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An Excerpt from Breaking Ground by Marie Corbett on the subject of Abortion

Breaking Ground Excerpt

An excerpt from Breaking Ground:

Carmel arrived at 12:30 sharp. Too nervous to sit, she stood at the window gazing blankly at the blue afternoon outside. 

 A buxom red-haired woman Carmel led her into the room where she’d had her first appointment and told her to wait for the doctor. The doctor came in, looking tired. Carmel wondered how many abortions he did a day, how many a week. “Good morning, Carmel,” he said. “Do you have the money?” 

 “Yes.” Carmel handed the doctor six fifty-dollar bills, which he locked in a drawer. Then, to her amazement, he withdrew a lighter from his pocket. For a minute, she thought he was going to offer her a cigarette, to calm her. Instead, he lit a fire to a small sheet of paper.

“This paper has your name on it. No records,” he said. When the little slip had turned to ash, he looked her in the face for the first time. “My daughter’s name is Carmela,” he said. He seemed a little downcast. “You haf children? How many?”   


 “Is your first pregnancy?” 


 “Ah. You vill come again.”  

 Angry at the notion, Carmel said nothing, but she swore to herself that she would never return. She’d never see him again, and she’d never again get pregnant unless she wanted to.  

 “You must not have bath for next four days, only shower, no Tampax, no sex. Otherwise, be normal, do normal things tomorrow. Go to school, do whatever is normal. Rest in bed if you need. You will haf a period in three, four, or five weeks. Some bleed now, some in a few days. Some don’t bleed.”  

She told Deb what had happened.  “He’s the most gorgeous man - I mean, gorgeous,” said Carmel. “And he wanted to make love to me, and I wanted to stay, but if I stayed, I’d have to make love to him...

“Crumbs, Carmel, if you both really like each other, what’s the problem?”

“Oh, you know. I’m a practicing Catholic. It’s a mortal sin. I could go to hell.”

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