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26th May 2017, 12:10:38 UTC

“I read online about self-induced abortions, about some Chinese herbs. I was probably six or seven weeks along, apparently it needed to be earlier. I tried them and they didn’t work, while I was still waiting for an appointment [with the clinic in England] because you try everything when you are desperate.

Sandra is a young, single mother who told Amnesty International that she used medication obtained through Women on Web to end an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy in 2014. “Two children would be a catastrophe for me, I can’t afford that. I have just finished school and I am getting my career going, I don’t know how that would be possible with two kids.”

Immediately after discovering she was pregnant, Sandra tried to schedule an appointment with a clinic in England but found it difficult and costly. She attempted to induce an abortion using high doses of vitamins and some “Chinese herbs” she had read about on the internet. She told her mother she was trying these methods because, “You don’t want something happening to you and people not knowing what happened to you. Just in case you collapse.”

Sandra’s mother had read about Women on Web in an Irish Independent article about women who were travelling to Belfast [in Northern Ireland] to collect the pills for medical abortion. Sandra made a €90 donation, set up a postal box in Belfast, and made a six-hour round trip to pick up the pills. “It was very easy; all they did was ask for my ID, they didn’t photocopy it or do anything. I took off the packaging that it was in, because when you are carrying something like that, you have this fear. I just took the pills and the instructions and hid them in my bra, because you never know. I was paranoid… I got home and I think that is when the fear starts, before I was just getting through but when you have to take it… I took the pills. The next day I took the second one and it was very bad, it was really painful. Then the following day it was done… You have this bleeding but it is done. I got my period again about a week and a half ago and I am very happy.”