The Return of the D.I.Y. Abortion

I remember all too well the do-it-yourself abortions. Family members and friends terminated their pregnancies, a few with tragic results. I also assisted a Mexican woman in getting contraceptives when her church and family pressured her to have unprotected sex. Her priest told her she could not withhold sex when her husband approached her. What an outrage!

Rosa's story: While living in El Paso, army officers' were expected to hire Green Card carrying Mexican women to clean residential quarters. Ours was Rosa, a lovely lady, very efficient, our quarters were spotless every Friday. Rose traveled by bus from Juarez five days a week to clean quarters at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. She was gentle with our three children and taught them her language; taught them songs, and she taught me how to make some Mexican dishes. For all this, she earned $2.00 a day. I didn't like exploiting the workers in such a dreadful way, so I paid her $10.00 a day. The commanding general had Don called to his office and told him to return her pay to the usual $2.00, stating we would ruin the economy if we spent more than the Rules and Regulations allowed. Other maids would want more money. She would only squander the $8.00 more that we paid her. 

Imagine, $2.00 a day! That was in the 1960s, but even in those days, $2.00 would not feed, house, clothe, educate in private Roman Catholic Schools, and provide health care for her family. Her husband did not work, for whatever reason. I asked Rosa how she used her extra money; she told me it paid for doing her laundry at a laundromat, and she could buy water. 

Rosa's living conditions were deplorable. She lived in the Colonia, a place of shanties, dirt floors, a stove pipe for a stove, corrugated tin roof, drapes divided the two rooms, and the latrine was down a muddy dirt road. She had given birth to 10 children; four died of dysentery as infants. The others had bad cases of blepharitis. 

Each working day, Rosa carried a five-gallon bucket to a 50-gallon barrel the Mexican government kept filled with water trucks; she returned home each night and carried the five-gallon bucket of water to use for drinking, cooking, and washing. All the households used the water as well as bird, lizards, cats, and anything that could reach the water. It was a filthy barrel of bacteria and who knows what all else grew in that squalid liquid.

Rosa's husband found the contraceptives I gave her, he beat and raped her. A pregnancy resulted and she aborted it with a stick. She died of septicemia. I stood over her body, her husband and son to my right, the priest to my left. The priest stated Rosa had sinned and her horrid death was the consequence. Her son, Victor, 10 years old at the time, stood over her and shouted, "Bitch, Bitch, Bitch!"

Rosa was not able to choose whether she had sex or not, whether she could use effective contraceptives or not, if she could have a safe abortion or not. She was a slave to her gender. 

I hated being an Army dependent! I hated being a christian!

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That's an amazing story, Joan. I feel sorry for Rosa who appears to be a victim of her gender as well as the ignorance of the times. The problem here is that this story could have happened just yesterday or last week in many parts of the world. Then ignorant politicos always ask if you are "pro abortion?" Let's just say I'm "pro women's rights."

How religion, inequality and sex split up families - enough to make me throw up. And the way her son reacted spells no good for his future, and his wife and daughters.

I've said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating. If the anti-abortion crowd weren't total hypocrites, they would have been the world's staunchest supporters of contraception and effective (i.e. sans abstinence) sex education. What they really want is for no one to have non-procreative sex or any sex outside the (heterosexual) bounds of the marriage contract. I think it's tied to their other bugaboo, evolution. They have to cling to an absurd species exceptionalism holding that humans are not "just" animals, (as if that's some kind of a deficit.) On another hypocrite front, I'd guess there are few organizations on the planet that prevent more abortions than Planned Parenthood. QED.

The Bible says very little that can be interpreted as about abortion today, but apologists insist that it does. In fact, a fetus was not even considered a person until born, and along with women, they were more like property. Jesus says nothing on the subject at all. The big error of modern apologists is to assume the ancients had the same view (and laws) as we do today.

There were many deaths and injuries due to DIY abortions. Such as infections from poorly sanitized utensils. A couple I knew used the common local tactic on a hill known fondly by the biker gang as Abortion Hill, where the girl sits as pinion passenger while they jump off the small cliff, which has a road pass the front of the cliff. Needless to say that when they jumped the cliff on his motorbike a car collected and killed them both.  Many girls and women suffered fractures and broken legs and ankles jumping off small buildings or ramps in an effort to eject the foetus. 

It will be a shame for it to return to those days again.

:-(~

"She was a slave to her gender, " her culture, and the Roman Catholic Church.  What a sad story.  And how our military was complicit in it.  Thanks for bringing this to our attention. 

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