“Illegal abortion in a foreign country”

by Jessica

May 22, 2019

In 2016, I got pregnant on my birthday after the condom broke. I had just moved to Morocco for a new job a few weeks before. I had not known the man very long, but I knew I did not want to have a child with him, or with anyone. He returned to the US the next day- we had met while traveling in Barcelona.

Having children was a childhood goal, but not one I had as an adult. Getting pregnant felt complicated because my sister had been trying to with her husband for a few years and had not been successful until 2018. I could not tell her for that reason.

People speak a dialect of Arabic and French in Morocco, and I only spoke English and a little Spanish. There are no privacy laws in Morocco and in order to receive insurance reimbursement for health costs, all  doctor visit information (including pictures of the uterus) need to be submitted to the employer. Thus, I paid out of pocket for all of my visits. Fortunately, they were relatively inexpensive in Morocco and the American man from Barcelona sent me the $500 to pay for the abortion procedure.


I was lucky to find a recommended doctor through a mutual friend (a British woman who had a few abortions while in Morocco) who spoke some English to confirm that I was pregnant. He took an ultrasound and did not question or judge my decision when I said I wanted to abort.

He told me I needed to get some blood tests and return to his office to make sure everything would run smoothly. For each doctor visit, I had to wait at least an hour to be seen. On my visit before the final appointment, I told him that I was nervous. He assured me that lots of women get abortions (in that Muslim country!) and that it was not a big deal.

We set a date for a Saturday morning where I would visit a hospital under the guise that I was receiving treatment for another concern.


I was taken to the basement of what seemed like an empty hospital and laid out on a hospital bed. I understood that I was going to be anesthetized, but I had not seen the doctor anywhere, and I became really concerned. I felt vulnerable. I would be knocked out and anything could happen. I started crying. As i was drifting off to sleep, the doctor came into the room and told me everything would be fine.


I woke up in what seemed like a storage room with terrible pain in my uterus. I was moved to a hospital room where I rested for about an hour. I walked home alone and spent most of the day in my bed watching Netflix and eating junk food. The day after, I felt physically normal. While the experience was a little traumatizing because I was alone and in a new country, I never regretted the decision. I have been able to continue to travel the world, and I get excited to see daily videos and pictures of my baby nephew.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!