At 16, My Mom Flew to Japan Alone to Have an Abortion

At 16, My Mom Flew to Japan Alone to Have an Abortion
By Alexis Cheung
Feb 6, 2017

In 1966, my mother flew from Seattle to Japan, alone, to have an abortion. She was 16. It’s strange, as a daughter, to wish you could protect your mom from something that happened so many years ago. But as aggressive rollbacks on women’s health care ensue, with Trump reinstating the Global Gag Rule and nominating a judge to the Supreme Court who could pose a severe risk to women’s reproductive rights, her experience no longer seems so far-fetched. My mother’s abortion was a footnote in an otherwise expansive and fulfilled life — a life, of course, enabled by her decision. This is her story in her own words.

When [my period was] two weeks late, I went to the doctor because my cycle was usually like clockwork. I knew right away that I was pregnant, within six weeks. I bypassed our family doctor and went to another GP. She was the only female doctor in town [Everett, Washington, about an hour from Seattle]. I thought because she was a woman that she’d be able to relate to me, but instead she confirmed the pregnancy and said, “Whatever you do, don’t get an abortion.” At that time, abortion wasn’t legally available where I lived. So my boyfriend and I — thinking there was no alternative — thought we had no choice but to have the baby.

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Source, New York Magazine: