There will be no puppies, nor rainbows, nor butterflies today. It's not that I didn't have a great weekend amid the rain and the work-a-day Sunday which is kind of lame, but I'm sure I deserved it in negative comptime I've accrued in the past several weeks, and what kind of a boss would I be if I didn't make myself work?
But I'm rotten with sad right now, and it's all because of this. An illegal abortion clinic was raided in a building I go to frequently. I have a friend that lives in the building, and in fact, probably used to live on the same floor as the "clinic."
Think about what I just said: an illegal abortion clinic (see? no puppies). Illegal. Against the law. Underground, undercover, untested, unobserved, uninvestigated, unregulated, uninspected. Where women went to have a "doctor" against whom they have no recourse, terminate their unwanted pregnancies.
What could cause a woman to do something so stupid? When you choose the doctor at which to get your yearly well-visit, do you choose the cheapest? the dirtiest? the most clandestine? You do not. You ask your friends and you investigate and you look at what works with your insurance, and you go out and just get it done.
But what about this? A person operating under "minimal conditions" according to the article. Who did he think he was? A mercenary? a feminist? Or just someone taking advantage of women who don't have any other choice?
I'm sick with anger and frustration at the situation, at the fact that the clinic had to exist in the first place, that the police investigated the situation for months, that they raided it, and that it's shut down now.
And then just for fun, I did a quick google search and found out that here in Santiago I can have a number of drugs delivered to my home (or sent to me, if I don't live in the Metro Region) to terminate my unwanted (and in my case nonexistent) pregnancy up to nine weeks of gestation, though the pills may work until later in the pregnancy, but with increased side-effects. One one site, the person advertising the meds offers that he/she has "bastante conocimiento en el tema" (abundant knowlege on the topic).
Well, isn't that reassuring.
WHAT?! This is a medical procedure. Keeping abortion illegal forces women to make choices they shouldn't have to, like taking a potentially dangerous medication on their own, waiting for its effects, or going down to a basement apartment in Plaza Italia, and finding that the clinic that was supposed to solucionar el problema (solve the problem) has been police-line-taped shut.
This situation isn't new, and it's not limited to Chile. It's just that my eyes just got opened a touch wider to what's going on around me. And I'm not shutting them again.
Chile has one of the highest abortion rates in Latin America, according to this news piece, which also gives information for a phone number that women can call to get information about "safe abortions," a hotline staffed by Red Salud Mujeres Chile. (Women's Health Network, Chile). I haven't called, so I don't know what kind of advice they're offering, but unless it involves a trip over the border, the actions that women are being told to take are illegal and criminal (can be prosecuted).
And I'm ready to get flamed, so go ahead. I stand by my convictions that education, family planning and actual availability of Plan B (la píldora día después) would markedly reduce the number of abortions women seek, and that when they choose to do so, it should be under medical advice from doctors at licensed, inspected clinics in the light of day, and not in a basement apartment just steps from the Baquedano metro.