one day tour in a ''women's'' clinic

From: Claudia Slate
Subject: Abortion

I spent all day Friday at our county hospital's OB/GYN clinic. I took a 17
year old girl who was a bit confused about whether or not she was indeed
pregnant - for the second time - and who had contradicting reports about her
last two medical appointments. She is in our YMCA parenting education
program - part of the requirements for trying to get the court to return her
7 month old daughter, who removed the child for neglect a little over four
months ago. I have take two gilrs through the GYN screening part before,
but never have I spent an entire day day in the actual clinic. It was an
eye-opener for me.

I saw two women who had been brutally battered. I saw a woman nearly crawl
into a corner, (where staff could not see her) and cry from the pain in her
abdomen - but could barely speak up to tell me her name so I could try and
get help for her. I saw a woman on a gurney in the hallway in apparent
discomfort, who was too meek to call to a passing nurse - who was too busy
to see the problem. When I approached her, I found she spoke no english,
but that she was cold. I stopped a nurse to ask if I could get her another
blanket and was met with an appreciative nod and concern that the woman's
fever might be back up. Had I not seen this, she would have lay there
unattended for a while longer. I saw a young girl - a teen - protesting to
a nurse that the nurse was wrong - she didn't have gonorrhea and later saw
this same girl in the hallway with a young man who was verbally abusing her
and you physically "escorted" her out of the hospital. I wondered if she
would be able to come back for the shot she needed or if his denial would
keep them both away.

I saw a room full of changing women, who for the most part, changed little.
They were meek and tired and unable to speak up for themselves. They stared
down at the floor and spoke softly. I wanted to reach out to each of them
and tell them how special they are - but of course, I could not.

The girl I was with can not be blamed completely for her situation. She ran
away from an emotionally abusive situation, was in the state hospital for 7
months, (therefore dropping out of school in the 8th grade - as far as she
had made it by age 15) to go home and be "raped" by her mother's 28 year old
lover - who is also the father of the child she is now expecting. She also
has a veneral disease. And a 16 year old sister, soon to be on the same
track, from what I hear. She was born 2 and a half months early - her
mother was 16 at the time - so received little nurturing early on - if ever.
 Of course her grandmother was only 15 when her mother was born.

I didn't see women there who needed punishment - though I would love for
them to have a few less children - but from what I see - for many that is
the only time of joy or attention they may get in life. So do I then wish
the children to be born and rapidly forgotten just to satisfy this need?
Certainly not. But I do see them with more compassion.

I must also say, that my admiration for the individuals, doctors and nurses
and staff, that provide the care is greater. I know they may seem a bit
cold in some ways, but from one day there, I don't know that it is something
I could face day in and day out. If they have to detach a bit to be able to
stay and do the work, then better that then not to be there.

Me, I came home and cried for all of them. Then said a prayer of thanks,
for but for the grace of whoever or whatever, that could have been me.

 SpE B1.1
 * Origin: *=-= The Shipyard =-= Dallas Texas =-=* (1:124/3102)