My parents are both immigrants from Taiwan. Growing up, they were both pretty conservative when it came to matters of sex... Sex was not talked about in my family. It still is not really a subject that's talked about. Only very recently, in the past year, I was able to talk about it with my sister. It's kind of ironic, because I've been working on women's rights issues for so many years and I can talk about these issues with other people, but I can't talk about them with my own family. It's still difficult for me.
My abortion took place in February 2003. At the time, I was working as a child case manager at a transitional shelter for women and children with histories of domestic violence and homelessness. I was working very closely with moms--most of them young moms--and kids. And I love kids. This was my second year out of college and it was a continuation of similar work that I had done working with kids.
So when I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things that I thought about was the moms that I had been working with, because a lot of them told me that they loved their kids but they kind of wish they had them later in life. I also had friends in college who had gotten pregnant and dropped out. Also, I had been applying to law school... I knew that in a few months I was going to go to law school somewhere, and that was something I'd really worked hard to do. I didn't want to give that up.
For me, it was a pretty easy decision. My abortion was actually quite empowering, and I know how that might sound to some people. But I worked really hard to get myself to the position I was at the time, and I knew that having an unintended pregnancy, I wasn't going to be able to get to a place where I'd be able to have children, where I could provide for them, be in a stable relationship, and all these other things. I've thought about abortions very much since then--I'm actually going to be working on reproductive rights issues after I graduate from law school this May.
It came up once during a dinner party with my friend, his mother and some other people. She was talking about abortions and how she would never have one, but that she would never impose that view on someone else. I decided on the spot that it was an appropriate time for me to talk about my experience and why I did it. I don't know what I was expecting, but I felt like people around the table were talking very theoretically about abortions, so that's why I decided to tell them. That was the first time I told a group of strangers. It was scary but it was OK. They were proud of me--they were like, really?