When Rabia Nassar* was 17 years old, she took a five-pound dumbbell from her parents’ gym in the basement and proceeded to drop it on her stomach, over and over again.
Unsure where it would be most effective at ending her pregnancy, she dropped it under her ribcage. She ended up with bruises all over her hip bones and lower stomach, and the inability to eat for days at a time. She remained pregnant.
The now-24-year-old Nassar then turned to a guidance counselor at school. “I didn’t have any adults in my life that I felt I could talk to,” she recalls. “I figured that if I spoke with her, and she didn’t want to help me, it wouldn’t be a loss.”
To Nassar’s surprise, her counselor had been through this many times, and knew about free clinics and post-abortion care resources. “She never once mentioned what her beliefs on abortion were. She only ever told me that I had the right to choose how to live my life, and whatever I chose, she would support me throughout it."
But Nassar’s access issues didn’t stop there. In her hometown of Mississauga, Ontario, the only abortion clinic she found was one that required parental consent—so she had to travel to downtown Toronto, which cost her $50.