Rwanda – ‘I Was Forced to Leave the Country for an Abortion’

July 10, 2022

I remember wanting to vomit as the plane took off. I felt anxious; this was not a situation I expected to find myself in. I closed my eyes, adding up how much the trip was costing me—the flight, the hotel and the procedure itself had set me back around $2,000. I would be burdened with more credit card debt but I was still immensely grateful to be on a plane to New York City, where I would be able to have an abortion.

I traveled over 6,000 miles to terminate my unwanted pregnancy in 2005, as I was living in Rwanda at the time, working on a national HIV treatment program. Abortion was only permitted in Rwanda when two physicians certified that it was needed to protect a woman's physical health or to save her life. Neither of these exceptions applied to me. I simply did not want to become a parent.