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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Friday, February 13, 2004 ::

ER was weird last night. Wasn't expecting all that abortion stuff. One of the nurses was confiding to another nurse that when she was fifteen she was going to abort her son but didn't have the money. She scrimped and saved until she had enough and went to the abortion facility. They called her name but she couldn't bring herself to do it. She left and came back another day but it was "too late". (Implies incorrectly that there is a time limit on abortion. I wish they would have had her say "...it was too late there and I didn't have the money to go to a late-term clinic.) She says, "And now, when I look at my son..."

She doesn't finish the statement by saying, "...and think of what I almost did to him," but it is implied. Her nurse friend surprises her with her own SICLE. The friend remembers the Strawberry Shortcake calendar on the wall. I liked the contrast and gave one point to the writers. The friend doesn't say much about the SICLE itself except to mention the Strawberry Shortcake calendar, and then she sits in quiet reflection thinking of her own life and the other nurse's comments about her son.

Later we see a pregnant patient approaching the nurse (who did not abort) to help her abort. This patient was initially ecstatic to find out that she was pregnant but the nurse with the son reminded the patient of her bad situation and basically said that because of her circumstances she "had" to seriously consider whether or not she really wanted to continue the pregnancy. The happy new mom wouldn't hear of it... until the next scene where her horrible boyfriend is manhandling her and berating her saying things like, "You're not going to keep it. You're going to get rid of it!"

So of course, in the last scene she slinks back to the "caregiver" who suggested that she seriously think about abortion.

Strange. The writers make a big "pro-choice" advocate out of the woman who didn't abort (and who cringes when she thinks of what she almost did to her son). They also show the patient being totally pressured and oppressed by her boyfriend... and by this nurse who is "only trying to be helpful" as she suggests a "solution" that she herself is ultimately glad she never experienced.

I'm not sure what kind of message the show was trying to send, if any. However, I think this probably read as a Planned Parenthood ad for the typical viewer. Bad situation+crummy boyfriend+"caring" nurse=abortion. End of story.

To add to the confusion, the nurse says the girl was gang-raped even though it is painfully obvious that the girl has no self-esteem and participates in "threesomes" to please her boyfriend who thinks she is "sexy". The threesomes are so violent that she is in the hospital getting stitches deep in her vagina. How is abortion going to solve the problem for the character in this situation?

It seems to me that abortion will only empower the men who are using the girl as a mere sperm receptacle. Her self-esteem certainly can't be expected to rise after aborting her helpless little child. The violent, deviant sexual encounters will most likely continue and may even get worse. It seems to me that what this character needs is not abortion but lots of positive help to turn her life around. Having her baby could actually help her very much. She could hook up with awesome, long-term groups that only work with pregnant young girls or young, single moms. Such programs focus on turning the life of the mom around for the better.

The show portrayed the situation pretty realistically I think, which is why I found it so disappointing. The mom wanted her baby, but there was no way anyone was going to let her make that choice. Not all women have uber strong personalities that lead them to be outspoken and fight for their own rights... especially when they are in a crisis. The boyfriend was hateful and coercive, and the compassionate nurse "knew better".

The boyfriend is so "coercive", by the way, that he gets physical with the nurse who tries to call the police regarding his behavior. He grabs her arm and she tells him to let go, which he doesn't, so she whoops his arse. Of course she gets in trouble with the limping lesbian (Carrie) who runs the ER. The arse-whooping was in self-defense, but the writers have somehow made it an anger issue instead; the nurse is busted for attacking a guy because she was angry that he and his cronies gang-raped the patient (even though the patient admitted that she consented to everything to please her boyfriend).

I personally thought it would have been more empowering and accurate if the nurse explained that the guy put his hands on her and she defended herself. That, however, wouldn't have given Carrie anything to gripe about, and it's not an ER episode if Carrie isn't ranting about something. (She's just one notch below Romano on the "panties in a wad" scale.)

Anyway, it was weird.

If this entry seems incoherent it may have something to do with the hyperactive pre-schooler who is quite literally jumping all over the room with a plastic sword, a green balloon and a snake made out of Silly Putty.

When I look at him (and think of what I did to his sibling)...

:: ashli 10:40 AM # ::

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