Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turning the (Exam) Tables

I've never had an abortion. I've never even had a pregnancy scare, though that's probably more because of the lack of opportunity than anything else. Sometimes I start to think that I could have just a teeny bit more Abortioneer cred if I had had an abortion, even though I don't really believe that there is a hierarchy of pro-choicedness. And one time, when I was worked up about someone's anti-choice Facebook comment, I considered lying and saying I'd had an abortion, just to shock him and shut him up. You do not need to tell me the many, many problems inherent to this idea, and I'm proud to say I came to my senses. In any event, if I did have an unintended pregnancy, I would have an abortion, and it would not be up for debate, with myself, or anyone else. I would be glad, I would be grateful, and I would be a patient at my own clinic.

A friend once asked me, "Would you choose your clinic if you needed an abortion?" I looked at her like she had grown an IUD out of her nose, and replied, "Um, yeah. Of course." I'm really good at answering without thinking sometimes. Then I ruminate about it for hours. It's a lot of fun being me. So I thought about it later on and considered the fact that a lot of Abortioneers might not be as fortunate to work at a clinic they love and believe in, and it might be just a job to them, and they might have no qualms about going to a clinic that's friendlier, brighter, or, heaven forbid, safer.

A former employee of my clinic was a patient a couple of months ago. I chatted with her about the place and how it had and hadn't changed, and then, feeling a rapport, she confided about how embarrassed she was for being on the other side of stirrups as a patient. "I should have known better," she lamented. "I can't believe I'm here for THIS." "I'm really ashamed of myself." They were all of the heartbreaking reasons our clients often give, but I was surprised to hear them coming from the mouth of an Abortioneer. I'm certain that she wouldn't have judged clients they way she was judging herself, so was she just being hard on herself, or was she expressing her subconscious thoughts about abortion? She was, of course, entitled to her feelings, but those feelings are pretty complex.

I treated that client as well as I treat any other client, and like I know I would be treated if I were an employee-turned-patient. But I can't say for sure how my emotions and biases would or wouldn't align if I were the one having the aspiration. On the plus side, if I ever do, you can be sure I'll write all about it here.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this post. I've also never had an abortion, and I hope not to need one. The brief times I've had pregnancy scares (which were not really scares, it should be noted, but inevitabilities due to extreme high-strung anxiety) I've realized just how much I hope to not need an abortion.

    However, there have been times in my abortioneering work where I wish I could tell my patients "I've been there." Patients sometimes will ask me if I've ever had an abortion (or if I have kids) and it sort of breaks my heart a little to have to say no. It seems like they're looking for empathy, and while I can say that I've been involved in hundreds of abortions it's not the same as having my own personal experience with it. One of my co-workers who's had abortions always tells patients who are nervous that she's been on that table and she did fine and so will you. I think there's probably something really nice and comforting about being able to hear that from a staff member.


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