16 June 2010

Day 81: Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok.  ISBN: 9781594487569 (advanced reader copy).

I sort of didn't want to talk about abortion, but I think I have to at some point.  It's covered by too many works and, even though this is giving away some of the plot, it's a pretty big deal in this book.  I feel like I have to talk about it at some point.  I think it's important for women to talk about in the same way that it's important for homosexuals to come out of the closet: the more exposure there is, the less stigma.  At least I hope that's the way it works.  It seems to me like humanizing and personalizing the issue should make people more empathetic.

Having said that, I've never had an abortion.  But there have been some pregnancy scares in my life, and I probably would have gone that route.  I've taken the Plan B twice in my life, and I've had three pregnancy scares. All three times I used condoms; twice the condoms failed.  All three times I used condoms, twice the condoms failed.  Both times I took the Plan B pill were very difficult times for me.  I know that the pill is not an abortifacient (it won't work if the fertilized egg has implanted in the uterine lining, the definition of pregnancy), but I did wonder if I was doing the right thing.  Each time I wondered what that potential child would have been like, assuming it would have come to being at all.

I'm glad that I didn't have to get to the fetal stage to make such a terrible decision.  It's a decision that no one should have to make.  Especially alone.  I was glad to have my partners involved in the decision, and willing to come with me to the clinic to get the pill.  These are men I would have been proud to have be the father of my child.  But I was in no way ready for it.  I've only just begun to live an independent life where I can make my own decisions based on what I need.  If I had a child right now, my options would be severely limited and the life I could provide for him or her would also be limited.  As conflicted as I felt making the decision to take the Plan B pill, I know that I don't want to bring a child into the world the way it is now.  It would not be fair to ask someone to live in a world that does not provide basic health insurance and a world where a living wage is nearly impossible to obtain.  It's not a world I care to live in, but I'm here and so I must, but I don't have to bring anyone else into it.

1 comment:

  1. There is abortion in my family and I have the same wonderings... what would my older brother have been like if he lived? I don't bring it up to my mother because... yeah, can you say a bit of a touchy/emotional issue.

    When it comes down to it, there are two choices: a violent one and a non-violent one. As someone in favor of building a non-violent, peaceful world, I don't mind that there is a great deal of stigma attached to choosing abortion. I wish there was more stigma associated with other forms of violence (war, arms manufacturing etc). And I wish our society was more supportive of the non-violent choice, with a just health care system and all the rest.

    PS Just so you know, medically speaking, the Pill does not cause an abortion since it works before the fertilized egg hits the uterine lining. However metaphysically speaking, many people believe that at that point, pregnancy has already begun since the zygote already has all of the DNA it needs to form a new, entirely individual human being. It's no longer a cell with just the mom's DNA or the dad's DNA... it has it's own, unique, unrepeatable DNA and therefore is a new, original being already called into existence, according to this understanding. Plan B "starves" the genetically new creature, causes it to die and that's why it's considered to cause an abortion by some people.


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