by Sean Naberhuis
Jane walked purposefully through the dark and deserted streets. It was sometime around two in the morning, and the way she walked made it apparent that she did not want to be there. She took a small piece of paper from her overcoat pocket and read some scrawled instructions, and quickly put the note back in her pocket. She hurried down the street.
The year is 1997, and for the past two years it has been illegal to have an abortion. The church has finally squeezed this "immoral" liberty away from the American populace. Almost the day this procedure was illegalized, a vast underground empire was formed. The cost of the average abortion nearly tripled within the week, and the safety and quality decreased by nearly the same amount. As predicted, illegal abortions are still performed, despite a strong attempt by authorities to stop them. As with the drug war, however, there has been very little success with controlling the problem. The average cost of an abortion is now nearly twelve-hundred dollars.
Jane pulled herself to a dark door. She retrieved her note, just to double-check that she had arrived at the place her previous contact had said to go. The numbers matched. Good. This would be it... a quick surgical procedure and all her embarrassment and torment would be over. She shyly reached out and knocked loudly three times, paused, and followed with two more knocks. An eye visor quickly slid open and a pair of piercing black eyes assessed Jane, and a gruff voice asked "Who sent you?"
"Franz sent me," Jane replied, trying desperately to hide the fact that she was scared half to death. She hoped that Franz was right when he said that his name should get her an audience with Dr. Martin, one of the many underground doctors that would perform the illegal operation.
"Then by all means come in, that is, if you have the money, of course."
Jane pulled out one thousand dollars cash and showed them to the man behind the door. There was a short pause, followed by the loud boom of a heavy bolt being unlatched. The door slowly creaked open and Jane entered the dimly lit room. "It's the maid's day off" laughed the large doorman, and with that he loudly slammed the door and pointed Jane to the waiting room. "The good doctor should be with you in a few minutes, he's with another client. It's been a busy night."
As Jane's eyes slowly acclimated to the dim light in the room, she could see just how poorly kept it was. The room had at one time been part of a steel mill, but had been abandoned sometime in the 60's. In 1995, the doctor had moved in to do his business, but obviously had done little to clean the place up. She went to what appeared to be the cleanest part of the room and sat down... and waited.
Now Jane was mad. Why did she have to go through this? All the pain of that night last month seamed to come back with remarkable intensity. She had been walking home, as she usually did, when she was approached by a street gang. She had tried to get past them, but they swarmed her, and threatened her at knife-point. What else could she have done? That night she was raped more than two dozen times by the five boys that composed this gang. While the fact that the gang members were now behind bars brought some satisfaction, the fact the court would not approve of an abortion made her steam with rage.
"We sympathize with your plight," said the judge, "but all abortions are murder, even the abortions of those children conceived by hate rather than love." Yes, they would not approve, but she had found someone that would listen to her, and give her what she wanted.
Jane cared very little for the child within her womb. She just wanted this little impurity out of her body. What those street punks had done to her was inexcusable. The very thought of this child brought back so many painful memories she would be glad to be rid of it.
An orderly entered the room and announced "The doctor will now see you."
As Jane started to stand, another woman came out from behind the orderly. She was trying, very poorly, to conceal the fact she was crying. Jane passed this woman undaunted, and went up the short hall to the room where the operation would take place, and sat to wait some more. The doctor entered the room just long enough to say "I'm off to scrub up. I'll be back in a minute." His arms and hands were covered in blood.
This shook Jane up just a little. Was this wrong? Everyone else seemed to think so, otherwise it would still be legal. She was unsure of herself now. No, what those kids did to me was worse... I will not go through all the pain of childbirth for that damn gang punk. She was ready.
The doctor returned shortly, with a new coat and clean arms. He greeted Jane "Good evening. I am doctor Martin, and I will be performing your surgery. Are you sure you want to go through with this? The law does not smile upon this kind of action."
"I am sure," replied Jane. "I need to be rid of this painful episode of my life, and if I bear this child I will be forever reminded of this terrible crime against my privacy"
"O.K. How far along are you?"
"About three weeks," Jane answered.
"That is good. Perhaps I can make it look like a miscarriage, and that could keep you out of jail. I will give you a local anesthesia to ease the pain, if you want it. It is expired by only a month or two, and should still work well."
Jane nodded in agreement, and laid back on the doctors old makeshift operating table. As the anesthesia began to take effect, Jane began to feel drowsy. She looked down to see what the doctor was doing, and she saw the blood. This blood was hers, however, and she almost screamed. Instead of screaming, she passed out.
She awoke at about four-thirty the same morning on the same table, but nobody else was there. She called for doctor Martin, but instead the orderly entered the room. "Your operation was a success, you just passed out from the sight of the blood. You may be sick for a couple of days, but anyone who examines you will not be able to tell you had an abortion. You can go home now and sleep." With that, the orderly left the room.
Jane collected herself and got up to leave. As she passed through the lobby, there were three other women waiting, apparently for doctor Martin's abortion service. VERY busy night, Jane thought to herself. She walked quickly home, although she knew most of the street people were in bed at this late hour. Jane arrived home without incident and went to sleep.
This story does not have to be this grim. Abortions are still safe and legal. Jane was perhaps one of the lucky ones. In such unsafe circumstances, surgery is very risky. Jane is not a criminal; in fact, she is a victim. Once of rape, and then again a victim of an unfair law concocted by moral men wishing to inflict their strict morals on others. The laws of the land should have some moral grain infused within, but not to the extent to limit personal freedoms. Keep abortion safe. Keep abortion legal.