Sure, my job wasn’t the usual movie theatre or diner job, but it’s what I did. I’m not saying what I did was right or wrong, but it was what I did. It was the late 1960s, small town Alabama, and I performed abortions. Well, I helped. My aunt actually provided the abortions. I was just her assistant. Her stupid, gullible assistant. My aunt provided illegal abortions for girls in the area. I figure I must have helped her with a thousand! I was only 13 or 14 when I started working with her, but it always made me uneasy. The girls who came in always seemed uneasy, like they really didn’t want to do it, but my Nanna could always talk them into it. Heck, she could’ve sold ice to an Eskimo. Anyway, it’s just what I did. I was always by her side.
Until… until abortion was legalized. Nobody ever came to her anymore. Why would they? They could get it done legally and safe. I always ask her why she didn’t go set up a practice, but she never answered. She just scoffed. Scoffed! Never gave an answer! I still don’t know why to this day. Eventually I got a job as a secretary and me and my aunt drifted apart. We never called we never wrote, until that phone call. It was my dad. He told me Nanna wasn’t doing well. She was in the hospital. I wasn’t surprised. 70 years old and widowed. I left my kids with my husband and drove to start the drive to the hospital. I was thinking over what I was going to say when I saw her.
She was such a big part of my life and we hadn’t even spoken in years. Could anything make up for that? I would tell her I love her and how much she meant to me. Maybe some other sappy stuff, but I meant every bit of it. When I arrived, I could hear screams before the elevator even reached the floor. “STOP, STOP, MAKE THEM STOP!” They got louder as I approached the floor. The elevator opened and I could hear the screams from the back of the hall ”MAKE IT STOP! MAKE THEM STOP!” . I knew the voice. My Nanna’s. I rush to the back of the hall to see my father standing outside of the the room. That awful room. There were nurses in there putting sedatives into her IV. one after another but they seemed to do nothing. She just kept screaming! “MAKE IT STOP! MAKE THEM STOP!
I ask my father, “what’s going on?” He said that she was dying and she had been doing this for hours. Still her screams continued “PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE THE BABIES QUIT SCREAMING! PLEASE MAKE THE BABIES STOP SCREAMING!!!”