DYSTOPIAN FICTION: What life for women might be like if these GOP candidates won the presidency (and got their way).
*Trigger Warning: mentions sexual and physical violence.*
Under President John Kasich
Last month, my friend was raped. She wanted to go to Planned Parenthood the next day, but those have all been defunded. She went to a rape crisis counselor elsewhere to talk about what happened. I asked her if she was offered the morning after pill. She wasn’t.
My friend found out today that she’s pregnant. She returned to the rape crisis counselor to discuss her options. She returned home feeling helpless. They talked to her about social and economic support for raising her baby. Hey, maybe she’ll be able to work from home while raising her baby and recovering, if her company followed President Kasich’s suggestion and got creative by developing telecommute positions for new moms instead of providing paid maternity leave.
“Do you want to have the baby?” I asked. She said she didn’t know what else to do. Rape crisis counselors aren’t allowed to even discuss abortion as an option or provide clients with any information about accessing it.
We did the work ourselves, and it wasn’t easy. There are a lot fewer abortion providers in the state than there used to be. We both took time off work so we could make the trip for a consultation.
My friend was very distressed when she went in for her consultation. Already dealing with the whirlwind of undue shame and fear and guilt, she found out she’s required to have an ultrasound before the abortion so she can hear the fetus’s heartbeat and the physician’s description of what the fetus looks like. She still doesn’t know what to do.
“Want to spend some time together tonight?” I ask her. I call my other friend who’s been crashing with me and let her know we’ll have company. She’s homeless right now because she’s trans, and housing discrimination is still legal.
Under President Ted Cruz
I check my mail to find a letter notifying me that I no longer have health insurance. A moment of panic. Then: Wait, I didn’t have health insurance before Obamacare. What did I do back then?
Got sick and tried to ignore it, or went to the emergency room. Luckily, there was Planned Parenthood for my annual exams and birth control. That was something. That was a lot, actually.
I’m out of NuvaRings. Dial the number. Nobody’s on the other end, because Planned Parenthood has been defunded for selling body parts that they didn’t actually sell. No choice but to go to the store, to spend a ton of money on condoms.
One of those condoms ends up breaking. F*ck. Oh wait, Plan B! Running to the store now.
But there is no Plan B at the store. That’s not a thing anymore because it’s considered an “abortifacient,” since it could pose a threat to a fertilized embryo.
Now I have one of those inside me. Oh, god. What am I going to do?
A safe, medically-sound abortion is difficult to come by, because there are so few clinics left in my state and they are so far away from me. I don’t know how I’ll be able to support myself and a baby if I go through with the pregnancy. The company I work for is one of the 70% that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave. How will I afford child care when I have to return to work? I could try asking for a raise now, just to give me a boost before the time comes. Maybe I’m entitled to one, but I’m not allowed to discuss salaries with my co-workers, so I have no idea where I’m at compared to…
The phone rings, interrupting my spiral. It’s my friend; she’s running away from her abusive boyfriend, but the only women’s shelter left isn’t open anymore. (President Cruz felt that the Violence Against Women Act infringed on states’ rights to define and prosecute crimes, and the women’s shelter was defunded as a result.) She’s scared and looking over her shoulder and standing in front of an empty building by herself.
“You can stay here,” I tell her. I’m wondering where she’ll sleep, since my other friend is staying here, too. She’s homeless right now because she’s trans, and housing discrimination is still legal.
Under President Donald Trump
Every policy has become Schrödinger’s cat, and everyone is afraid to look inside the box.
Women may or may not have access to abortion depending on whether President Trump is pro-choice or pro-life today.
Planned Parenthood may or may not exist, depending on whether it’s an organization that does great things for women’s health or a disgusting abortion factory.
Trans women may or may not continue to face legal discrimination in all but the president’s Miss Universe pageants.
Millions of men and women may or may not have health insurance, depending on whether removing the “lines around the states” was a complete policy proposal or not.
Women either need to be cherished or treated like sh*t.
Every morning begins with an assurance, during the daily pledge of allegiance to The Donald, that our president is going to be taking a look at a lot of things. He’s going to open the box, and whatever he sees inside – it’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be winning. And it’s going to be great (again).