“I come here for many reasons including mental health counselling. At one point I tried to commit suicide by hanging myself so when someone told me about this place I came here and felt relieved. I can discuss all those issues which I am not able to share with anybody else. Abortion is not the only issue for which I have come to this clinic.

A lot of ladies in my neighbourhood tell me that a child is a god’s gift to a woman. We should never get it aborted but when we do not have proper financial standing then how will I raise them? I advise women that two children are more than enough. My children demand good clothes, toys from me but I am not able to meet their demands. I send my children to school and I hope when they grow up they don’t become like my husband. My husband lost both his parents at the age of 10 so there was nobody in his family to guide him, to nourish him properly. I was married off to him because both our families had the same caste.”

30-year-old woman from North Delhi, India

“No, I am not at all hesitant to talk about my abortions. I have had around twenty abortions till now and I am tired and irritated. I told my mother-in-law if I would have been operated on to prevent pregnancies then I wouldn’t have to suffer so much.

He tells me I have become boring for him and he will get another wife to make his life exciting and interesting. Earlier I did not use to but now I fight with him a lot because I am suffering the consequences of his actions. He tells me he will get married again to another woman. I have suffered so many physical complications because of the multiple abortions that I had to get done. I have developed allergies due to these abortion pills. There is no strength left in my body after having taken so many pills. My body has given up.

There is nobody in my family with whom I can share my pain and grief. I don’t feel lonely anymore. My children also fight among themselves. I live my life the way I want to. I used to cry earlier when nobody would support me but now I am self-sufficient emotionally.”

30-year-old Laxmi from New Delhi, India

“I came to know that I am pregnant with a baby two months ago and I got an abortion last month. An Asha worker named Bina whom I am in touch with told me about this place and she brought me to this Umeed ki Kiran (MSF) clinic. I received proper treatment from this place starting from medicines to receiving money for my operation, for my ultrasound and even my transport. I received all of these services for free. I was able to get my baby aborted very safely.

I felt really sad! It was like giving away a part of my body. However, I forgot about all the sadness and the hurt after looking at the struggles and the pain that I have experienced in my life. I have spent the majority of my life in these circumstances. This is not a question about giving birth to a child! If not today, I can give birth again tomorrow! However, what’s the point of raising a baby when we can’t provide the child with proper nourishment. We have survived but how will they? I thought it would be enough if I’m able to raise two children myself.

I told one of my acquaintances before getting an abortion and they advised against it but I said no! when my husband is not supportive then what’s the point of raising a child? Even if I would have given birth to that baby who would take care of him or her? Having a baby is not just about giving birth it is about their upbringing, their education and everything else. Raising a child is a long term investment. Everyone told me to give birth to my third baby but then I thought my baby would suffer the most in the future I thought it was best to get rid of the child.”

26-year-old Heena from New Delhi, India

“I also got my abortion done here, I receive tablets and every kind of help that I need from this place. (MSF’s ‘Umeed Ki Kiran’/ Ray of Hope clinic). Slowly I recovered from all the illnesses that I was suffering from.

I received every kind of treatment or help that I needed from this place. At one point in time, my family had not eaten anything for almost two days. We did not have any ration left. I called up this clinic and spoke to a ma’am about my situation. Although, they said they provide only medical treatment they promised to help me as much as possible. The staff arranged ration for about a month for me and my children. Somehow, we managed to sustain ourselves on the ration that was provided. After that, I took my children with me to the village. I have only returned now.

If anybody comes to me to take advice on abortion then I will recommend this place to them because I have received every help that I wanted. However, it is pointless to share anything with those who make fun or a mockery out of my situation.”

35-year-old woman from New Delhi, India