Jane's Story

I am a strong supporter of increasing the availability of abortion clinics and methods. Being Asian American and Buddhist, my family's culture and religion neither prohibit nor denounce abortion. As a result, I grew up in a pro-choice family. I personally do not feel that a fetus is a living thing until it is able to survive on its own outside a woman's body. At any rate, a woman's body is the receptacle in which it grows, therefore the decision to allow it to grow must be up to the woman. Our society is uncomfortable with the power of women to play god. But as a woman, I find this attitude entirely irrelevant. Echoing the old feminist slogan, "My Body - My Right," it really doesn't matter what the world feels about a woman's right to abort. A woman will do if she wants, no matter what. The sooner society can accept this, the sooner we can go on with the business of keeping women healthy and happy. We certainly deserve it!

When I got pregnant at 25, I found it difficult to find a convenient abortion clinic. The entrance to one of the largest and most popular clinics in New York City was situated in what looked like a side entrance to a warehouse! Had I not gotten specific directions from the receptionist, I would have altogether missed it. Inside the clinic I saw a sea of women - many teenagers, some heart-wrenchingly young. It was disturbing to see such a large group of women who waited agonizing hours to be herded into the operating room like cattle. Amazingly, the outside of the clinic did not betray the chaos within. The women who entered did so discreetly and anonymously. On their faces, I saw the burden of shame and guilt. But I did not share those feelings.

As a pregnant 25-year-old, I found myself victimized by the conservative forces of our society that struggles to limit my reproductive control. Not only was the abortion difficult to obtain, it was also ridiculously tarnished in an aura of shame. I suppose Americans would be shocked by the ease in which European and Chinese women receive abortions and control their own reproductive health, but I am sure these women would also shocked by our antiquated attitudes towards family planning.

May 2004

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