Afghan women turn to abortion amid immigration challenges

ISLAMABAD (SW) – In the wake of recent political changes in Afghanistan, a growing number of Afghan women who sought refuge in Pakistan are turning to abortion due to challenges in their immigration cases.

These women say that in order to avoid the rejection of their immigration cases by other countries they are resorting to drastic measures, including undergoing abortions.

The circumstances have forced some women to consider terminating pregnancies as a way to manage their precarious living conditions and the uncertainties surrounding their immigration status.

“When I aborted my fetus, it was not aborted completely, and I experienced bleeding for 18 days until the remaining part in the uterus was naturally expelled. Throughout this period, I resorted to various medications,” said Nasrin (pseudonym), an Afghan woman residing in Pakistan who made the difficult decision to terminate her pregnancy in an attempt to avoid the rejection of her immigration case by European countries.

Nasrin says that in the spring, upon discovering her pregnancy, she opted to abort the 45-day-old fetus within her uterus using different medication. She added that her abortion caused her physical and mental disorders. “Using the drug has affected me a lot; I am very depressed. I get angry and argue with my husband. I almost killed myself, when my husband saw it he stopped me.”

Nasrin, who simultaneously applied for asylum in Germany and the United States of America while relocating to Pakistan, said that she does not want her immigration case be restarted by having another child and live in despair in Pakistan.

A number of other women who have gone to Pakistan in the last two years and are expecting to be relocated to other countries, have also decided the abortions.

Maryam (pseudonym), another Afghan woman residing in Pakistan, says that she aborted her fetus using medications a year ago, all while keeping the procedure a secret from her family members.

“It was not easy for me because I am a mother, but I had to make this decision because of the fate of my daughters. After the abortion, I experienced gynecological and obstetrical problems, visiting the hospital several times, but it was of no use,” said 30 years old Maryam, mother three children who aborted her 3 months old fetus.

Although becoming a mother conveys a good feeling to mothers but migration and the problems that exist in the complicated process have forced these mothers to ignore the joy of motherhood by aborting, which causes them to suffer from physical and mental illnesses.

Shazia, a doctor in a private hospital in Pakistan, says that abortion causes depression, mental disorders and physical diseases in mothers. “It is hard for every woman who loses her child. In many cases, women become depressed and despair of life, and the mother needs long-term treatment at this time, both physically and mentally.”