The Good Indian Daughter and Abortion


CONTENT WARNING: This piece is about abortion


It was February in 2015 and I remember I was in a panic searching on Google pregnancy symptoms. My last period was super light; later, I realized that it was actually pregnancy spotting and I had missed my period. I was freaking out because I knew the morning-after pill didn’t work and I knew I was pregnant. Reading symptoms online and aligning them with how I felt made me realize that my body was really different than normal; tender, swollen breast, nausea, headaches, mood swings, fatigue, and much more -  Yup, I had all of it.


I think I took four pregnancy tests and I searched up once again to see how accurate they could be. Yes, all of them came back positive.


I didn’t feel comfortable going to my family doctor because he was Indian and was worried I would be judged. I didn’t want someone in the Punjabi community to find out because of the strong stigma attached to abortion and pre-marital sex/pregnancy. Yes, I am Punjabi. Punjabi and pregnant before marriage. This is every Punjabi parent's worst nightmare for their daughter. I was raised up really conservative and I knew if my parents ever found out...I can't even process what that would look like. But not good.


What I actually ended up doing was searching abortion Vancouver in Google, and the first link that popped up was the  Elizabeth Bagshaw Women’s Clinic. I felt some relief that there was actually information out there. I felt so much more relief when I was able to book my ultrasound and abortion procedure all online through email. It was discrete and all digital; I didn’t need to go to my family doctor.


When I was pregnant, I searched the shit out of everything on Google.


What does a fetus look like at 9 weeks? Can it feel pain? What will happen during the abortion? Why didn’t PLAN-B work? How effective are condoms? Are abortions painful? How depressed will I feel afterwards? Reproductive justice? Will I regret this? Can I get pregnant again? Do I have to see a counsellor before the procedure? WHY DID PEOPLE USE COAT HANGERS!!! Use black cohosh to help induce a miscarriage. Is this covered under MSP? What the fuck... no contraceptive is 100% effective? There are people out there who say I'm going to hell? Who’s Elizabeth Bagshaw?

Yeah… I came across a lot of negative, positive and absolute bullshit on the internet when it came to abortion information. This piece showcases my journey starting from my room, to pro-life discussions online, pro-choice, reproductive justice information. It then leads into actually finding out about the Elizabeth Bagshaw clinic, having the abortion, and ending back into my room.


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