“The news is filled with horror stories about the continued assault on a woman’s right to choose and I am so grateful that when I had my abortion 27 years ago I didn’t have to walk through picket lines or protesters.
A month after I moved to Okinawa with my husband and 3 month old son to take a job as an auditor for the US Air Force when I found out I was pregnant. Living in a new culture and taking care of an infant was not the time to have another child.
I was terrified when I first learned I was pregnant because I knew that I could not get an abortion at a military hospital and I didn’t know what my options were. I was incredibly fortunate that my nurse gave me the name of an off base clinic and I was able to get an appointment for the following Saturday. It was my first experience with health care outside of the United States and the conditions were not what I was used to. My husband stayed while they did the ultrasound and told us I was about 12 weeks pregnant. Although it was difficult to see the ultrasound, I never questioned the decision to have the abortion.
My husband left to take our son home and told me to call him when I was done and he’d pick me up. I was sedated and woke up on the floor on a tatami mat (a straw mat) in pain and bleeding. A nurse helped me get dressed and gave me a bulky pad for the bleeding. I left the clinic and found a pay phone, but I had no idea how to dial the base and get connected to my husband as we’d only been on the island for a few weeks. I was also too scared to hail a cab so I walked about a mile back to the base. As soon, as I stepped through the gates, I got a base taxi to take me home. I spent the weekend sleeping and went to work on Monday like nothing had happened.
Although the experience was traumatic and every now and every now and then I think about what could have been, I know that I made the right choice for myself and my family. And I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to go through this emotionally traumatic experience without having protesters calling me a baby killer. To this day, I do not understand what this country’s obsession with legislating abortion is. In other civilized countries, it is a private matter between a woman, her partner, and her doctor.” —Raine Shakti