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Voices in Support of Abortion III: "Motherhood is a right, not an obligation"

Updated: 2 days ago


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In Aya Contigo we are collecting stories and opinions of women in support of abortion. In this series of testimonies we will learn about the experiences of those who are in Venezuela and what are the experiences that have shaped their opinion on the right to decide.


Kika Martorell, 44 years old.


When I became a mother I was already in favor. My first experience with this was at the age of 16 when I had unprotected sex; I had no sexual education, I didn't know my body or my menstrual cycle. Faced with a situation where I didn't get my period, I went for an ultrasound myself. I remember the doctor told me, "you have to have a blood test to rule out pregnancy". I became cold, pale and the possibility of getting pregnant crossed my mind, the first thing I said was, well, I'm going to have an abortion. With all the ignorance in the world, but I didn't see myself pregnant at that age. Fortunately, at that time I wasn't; it was polycystic ovaries. I was not an activist in this, but of course I thought that you can't force someone to be a mother if they don't want to.



I tried to take care of myself as much as possible. Yes, there were mistakes at some points, but I never imagined being pregnant at a young age. My first pregnancy was at the age of 26. Although I was young and had not yet finished my career, I decided then and there that I was going to have my son. I felt it was time to step a little more on the ground or something like that. And faced with the responsibility of having a child, I understood that you have to have it when you want it.


Motherhood is a choice


The reflection revolves around the fact that, in a society where we do not have a comprehensive sex education and we are kind of drifting, there are possibilities of unwanted pregnancies. This situation must be urgently addressed. There are also pregnancies resulting from rape. I do not agree and I will never agree to have them. If I did not want to have a child at that moment, let alone have one under those conditions. The questioning becomes more argumentative and nurturing as you advance in knowledge and age; you have more elements and you start to think and say yes, indeed, a woman has to decide when to be a mother and if she wants to be one.



Besides, contraceptive methods are not 100% safe. You can prove that with the book of Hook, Cinnamon and Blood that we promoted from the collective Las Comadres Púrpuras and from there I did my graduate thesis. Most of the women who became pregnant and told their testimony about abortion were taking care of themselves. That percentage of error falls on the woman.


Forcing a person to become a mother without her wanting to is also catalogued in international organizations as an act of torture.


Pregnancies Are Not a Blessing for Everyone


As a psychologist, I know that there are several consequences that befall women who are forced to continue with an unwanted pregnancy. First, it is important to reinforce that pregnancies are not a blessing for everyone; for some it is a calamity. When a condom breaks, when the method fails, when you get pregnant without expecting it or expecting it, it is a surprise. It is a bucket of cold water. The second is a situation of anguish and desperation. Since abortion is illegal, there is a lot of misinformation and ignorance. People think they are going to die; how much it will cost, where it is done. And the process of searching for information begins.


We have this whole situation of abortion pills that are in the hands of unreliable providers. They are acting clandestinely. Sometimes they sell them to you incomplete, the ones that are not. The prices are exorbitant, the woman has to find money to buy them. And not only are they expensive, but they can sell the protocol incomplete or they sell ibuprofen. Since you don't know what they look like, there comes another anguish. If you manage to buy them, it comes as a situation of relief and when you see that maybe it doesn't work, the anxiety comes back but increased. This happens with pills.


Poverty Is Accentuated By Unwanted Motherhood


As long as the abortion is clandestine, the woman will be exposed. Even if you have it done in a private clinic because if something happens to you inside the health institution, whether it is sexual violence or malpractice, whatever it is, you cannot denounce it because it is a criminalized practice and you can be condemned for having done it. When you don't have a support network, the process is complicated and you don't have information, it can generate depression. If there is a lot of bleeding, it generates stress because you don't know what is happening. There can be ruptures within the couple, as there can also be complex situations within the family environment. Forcing a person to continue an unwanted pregnancy can trigger frustration or anxiety. Even, the possibility of triggering rejection of the child. It is a complete change in your life, there are adjustments but in a forced way.


Among the consequences is also the possibility of leaving your job or being fired because in Venezuela, both in the public and private sector, you can be fired, even though it is illegal, they do it. If the pregnant woman has low economic resources then poverty is accentuated because she has to stop working or studying because she is possibly alone. This is what happens in most families in our country. Many are raising their children alone and above all they are the head of the family. As a result, the feminization of poverty increases. An unwanted child is a child who is not wanted, not cared for. A child who will grow up in a family with a mother who does not want him or her. It may happen that after a certain period of pregnancy, the mother may begin to love the child, but these are just some of the consequences that may occur.


Know Your Contraceptive Methods


I recommend women to always access information, to contact feminist organizations, to know their biorhythm, their menstrual cycle, to know when they ovulate. Look for information about their contraceptive methods, which ones can work for them. Which are the hormonal ones; they don't work for everyone the same way. At least for me, the pills hurt me a lot. I only take care of myself with condoms. That is also complicated in this country because you have to ask for it.



There are men who don't want to use condoms. If a woman has low self-esteem or no self-knowledge, she may give in to having unprotected sex, which exposes her more, so you have to seek information, you have to know yourself, have space for your knowledge and recognition to be able to say that you do not want to have sexual relations under risky conditions.


Remember that You Have Rights


A woman does not have to be sexually available if she does not want to, that is also a decision that women have the right to choose in our sexuality. If we want to be mothers or not and when we want to be mothers, we have the right to that and we have to demand it. Get together with people who are also in the same position. To the extent that you have more people or that are on the same wavelength, in the defense of rights, you feel more secure. Motherhood is a right, not an obligation.


Even though we live in a country that sacralizes motherhood, you should decide first, if you want to be a mother and second, if so, you should be able to choose at what stage of your life to do it. That should be your decision. And if you are in a couple, well you can consult, as long as the opinion of the other does not dominate or force your own opinion.


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