When I was younger, I used to go to the cemetery every day. Sometimes I’d cut class, and make the ten minute walk to it, other times I’d wait till after school, then have to walk home, a good thirty, maybe forty minutes. On weekends, I’d lie and say I was visiting a friend and get a ride to nearby, or sometimes I’d just walk. There is this one spot in the cemetery, It stands out like a beacon for me. It’s just some innocuous grave, marked with just a first name and a year, but it is a fixed point in my mind. Florence. In those days, Florence was my closest friend. I’d never met her, nor could I ever had, but still I would visit her day after day. I’d like to think that she called out to me, brought me to the cemetery, because I needed a friend, and she needed company. Now that I’m older, I don’t visit her very often, but, I know she’s still there, with just a first name and a date. Sometimes, when I make these posts, I hope somehow she can hear them, that we’re still connected.
I hope you’re doing well, I hope the groundskeeper cleans off your plaque once in a while, I know how you don’t care for pine needles. I hope the smell of cut grass reminds you of happier times, and the chirps of birds sound like music you used to know. I hope you are happy.
I had a patient in the clinic who really did not want an abortion but who had no resources to cover the costs of prenatal care or childbirth. She was single and without insurance coverage but made just enough money to be ineligible for state assistance. She already had outstanding bills at the hospital and with the local ob-gyn practice. No doctor would see her without payment up front.
We were willing to do the abortion for a reduced rate or for free if necessary. But she really didn’t want an abortion. Once I understood her situation, I went to the phone and called the local ‘crisis pregnancy center.’
"Hello, this is Dr. Wicklund."
Dead silence. I might as well have said I was Satan.
"Hello?" I said again. "This is Dr. Wicklund."
"Hello," very tentatively, followed by another long silence.
"I need help with a patient," I said. She came to me for an abortion, but really doesn’t want one. What she really needs is someone to do her prenatal care and birth for free."
"What do you expect us to do?"
I let that hang for a minute.
This Common Secret, Susan Wicklund
Crisis Pregnancy Centers often disguise themselves as medical facilities, with advertisements offering “help” with an unplanned pregnancy. Their main goal is to keep the pregnant person from having an abortion at all costs. Usually, all they’ll give you is a free pregnancy test, some baby clothes, and maybe a box of diapers.
The patient referred to in the quote was given free prenatal care and did not have to pay the financial cost of childbirth by a local anti-choice doctor. She would often stop by Dr. Wicklund’s office to let her know how she was doing:
"He (the doctor) always moans and groans about being tricked into [doing this]," she says. "Then he goes off on these tirades against abortion."
"This Common Secret" is such a phenomenal book. And yeah, crisis pregnancy centers are generally evil, so there’s that.