And a Woman
Nothing costs societies, across the globe, more money than an unwanted child. Even at 24, as immature as I was, I was somewhat pragmatic about money. Somewhere in somebody’s file, the CIA or the FBI, or perhaps both, there is a picture of a young woman, 24ish holding a cigarette and a latte, wearing a blazer, leather shoes, fake nails, and a scowl. This woman would be me “marching” in a pro choice march. Why was I scowling? I was scowling because I was working full time and putting myself through school. I had about 20 units left to go. And, and, why did I feel I had to protest in favor of getting health care? Isn’t everyone pro affordable health care?
I am 60 now and I have continued to participate in pro choice, uhm, gatherings over the years and at 27, I had an abortion myself. I have often imagined the discussion that might have transpired between the two analysts who might have been reviewing my file over the years.
Early Monday morning, Jim and Paul are reviewing tapes:
Paul: “Oh thanks for the coffee Jim.”
Jim: “No problem, Paul. Would you look at the scowl on that young woman’s face. What is she? 20? 25? shouldn’t she be out having fun or something? Why the hell is she even out there on a Saturday morning.”
Paul: Chuckles and says “She’s out there because she thinks that she can ‘make a difference ‘.”
Jim: “Oh right, like we thought we’d be making a difference when we became analysts or admin in a spy agency. Now that Suzie’s pregnant I’m just happy for the good medical benefits.”
Both men chuckle and make the appropriate notes in the file.
3 years later.
Jim: “Wait, haven’t we seen this one before Paul? Oh yeah, here she is. She’s been attending protests for years and now the pro life folks are protesting against her as she crosses their line to get into the clinic for an abortion.”
Paul: “Christ, Maureen was telling me that her friend Deborah went to get an abortion in Tennessee and they had armed guards outside the clinic. Armed guards! Can’t these people get jobs or something. Or, I know! Can’t they do something interesting that we can monitor?”
Jim: “I’m not sure which one we’re supposed to be monitoring, the pro life protesters or the pro choice protesters or the ones getting an abortion. Well, this one, this one’s ven diagram overlaps two of those.”
Paul: “I know. This is not a good day for her. Hey, who’s that person in the picture who dropped her off?”
Jim: “She looks like an aunt or something.”
Paul: “She looks stoned.”
Jim: “Good on her, this can’t be fun for anyone.”
Paul: “Well, how’s the baby?”
Jim: “Justin isn’t a baby anymore, he’s a toddler and doing great! We tried for a second one but there were some issues with the fetus and Suzie had to go in for a DNC.”
Paul: “What’s the difference between a DNC and an abortion Jim?”
Jim: “Hell if I know, but it’s been really tough on Suzie, losing that child. Tough on both of us, truth be told. But we have Justin and we’re keeping it together for him. We’re going to try again next year.”
13 years later.
Paul : “There’s our girl again. Didn’t she get married at some point?”
Jim: “Yeah, she did, to a Scotsman.”
Paul: “Foreigners! Take our jobs and steal our women!”
Jim: “Well, the file shows that he had a very flexible relationship with the job thing so he wasn’t stealing our jobs. Maybe that’s why our girl/woman got rid of him.”
Paul: “Hmmm. Wonder where he is now?”
Jim: “Back to his homeland it says here. Oh! it appears that she’s ditched the leather shoes and blazer. She’s becoming a bit of a slacker. Baseball cap, sunglasses, no more fake nails.”
Paul: “Shit, Jim, look at this! she’s working in cyber security, for the phone company no less.”
Jim: “Paul, maybe we should have gone to work for the phone company. Maybe we’d get more interesting spy work than watching these protesters on tape, year in, year out. I wonder what kind of spy stuff she gets to do.” Jim
Paul: “Well, the phone company does feed us quite a bit of our intel.”
Jim: “Mighty white of them, isn’t it?”
Paul : “Yeah. Jim ? You know I’m black, right?”
Jim: “I do.”
Paul: “God these people are relentless.”
Jim: “They are. I don’t know how they find the energy”
Paul: “Well, Jim, I’m retiring next week”
Jim: “Me too, me too. Thank God we don’t live in Texas. DC has been hard enough with constant politics but I’m starting to believe that the Texans are crazy!”
Paul: “You know better than that Jim, it’s a few that make the most racket.”
Jim: “And the laws.”
Paul: “True that. And here’s our girl. She’s a grandmother now, you know. ”
Jim: “I wonder if she still thinks that she’s making a difference. “
Paul: “I wonder.”
That’s how I imagine how that conversation would go. I don’t think most people care or even want to think about abortion. Most people just want to let others live their lives in peace.
I am selling a pin with the suffragette colors on etsy. Eighty percent of the proceeds will be donated to women’s health organizations. Make me an offer.