A tale of two extremes. Circa mid-2013. ~n~
Marissa loved sex.
The slide of body against body, the heat, the feelings that stirred in the heart and head, if only for a night. She wasn’t in “a relationship” but enjoyed every encounter. Sex and love and love and sex were all entwined; there was plenty of both to share.
Her friends called her wild, fun, abandoned. Her family called her reckless. She was just living her life, free-spirited.
She threw up at work. Her workmate Carol was in the bathroom and heard the sick retching sounds. When she came out, pale and shaking, they were there.
“You must come with us.”
“No!” Marissa protested. Yet it was the law of the land, and despite pushing them away, she was swiftly, firmly, gently wrapped in Strugglewrap. This would safely contain her, while restraining her. She was shepherded from her work, tears blurring her vision.
They took her to the Life Care Clinic. Still wrapped in Strugglewrap, the two orderlies who had picked her up from work lifted her to the exam table, and fastened her legs to the stirrups. A female doctor came into the room, and wordlessly sat between her legs, and examined her.
She felt the probing of tools and fingers into her body, the hum of a machine pressing against her vagina.
“Three weeks.” The doctor said to the orderlies, tugging off her gloves and tossing them into the trash. She left the room without speaking a word to Marissa.
There was a press of a hypo against her upper arm, and she slept.
She woke at The Farm. She stayed with four other women. As their bellies grew, their friendship deepened. They were fed nourishing, if uninspired food, and worked at various tasks until their pregnancies became too burdensome to do even light fieldwork.
Marissa knew her time was close. Callie, her best friend had felt ripples of Braxton-Hicks off and on for the last week. The doctor told her not to worry, yet they still remembered what had happened to their roommate, Aubrey, and they were frightened.
Aubrey had been part of their group those first few weeks. Yet, instead of gaining weight, she grew thinner, her face became sallow, and she didn’t look well. It was apparent that there was something not quite right, but the doctors would not intervene.
“The law is the law. We cannot remove the fetus,” they had told her. Aubrey told the women that she was going to die, she felt it. The day she collapsed on the ground, breathing shallowly, was the last that they had seen of her.
Marissa lay back, exhausted. The labor had been long and intense. Her daughter lay in the crook of her arm, sleeping. The nurse returned to the room with a sheaf of papers.
“We’ll be discharging you in the morning, and here are the rules you must follow.” She thrust the papers at her.
“You’re releasing me tomorrow? But I just had the baby a few hours ago,” Marissa spoke, her voice exhausted from her long labor.
“There is nothing wrong with you or your baby, you both did fine. Your insurance will only pay for delivery and 24 hours after. You did good, sweetie.
Marissa was shocked at some of the rules as she read through the list. Breastfeeding in public was considered offensive. Childcare would cost half her salary. She would be expected to return to work the following month as her semi-paid maternity leave only covered her for that long.
She wondered what kind of world she’d delivered her daughter into.
Marissa paced back and forth in the small room. It smelled of stale tobacco and piss. There were two other girls in the room, one with a scary looking older man sitting beside her, frowning, the other was staring blankly into space.
She’d heard about this place from a friend of a friend. She shuddered. It all seemed …so covert. And yet, what other option did she have? She was 20 and pregnant. She didn’t want a child, didn’t want to be pregnant. Didn’t want to do the adoption route, didn’t want to be a mommy yet.
But here she was. Twenty and pregnant. And Matt off running off the next sweet young thing who would listen to his promises of devotion.
“Takes two to tango, girl” he’d said to her. “You shoulda been on the pill.”
The thing was, she had been on the pill but a giant batch of them had wound up being recalled because of some fucking manufacturing glitch. Turns out that the stupid things didn’t work…and she was full, living proof of that corporate fuck-up. It wasn’t like she could go sue the bastards…then she’d have to admit publicly that she was preggers, and then she’d be screwed. If the Greenies heard that she had a baby on board, she’d be whisked off to some Farm to have the kiddo.
No, abortion was the only route for her. There was no way she could afford to care for a child. She worked a part-time job while going to school full-time. How could she juggle a kid, school, and a job? It wasn’t as though Matt would be around to help. Bastard that he was.
The door opened and a woman emerged. She was middle-aged and shopworn. She looked at the people in the waiting area, then pointed at Marissa.
“You.” Her voice was rough, definitely a two-pack-a-day voice. “C’mon, we don’t got all night, let’s go, girl.” She scooted Marissa out of the waiting area and down a long, dimly lit hallway. It smelled of musty plaster, and mold. She stopped outside a scarred wooden door. “I’ll take your payment. $800.00 cash.”
