Second Sex Still? (A Letter from Jane) [Flash Fiction]

Dear Chiara,

I know you remember when you and I discussed at length just what a woman’s position in this world is–and missionary position was culturally enforced only so women could be kept under men. But we must always remember that there was something Edgar Poe about abortion, something downright gothic horror, before Roe versus Wade. You know, we are talking curtain rods and all that went along with less than antiseptic surgery. The question for me is why should induced miscarriage be less safe and less anti-septic than operations performed at Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals during war? This has changed here in the United States, we imagine, at least we imagine it has changed for the better and that that change for the better is permanent, as if no vigilance is necessary. Nonetheless, more women die annually from medical malpractice in America than from breast cancer.

Maybe women are still the second sex in America’s mind–perhaps this second sex status crosses over to second class in other ways as well? The idea that we cannot take giant steps backwards is naive. There is really no low that people cannot descend to; there is no limit really to how bad things can get in a society; there is no condition that people cannot get used to, none.

The United States only sometimes an exception, there are nearly a hundred thousand women worldwide who die in the process of having an illegal and/or unsafe abortion worldwide. Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are not safe medical procedures and this has to stop. But then why should it when most of us are convinced we should be grateful that more women do not die annually from illegal or unsafe abortions. There is something uncivilized about a society that cannot protect a woman’s right to choose, or provide safe and antiseptic medical procedures when she does exercise her rights. A society that upholds those rights by law is a civilized society. Of course, any society that does not is less than civilized and that’s another truth I hold to be self evident.

Yours, ever,




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