Yukiko Yoshimura
Tokyo, Japan

Without knowing anything about my disease, I married at age nineteen and at twenty-one I was pregnant with my second child. My blood was tested at a Christian hospital, and the results came back positive for syphilis. Yet I had done nothing wrong. The doctor told me, "Call your husband to be tested as well."

My husband and I were tested together; his result was negative, but mine was still positive. They checked us three times, but the results did not change.

The doctor told me, "You're not qualified to give birth; abort your child." I suppose he was thinking of me as a woman who had fooled around in the past.

I refused. "There is no reason to," I insisted. "I will not have an abortion."

Eventually, I was in labor. During the night, I bled heavily. An ambu­lance took me to the hospital. I was abandoned on the delivery table, and no doctor would see me because of my positive test results. I was bleeding profusely, but the doctors wouldn't treat me, even after they switched shifts. I was left alone for ten hours.

(2013)