‘The system is inhumane’: Kally, manager of the Liverpool clinic.
She describes the system as “inhumane”. “It is very difficult for women from Ireland to come here. Lots of things contribute to the stress: they don’t want people to know; there is the extra cost, and they have to travel; there is still a stigma attached to abortion; they are afraid they may meet someone here who knows them. It has happened. I’m not saying that women from England aren’t anxious and worried, but they don’t have the added stress that the women from Ireland have.”
By 10.30am, 10 minutes before her first appointment, Catriona is already grey-faced with exhaustion and so tired that talking is a struggle; her words fall out on top of each other. She is six weeks pregnant and has travelled overnight by boat from a small town an hour outside Belfast to Liverpool for an abortion.
“A lot of bad things have happened to me in my life, but this has been the worst,” says the 28-year-old single mother who, like all the women I spoke to for this article, did not want to use her real name. It’s not the abortion itself that is troubling her; she has two sons already, and no desire to expand her family.