Srey Pich*, 35, has come to a Marie Stopes International centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She greets the staff with a warm smile.
She has two children, one of whom lives with her father in the countryside, receiving education support from an NGO. She lives in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh with her second child and her husband, who recently became sick and cannot work. She supports her family in Phnom Penh by selling lunches of rice and other small foods.
Srey Pich recently fell pregnant, but with three people depending on her wage, she cannot afford time away from work, and her family cannot afford the cost of another child. She has come to Marie Stopes for a safe abortion.
“My business only makes a small profit.’ Srey Pich explains and starts to cry a little. ‘I borrowed money to start it, and when I got sick recently, I couldn’t work [or keep up with debt repayments]. I have to make the food and sell it by myself. My husband can’t help me now because he has heart disease…. If I have another child, who will earn money? Who will feed them?”
This is her third abortion. She had her first two abortions at a different health facility because it was cheap, but ultimately, she had problems.
“I was in so much pain. I had injections and IV infusions.
Normally, I can withstand pain but that time it was too much. The abortion was incomplete and I was bleeding heavily. I had to go back for a second time, which was so painful.”
Fortunately, Marie Stopes offers women like Srey Pich safe, welcoming, high-quality abortion services at seven clinical centres across Cambodia. “[My friend] told me that Marie Stopes has safe services and good quality,” said Srey Pich. “I trusted Marie Stopes because my friend had been there.”
At Marie Stopes, Srey Pich’s experience was very different to her previous abortions. “Before I got the service, I was really nervous…[but] the midwife talked to me throughout the process and reassured me. I stopped feeling worried at all. She was so professional and everything was confidential. I know the abortion will be successful.”
The midwife also explained other options for contraception to prevent repeat abortions and Srey Pich decided to use an IUD.
She is relieved. “I want to tell other women like me that Marie Stopes provides confidential, high-quality services at a cheap price. Thank you to the midwife who helped me. I feel so reassured.”
“[The midwife] was so professional and everything was confidential. I feel so reassured.”
*Names have been changed.