I've been doing this work for many years, but I'm still not at the place where I "out" myself as an Abortioneer to everyone in my life, all the time. And I'll admit: sometimes I feel guilty about not doing so. Sometimes I analyze myself, trying to figure out why I don't tell everyone; why I don't add certain people from my past on my Facebook; why I block access to my profile to even others on Facebook; why I don't just openly answer the question, "where do you work?" when anyone asks.
I'm proud to do this work. At the same time, I'm very aware there are some extreme "pro-life" freakazoids out there that feel so strongly about abortion, that they'd quite happily make sure we're (all Abortioneers) wiped off the face of the planet. I happen to live in a conservative place and I just don't know what I'm going to encounter at any point in time when I "come out." Still, I mostly have positive experiences when I say where I work. (Positive = no jeering or creepy stares like "I'm gonna get you" or big abortion debate.)
Recently, I spent time with a friend whom I've known for nearly 20 years. It became evident that I pretty much had only told him about the family planning and STI services at our clinic. When I was complaining about our protesters, he was incredibly confused. Certainly, throughout the 20 years of our friendship, I must've - somewhere - somehow actually TOLD him we did abortions! I HAD NOT! I was a bit mortified. (With myself.) So I came out. "We do abortions," I said. Not too shell shocked, he just said, "I thought you took care of infections here." I said we did and that was true. Slightly desperate, I asked, "Haven't I told you before? I've really never told you? Straight out?" Blank stare, "Nope." This friend and I had grown up in the same church, the same religion. I was a bit worried it might be the end of the road in our friendship, to be honest. Instead, as he sat in my office and eyed a sample Nuva Ring, he was just like,"Um. What's THAT?" So I explained. Then he saw our pretty basket which holds our abortion instruments to show women when telling them about the procedure. "What are those?" I explained. And I became keenly aware that Abortioneers' office spaces are *not* typical office spaces! Next, a barrage of abortion questions: how far along can you go; what's legal in the US; how is it done; how often do you do them; are you doing them right now; how many a week do you do? I was shocked. He wasn't mad. I think he's still my friend.
I know I just need to get over myself and be more open, generally, about my work, despite living in a conservative community. Or maybe I don't. I'm still not sure. I suspect I'm not the only person out there that sometimes experiences trepidation when outting themselves as an Abortioneer. Maybe you can share some of your thoughts, stories?