Thursday, October 20, 2005

The right wing seems to be preparing a concentrated assault on the right to abortion. It seems like a good time for people who have had abortions to speak out of their experiences. I don’t know a single person whose experience with emergency birth control has not been marked by run-ins with extreme right-to-lifers, and it seems that our experiences may foreshadow the future of abortion in this country.

I never had a full D&C. I did have unprotected sex with my first boyfriend. I was eighteen years old, and I had just started college, and I had never come close to having sex with anyone before. He told me that sex without the condom would feel better, that it would prove I cared about him, that he was clean, that he would pull out – the usual. I was young. I was irresponsible. I believed him. And he didn’t pull out.

The next morning, I felt betrayed and angry, and I told him that I wanted to get the morning after pill. He just shrugged.

“If that’s what you want, I can drive you to Planned Parenthood,” he said. “It’s a long way from here, though. Are you sure you want to take this so seriously?”

I said no. Then I got dressed, went back to my dorm, and told my roommate K what I needed. We did some research on the Internet, and found that the nearest clinic with access to emergency birth control was three hours away. It was a clinic, and not Planned Parenthood, but I didn’t think there would be much difference – doctors were doctors, and they had to give you medicine if you were in need, right? We also found out that I needed to take the pill within seventy-two hours in order for it to be effective. That evening, we got into K’s car and made the long drive to the clinic.

I was treated by a sweet, efficient male doctor who asked a few relevant, impersonal questions and prescribed the pill easily, as if it were no big deal. After he wrote the prescription, he told me to go to the waiting room, where another doctor would deliver the pills and take my money.

That was the easy part.

After I had been in the waiting room for about fifteen minutes, a female doctor came out of the back offices and asked me if I was the girl who wanted the morning-after pills. I nodded.

“Well, honey,” she said, “I can’t give you those pills. I’m a Christian.”

She said this smiling, as if I were supposed to accept this, as if “I’m a Christian” was a perfectly reasonable excuse for refusing to give someone medical treatment.

“Oh,” I said. “Well, I guess I’ll just wait a few months and get someone to do it with a coathanger.”

She stopped smiling.

“You don’t understand,” she said. “To me, it’s the same thing.”

“How can you even call yourself a doctor?” I said. “How can you refuse to give people medicine based on your personal religion?"

“I am a doctor,” she said, nastily. “I’ve delivered babies.”

“Oh,” I said, “In that case, maybe I should deliver my baby to you, because if you want me to have it so badly I’m sure you won’t have any trouble feeding it and caring for it for the rest of your life, you bigoted Jesus-zombie bitch.”

I may have over-played my hand with that last part. She tossed me out of the clinic. In the parking lot, as she was turning away, I called out to her.

“What am I supposed to do?” I said. “You’re the only clinic in driving distance! I only have a few more hours!”

She turned to me.

“You should have kept your legs together,” she said.

3 Comments:

Blogger Scott A. Edwards said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Knitty Kitty said...

wow.
just wow

very interesting post.
I was looking on the emergency contraception database and there are more places where I can access the morning after pill practically on foot if I had to, then in the entire state of Alabama (where I went to high school)..

Sick stuff.

4:21 PM  
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