It is a pink stucco, two-story building with gray shutters situated on a corner lot in the heart of the Medical District. As the eastern sky turns pink, announcing the arrival of the sun over the mountain tops in this northeastern Alabama city, the cars with different county and state tags circle the building, allowing young girls…ladies…mothers…to enter through the back door.
Protesters carrying signs proclaiming “Abortion is Murder” shout with loud angry voices obscenities to the girls…ladies…mothers. The door, opened by an off duty police officer, gun loosened in holster, allows entrance to the Clinic.
Reviewing the Medical History Form with the mother and daughter, I ask:“Have you considered continuing the pregnancy and placing the child up for adoption?”
The mother says, “I have eight chillren…I can’t raise no mo’…she’s my baby…only twelve, ya’know.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to go to the police?” I ask. “ She is a minor…this is a crime,” I state.
“No’mum, I jest want this over today,” she says, twisting her soiled handkerchief in her gnarled hands.
I look at the child/woman sitting before me…lovely doe-shaped, wide-set brown eyes, straight slender nose, soft full mouth…a cross between two races…not even knowing what a cold, speculum feels like, much less what I mean by a para-cervical block.
Looking directly into those eyes, I ask “Tell me what happened.”
She looks at me, then looks out the dusty window beyond the noisy protesters…speaking softly, almost in a whisper, she tells her story haltingly:
“I was at my sister’s house, ya’know. I went next door to…um…use the phone. Ya’know, this boy, he likes me…umm…he was there. I goes down the hall to where the phone is and he ketches my elbow…umm…pulls me in this dark room, ya’know and ummmmm…,” trailing off in mid thought, lost in her own conflicting thoughts about her first sexual act and the consequences of that brief encounter in a dark room.
Having heard in her voice the anxiety of not knowing what came next, the fears enveloping the lovely facial features in anticipation, the hopelessness of her situation, I felt it unnecessary to have her go on…her mother breaks the silence…
“If I ketch him, I’ll kill’m.”