I’m starting my doctoral program this month and I’m getting a bit nervous with homework due on the first day, learning my way around a new school system, and of course the inevitable “what if I’m the only pro-choice person in my program?”. For my masters program I knew that I would be surrounded by like-minded folks, mainly because my department put a strong emphasis on reproductive and sexual health, and more importantly, I knew students who told me how pro-choice the environment was. Well, my new program does seem to have some faculty who focus on reproductive and sexual health, but it doesn’t seem to be as integrated or dominant. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but in the meantime I will have to feel things out. I imagine on the first day of class I will confidently state that I work in sexual and reproductive health, and eye the room, looking for signs of potential comrades, those who will talk freely about abortion.
Every time we abortioneers enter a new realm, whether it is a job, school program, or meeting a new social circle, we are faced with the decision to “come out” about our work. I started my new job this summer and I have yet to discuss my past work with most colleagues. I asked the HR guy when he described my benefits package if our health insurance covered abortion….he certainly had never gotten that question before (he also didn’t know the answer). I don’t think most people at my work would be anti-abortion, but I also do not feel the need to bring it up unnecessarily. I also haven’t “come out” as having OCD (although I have a feeling my boss might suspect due to some of my behaviors, ha!). I imagine that I will have to leave work early some day to go pick up an abortion client that I’m hosting, and then I’ll bring it up, and it will be a non-issue. But, there is part of me that feels like not discussing it means I’m hiding it, but I also don’t really have a reason to bring it up.
I will definitely report back on the pro-choice’ness of my new classmates and program. I hope to have nothing but positive things to say, so stay tuned.