Dr. Edna Thomas had drawn the proverbial short straw this month, and was assigned to the “Disposal Unit,” a slight euphemism for the plant that provided for the orderly disposal of what was left of the aborted “material” once the stem cells and other useful biological components had been removed.
Since inadvertent contact with the remains was always a possibility in so massive an operation, she had donned the required smock and gloves, though she wouldn’t use the mask and protective lenses unless the needed to personally examine the “leftovers” on the “production” floor.
“Reynolds, have you go the latest audit info uploaded to the database yet?” She turned to the IT tech sitting next to her at the control console in the glassed-in observation room.
“Just now, Doctor. Nationally, we’ve extracted and processed 108,773 units this month alone. That should keep the bosses happy.” Glenn Reynolds seemed to authentically enjoy his work here, and was totally unphased by all of the blood and tiny body parts passing by in buckets on six parallel conveyor belts.
“What about our plant?”
“Statewide? Wait one. Yes, here it is. Just over 2,100.”
“Down from last month and the month before. Isn’t marketing doing their job? We’ve got to keep bringing in the pregnant plebeians. If we start losing our supply of fecund riff-raff and production drops off, it will be all of our asses.”
Edna put on a brave face and tried to sound like a good company worker, but hated this part of her job. She had to momentarily turn away from the window and shuddered at the sight of a tiny fist jutting out of the top of one of the containers. She had also learned to hate the color red.
“Maybe, distribution isn’t keeping up with their placebo count, and too many of the commoners are getting actual, chemically active contraceptives.”
“That’s just great,” she sneered. “California’s number one in providing free abortions to impoverished and working class women. Why do you think the Senate declared the entire state a sanctuary and completely suspended immigration law? The elites need those stem cells, and they’ve created and funded our entire industry so they could get them.”
“Yeah, and extend their lifespans twenty years or more. Man, I wish I could afford it.”
“Maybe you’ll win the lottery. Seven mid-class citizens merited life extension awards last month alone.”
“I still say it’s rigged. I’d have a better chance of being struck by lightning twice in two minutes while standing in a fallout shelter and the bottom of a mineshaft.”
“Working here, what else would I be?” He waved an arm toward the warehouse-sized creamatorium used to incinerate the flesh, blood, and bones of what would have been the children of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants and women living below the poverty line. “Only a cynic would agree to artificially inflate the numbers of women in impoverishment, while giving them free birth control, 70% of which is deliberately ineffective.”
He swiveled in his chair to look at her. “Don’t tell me you’re growing a conscience?” Glenn’s smirked as he saw one bead of sweat after another drip down her forehead.
She forced herself to look back out onto the main floor at the rolling line of atrocities the industry had created. “Do you ever feel like the serpent Eden, lying your ass off at lower and no-class women just to make sure the rich live longer and continue to acquire obscene amounts of wealth?”
“Eden? Never read that book, and no, I don’t. That’s marketing’s job. I’m just a cog in the machine.”
“A very well paid cog in the machine.”
“So are you, Doc.”
They both turned back to their consoles and continued the processing sequence. “I feel like I should have taken the “Hypocritic” Oath instead of the Hippocratic one.”
“Which part, the one about no harm, or the section about leeches?”
Edna took her hands off of the keyboard, looked one more time out at the blood soaked floor, and then got up. “I’m going outside for a breath of fresh air.”
“None outside, Doc. Remember we’re burning biomatter. It smells awful. Just take fifteen in the lounge.”
“This job isn’t worth it.” She turned toward the door in the back of the chamber. “While Margaret Sanger may not have created this industry over a 150 years ago to exterminate my ancestors, her legacy has since morphed into a web of corruption, lies, and murder.”
“You’ll never find another job that pays as well, and if anyone besides me hears you talking that way, you’ll lose your medical license.”
“That’s better than losing my soul.”
“Now expressing religious beliefs, except for those sanctioned by the State, will get you into mandatory psychotherapy.”
“You mean brainwashing.”
“Hey,” Glenn’s casual tone and impervious attitude softened. “It just sounds like you need a vacation. Our shift here in disposal terminates at the end of the month. That’s less than a week away. After that, put in for leave time. Go someplace happy. Clear your head.”
Edna kept staring at the exit, while feeling nausea rise in her gut. “I wish it was as simple as that.”
“Try it. I bet you’ll feel better. After two weeks in Hawaii or Bora Bora, you’ll be eager to get back to work, and who knows? Maybe you’ll win the lottery.”
“I don’t think I want to live that much longer in the world we’ve created.”
“I’m saying this to you as a friend. Lighten up. If you keep going like this, you’ll end up in a psych ward, or worse, in prison.”
“I’m already in Hell. How much worse can it be?”
I wrote this for Saturday Mix – Same Same But Different, 14 July 2018 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea today is to use the synonyms of the five words listed below in a poem, short story, or other creative work. I put the synonyms I used in parentheses next to the actual words listed, and bolded them in my story so the reader could more easily pick them out.
Here they are:
- check (audit)
- dress (smock)
- hand (fist)
- snake (serpent)
- drop (bead)
I’m sure this story will make me Public Enemy Number One among feminists and anyone else who considers themselves Pro-Choice, but I have been pondering this issue for quite a while. What prompted me to create this tale was reading Judah Gabriel Himango’s essay Abortion: Examining the Torah’s Commandment Regarding the Unborn, which is a detailed examination of “the industry” from both a Jewish and Christian perspective. Judah is extremely intelligent and insightful, and over the years, I’ve come to appreciate his viewpoints, though I don’t always agree with him.
I know a lot of people don’t want to hear this, but there is a much higher rate of abortion among African-American and Latino women, and the abortion rate for undocumented immigrant and Native American women is one in six. Also, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s view on African-Americans and whether or not she deliberately desired to reduce their population through birth control and abortion is at least contestable
Other resources I used for this story are the ABC News article Abortion Foes Say Stem Cell Research Unnecessary and an online paper at The Harvard Gazette titled Researchers create embryonic stem cells without embryo. There’s also been some concern about whether or not Planned Parenthood is selling the body parts of aborted babies, and although Snopes.com says there is at least some truth in the allegation, I suspect they are not as unbiased as they claim and may be minimizing their involvement.
In the world I’ve created, set about fifty years in the future, the government is deliberately manipulating poor women, women of color, and undocumented immigrants in order to harvest unborn children and produce longer lifespans for the wealthy. Could that happen? I don’t know, but the more frightening question is, are we committing this injustice today? Something to think about.
Oh, I took the national statistics for abortions performed and doubled the figures for my story.