S.N.T.'s Story - South Cowichan Medical Clinic, Mill Bay, British Columbia

 2006 - When I was living on my own and working constantly to make ends meet I suddenly realised I hadn't had my period for awhile. I confirmed that I was pregnant with an at-home test. It wasn't the right time for me to have children so I went to my local clinic to discuss termination options. My regular 'male' doctor saw me and upon learning why I was there had me do another pregnancy test, which also came back positive. Instead of referring me for the procedure, he told me to discuss my choice with the father first and come back in two weeks to have another pregnancy test and blood work done, just to be sure it was safe to proceed.

Something told me to move on this faster. I ignored his advice and looked up the nearest Women's Clinic in the phone book. When I spoke to the female doctors there I learned that, had I waited those two weeks, I would have exceeded the allowable window to terminate the pregnancy. After which I would have had to prove it was a risk to my health, or take legal action to get the procedure. Even the women doctors at the clinic asked me three times if I was sure about my choice before they brought the papers out for me to sign. As I was leaving the office the receptionist called me over to double check my procedure appointment. She had 'accidentally' left my ultrasound image out on the front reception desk (where anyone could see my medical file). It clearly showed the fetus. The receptionist didn't apologise or remove the file from public view, but acted like it was normal to leave such things lying around. I confirmed the appointment time and left.

I was so furious with all of the doctors' less-than-subtle manipulation tactics. It made me realise that doctors do not prioritise my interests or concerns and I haven't trusted them since.

Since then, I've gone to college, I've got the career I want, and I've met someone I actually love. When I think back on that experience, it disgusts and scares me that if I'd had any less conviction about my choice, those doctors could have manipulated me into a situation I didn't want to be in and deprived me of the life I have now. It was an abuse of their position.

I did not provide feedback. I really wanted nothing more to do with doctors so far as I could avoid them.

At the time of the pregnancy, I'd just started a relationship. I didn't have access to birth control, because I had no medical coverage and couldn't afford it. I'd planned to wait to take the relationship to the next level once I could afford birth control. The guy kept asking for sex repeatedly and unfortunately, one night when I'd had a couple beers (I'm a lightweight), I consented to his persistence. The first time I have sex in over a year and I get pregnant! I could barely afford to take care of myself let alone another human being. I hadn't gone to college or pursued my career yet, nor was the guy exactly father material or someone I wanted to continue having in my life. It wasn't the right time so I decided to terminate.

Although abortions are legal in Canada, they are not supported and in some cases actively worked against by medical professionals. See multiple doctors until you get what you want. If a doctor stalls on a treatment, seriously question it and get a second (or multiple) opinion.

Submitted by S.N.T.