She opened her purse, took out a wad of money. Her roommate, a few friends had all pitched in. She’d even gotten Matt to throw a $50 her way. Not without a comment about the high cost of sex these days, of course. The jerk. The nurse took the cash, counted it carefully, before tucking it into her front pocket.
The door opened after she rapped on it twice. Pushing Marissa inside, she tugged the door closed with a whomp.
Marissa looked at the doctor. He was old, his eyes keen, with a bit of a pot belly. He looked at her, as well. His eyes lingered on her breasts. He made her feel…queasy.
“Take off your pants and undies. Up on the table, girl.”
She swallowed. She looked around for a jonny or something to cover herself with. He sat and watched her, implacably. After a frozen moment, she fumbled with the button and zipper of her jeans. She had to slip off her sneakers to get the jeans off.
“okay,” she said, her voice husky with fear as she slid up on the table. “I’m…ready.”. She had no idea how this worked. Didn’t know how much it would hurt. Didn’t know anything about an abortion, except that one day you were pregnant and the next, you weren’t.
She scooted back on the table. He lifted her legs to the stirrups, binding them in. Coming around to the side, he flopped one fat leather strap around her waist, and leaned across her, his body almost laying on her, to reach the other side of the strap. In moments he had buckled her in. Her heart was racing with nerves.
She felt probing along her vagina, a finger stroking over her. It was followed with the feeling of something pressing inside of her. Not his fingers. Surely not.
In a moment, she felt the hand withdraw. He rose to stand between her splayed legs. She watched, helpless, as he unzipped his pants. She knew he was going to rape her. She was powerless to stop him, strapped down as she was. The door opened and the nurse came in. She stood and watched the doctor with a faint smirk on her face.
Pressing hard against her, he groaned as he came. She lay crying as he fastened his pants. Pushing off from the door, the nurse crossed the room. Opening a cabinet, she removed a tray with a variety of instruments on it, and brought it to where Marissa lay, crying on the table. The doctor looked at the tray, and selected a tool.
She didn’t remember driving home, only the unceasing flow of blood. It was like the worst period, ever. She lay in bed, shivering. Her roommate checked on her periodically. She didn’t remember the ambulance ride. She woke in the hospital a week later.
Her mother sat by her bed, holding her hand as she became aware of her surroundings. It was obvious that she had been crying, her eyes red-rimmed.
“Mom…” Though she tried to speak, the sound was only a whisper.
Her mother leapt from the chair, ringing for the nurse, and stroking her face.
“Marissa, my sweet girl…”
“Mom?” she was dazed.
“We almost lost you..” Her mother stifled a sob as the nurse came into the room.
She looked down at Marissa, taking her pulse.
“Lucky girl,” she said when she was done counting. “Doctor will be in shortly…she’s making rounds now.”
“You almost died.”
She could barely believe the doctors stark words.
“You had a severe abdominal infection. I’m sorry, Marissa, but I had to perform an emergency hysterectomy.”
The word rang in her head like an echo. She was barren. Sterile. She would never carry a child ever again. She cried tears of loss, her mother holding her hand.
Two works of fiction…although I will share that the 2nd story is based on a factual account I read recently about the effects of having an illegal abortion back in the pre-Roe v Wade Days.
My blog, my opinions. This is not about whether abortion is morally correct…but it IS about a woman’s right to SAFELY make that decision for herself. To legally be allowed to control the fate of her own body. To not be legally bound to becoming an incubator at the behest of a law.
Would I have an abortion? I don’t know, and I’ll never have to make that choice since I am sterile. I’ve never been so poor that i didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, worried about another mouth to feed. I’ve never carried a child in my body. But that is NOT the point. The point is that it is MY body, and MY choice to make.
I’ve watched the attacks on women, especially woman who may have no other option but to go to Planned Parenthood rather than an OBGYN.
These attacks range from Komen for the Cure’s pulling financial support to Planned Parenthood (which is many women’s only option for medical care, including breast screenings, birth control aids, AIDS and other STD checkups, AND abortions), to pols saying “they didn’t worry about poor people because they already had a net there to catch them.” Oh. Really? I’ve known of several families who ran out of food before they ran out of month…helped by my church’s food pantry….and I’m sure they were not isolated cases.
Again, that is not my point here. I’m trying to illustrate two polar extremes of what could happen in a world where a woman’s body is legislated.
We need to just say no.