the 7 hours return travel on top of the cost of the termination.

 

Our community health centre put me in touch with the regional Women’s Health organisation, who helped me organise a no interest loan to cover the cost of the termination in Melbourne. Our loan repayments were negotiated to suit existing financial commitments and family circumstances.

 

My additional costs for the train travel and one night’s accommodation were subsidised by the rural Women’s Health organisation through a fund specifically established to address barriers to sexual and reproductive health services for women in regional areas.

 

This story was a contribution to the Storylines: Her Voice Matters project, a collaboration between Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Women’s Health Loddon Mallee and Murray PHN.