Forced Abortion: One Family’s Saga

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“The supreme adventure is being born. There we do walk suddenly into a splendid and startling trap. There we do see something of which we have not dreamed before. Our father and mother do lie in wait for us and leap out on us, like brigands from a bush. Our uncle is a surprise. Our aunt is, in the beautiful common expression, a bolt from the blue. When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world that we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”—G.K. Chesterton, from his essay “On Certain Modern Writers and the Institution of the Family”.

Today as I was driving through Washington, D.C., caught up in the crazy noon traffic, I caught sight of smiling happy people, some with signs, marching onto the National Mall to protest the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade in the March for Life rally.  They were very peacefully walking and chanting.    As I drove on, I thought how precious life is and how easily I could have been aborted.

My mother was one of the first female law graduates in South Korea.  She was single when she became pregnant with me and refused to marry my father.  This was in the late 1960’s when South Korea was a strictly feudal and very disciplined culture.  It was especially taboo and shameful to be an unmarried pregnant woman, especially if you were from a wealthy classed family as my mother was.   My grandparents were appalled and appealed to my mother to either marry my father or abort me.  So although abortion was ruled illegal in 1953 (exceptions being rape, incest, or severe genetic disorder), my mother could easily have found a doctor who would have performed an abortion; it costs approximately $200 today, much less in the 60′s.  Most non-married college graduate women at the time secretly got abortions but my mother was fiercely independent.

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