Yesterday evening, as I was wrapping up for the day, our health facilitator came into my office to discuss a young Cambodian woman who had called her for help.
She was nearly three months pregnant. Her boyfriend left, and she’s scheduled to visit her mother next week. Due to a legitimate fear of being shunned for life by her own family, she felt she had no choice but to end the pregnancy, and fast – before seeing her mother.
Rather than referring her to a doctor, this woman’s pharmacist sold her a sketchy mix of pills and enemas to end her pregnancy. (Safe abortions are available in Cambodia, but not so widely available as misinformation and druggists looking to make a buck.) Last night, our staff worked to get in touch with this woman – who never had the benefit of sex education – with the vital information she needs to ensure this decision doesn’t cost her life.
I’m devastated that another young woman may lose her life today to fear and misinformation. But at the same time, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that we’ve come so far. A year ago, we had no health facilitator. Today, because of all the support you’ve given us, this woman has someone to turn to for emotional support and information that – hopefully – will save her life.
We may not celebrate Thanksgiving in Cambodia, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t thankful. Truly, we wouldn’t be where we are today, helping women like this every week, without for generous friends like you.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Women's Resource Center, Siem Reap, Cambodia