Friday, May 11, 2007

Come back tomorrow

[the door opens and woman in white coat sweeps into the small examination room, and she looks at her clipboard] Hello, Ms. . . . Ms.?

[a slender, nervous young girl looks up at her] Roe.


Yes. Jane Roe.

You're kidding.

No, really, that's my name. Is something wrong?

Nothing's wrong. That's just a pretty famous pseudonym to a doctor who performs abortions. You know that, don't you?

Not really.

Ok. Just tell me a little bit about your situation.

Well, I'm from Frosty Falls, up north. I left my waitress job a little early last night to hitchhike here with my boyfriend Jason. It took us most of the night. Jason works in the lumber yard and he's missing work today. He'll probably get in trouble for it.

Tell me about the pregnancy.

I didn't mean for it to happen. I just feel so bad. Jason and I have been going together for a while now, might get married someday. Jason's sweet. It's my fault, really. We never meant to do it, you know, but one night we just got carried away. I didn't think I would get pregnant the first time. We were just so ignorant about everything. I've missed two periods now.

It's not your fault any more than Jason's.

I guess.

You're nineteen. Do you still live at home? Do your parents know you're pregnant?

Are you kidding? I'm sorry. My Dad would kill me if he found out. See, me and Jason and our folks all go to the Solid Rock Pentecostal Church in Frosty Falls. Dad's a deacon. My folks—and Jason's folks, too—would be so ashamed if they found out. That's why I gotta take care of this now.

I will be back in a while to perform an examination and go over some information with you. While I am out, I want you to study this twenty-seven page pamphlet about abortions. Did your family doctor tell you anything about the procedure?

No, my doctor goes to Solid Rock, too. I was afraid he might tell my folks. I got your name from a friend.

Ok. I'll be back in a while.

[Jane Roe spends quite a while looking at the pamphlet prepared by the Minnesota Department of Health]

[upon returning to the examination room] Well, did you read the pamphlet?

Yes. I did.

Do you have any questions?

Well, a couple. I can get breast cancer from an abortion? The brochure implies that I can.

There are some older "studies" that found a link between the two.

But the newer ones don't find link?


What am I supposed to believe Doctor?

In order to be sure that your consent to an abortion is informed consent, I can't tell you to ignore anything that the Department of Health has put in the pamphlet.

I thought you were my doctor, not Tim Pawlenty, who my folks love, by the way. Can't you give me a hint?

It rhymes with "blue" but you didn't hear it from me.


Blank, Navy blank, I'm as blank as I can be.

Hey, that's an old pop song, isn't it? . . . Ok, now I get it. But you have a funny way of communicating, Doc.

Anything else?

Yeah, it says in the pamphlet that I'll probably get depressed and regret my decision.

And you may well be at a greater risk for suicide. Justice Kennedy said this in a recent abortion decision:

"While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. See Brief for Sandra Cano et al. as Amici Curiae in No. 05-380, pp. 22-24. Severe depression and loss of self-esteem can follow."

That sounds like pseudo-science. I was just reading a book about the Nazi pseudo-science—which started right here in America—of eugenics. You know what will make me suicidal, Doc?


Having to carry this pregnancy to term in my little town. Finding a new place to live when my dad kicks me out. Marrying Jason now and trying to live on a lumber yard clerk's salary. Little things like that.

Well, the depression has a name. It's called Leslee's Disorder. It's named after Leslee Unruh, a woman from South Dakota who had an abortion a long time ago. She came to regret it, and she has concluded that not only she, but all women, are too stupid to know what they are doing. The anti-abortion types have gotten people as presumably smart as Anthony Kennedy and four others on the Supreme Court to buy it.

Well, I'll risk the Leslee's Disorder; let's do it.

Fine. But you'll have to come back tomorrow.


Because the law requires a 24 hour waiting period.

Oh, Jason is gonna love that. Who's going to put me up for the night?

You have to be very quiet about it, but we keep a couple of sleeping bags in that storage closet. Come back at closing time, get a bag, and you can spend the night in the hall. Okay? Now hop up on the table and we'll do the pre-procedure exam.

Update: Be sure to read the Demure One's insightful comment.

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