Baen is 36 years old, with four children, aged 19, 15, 14 and 11. She lives in Kandal province, Cambodia.
“The difficulty of having a lot of children is that our expenditure increases. We decided to space our children out because we wanted to have enough time to make a living and save money. I used to work at a garment factory, but I’ve since stopped working there and stayed home to help my husband with his ice-selling business.
I found out about my accidental pregnancy after I went to have a pregnancy check-up at the MSI’s clinic in Takmao – I always use their reproductive health service. I decided to do the abortion was because my health was bad. I told my husband and children that I want to have an abortion, and they supported me. I told my friends about it as well, and I didn’t feel like I was being judged at all, since they know about my bad health.
I was 40 days into my pregnancy. I received the abortion service from the MSI branch in Takmao. I know about the clinic because I used to work at a garment factory where most of the workers were female, and they speak highly of MSI.
It is a hard decision when it comes to abortion. I was afraid that it would make my health worse, but I had to do it. I only had 50,000 riel [AU$17] but MSI still provided their service with great care.
In Cambodia, women need to have access to a trustworthy abortion service. If there is no access to abortion services, we could face difficulties in our family, like financial issues. Like my family, for example, it was an accidental pregnancy which we weren’t prepared for, so if we had kept it we would have had financial difficulties.
I chose to use intrauterine contraceptives after the abortion. It gives me a weird sensation – the feeling of having something inside of you constantly – but I am fine.
What I would say to those who seek a safe and trustworthy abortion service is that they should get advice from MSI. One of my friends is quite poor, but she wants to get a tubal ligation – I will tell her about Marie Stopes. They are the best place to get reproductive health services. I first heard about MSI in 2005, and I started to go for my health check-ups in 2018.
Now, people talk openly about abortion. It is different from before – in the past, Cambodian women were too shy to speak about abortion. The information about safe abortion services is publicly advertised on the television, so people are more aware of it. It is very beneficial for Cambodian women to talk openly about abortion – that way they can find a safe service.”