Brandon Stanton, better known as the photographer behind Humans Of New York, recently shared the emotional story of a woman who Googled how to give herself a DIY abortion.
The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where abortion is illegal, except in cases where the life or health of the pregnant woman is at risk, or where the pregnancy is the result of the rape.
Despite this, health authorities estimate that there about 500,000 abortions per year, and 80,000 women are hospitalised each year as the result of abortion complications. The women must then also face legal punishment for the act.
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The woman featured on Humans Of New York told the story of her DIY abortion at the age of 18.
“I didn’t want to be a mother," she said. "I was eighteen. We weren’t in love. I had goals I wanted to accomplish. So I made the hardest decision of my life.
"It’s not legal here. So I researched it on the Internet. I did it myself. In my room. If things had gone wrong, I could have died."
She said the moment that it was successful is burned into her memory.
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"Seeing it come out of me was the worst moment of my life. And I couldn’t tell anyone. Not even my parents. So I carried the secret with me.
"I felt like this thing was always in my chest, but it was stuck there. All day I’d act normal. Then at night I’d go to my room and cry.”
Her story is the perfect example of why legal, safe abortions are so important: women in desperate situations will still find ways to have an abortion, but their lives are at terrible risk.