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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 32

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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Alicia started to tremble, at the same time as she blushed; she didn’t know what to answer, the question had taken her by surprise...

“Well, we were lucky,” said Alicia, “thanks to a cousin, we managed to get him to do us a special favour”

“Álvez doing favours?” went on Roberto Burán, “Incredible, it looks like I’ve got a lot to learn, I would never have imagined it. Are you sure he didn’t take advantage of your necessity?”

“He charged me something,” said Alicia, “my cousin helped me pay. Isn’t that right, Mabel?”

“It’s true, Roberto, it was very difficult for my poor sister to get me a good doctor who would offer us finance. I can never thank her enough; you know I have coagulation deficiencies. In my case, if I hadn’t been attended to by someone competent, I could have ended up dead.”

Alicia Sandrelli was sweating profusely, she was afraid Roberto would ask her details about how she had paid for Mabel’s operation.

Stelli involuntarily got her out of the spot by saying, “Really, Mabel, you have to be thankful to you big sister, you wouldn’t dream how thankful. Many poor girls aren’t as lucky as you; the classes with few resources are condemned to total vulnerability.”

“You’re right, doctor,” commented Mabel, “I was thinking of using a knitting needle if Alicia hadn’t solved the problem. I think I would have died.”

“It’s very possible,” said Stelli. “It’s an unacceptable injustice, the wealthy have got no problem. They can go to a good doctor, with all the safety measures. They take every precaution, including legal ones. Poor people, on the other hand, are left to their own devices.”

“It’s undeniable,” said Roberto Burán, “but in spite of everything, I think things are slowly changing. A few days ago I heard a candidate for the deputy governorship of the Province of Buenos Aires justify abortion. And he’s a Catholic; such courage is unusual in a politician.”

“The situation is too serious,” said Stelli, “Look, Roberto, the lower classes are the most ignorant; they’re not well informed with regard to contraceptives or else they can’t buy them. The Church prohibits their use. All these are reasons why so many unwanted children are born. It’s not difficult to imagine the conditions they grow up in. A glance at a Buenos Aires suburb or the shanty towns anywhere in the country show us the seriousness of the matter. Infanticide is one of the direct consequences. I’m always reading in the papers that they’ve found the dead bodies of children...”

Burán nodded. “That’s right, Carlos, in the most destitute areas, where they’re most ignorant, there’s no chance of carrying out sociological analysis. They live at the rhythm of their needs; incest is commonplace. Little girls are very often raped by their fathers; the newspapers only tell us a thousandth part of what goes on. Instead of taking charge of the dreadful situation, the government chooses not to carry out educational campaigns or explain things. Ah, but meanwhile, when a pregnancy occurs, they’re only too ready to repress abortion.”

“It looks like a diabolical strategy,” agreed Stelli, “it’s unbelievable. Our society is scandalised by juvenile delinquency, it makes the sign of the cross when faced with abortion, but it doesn’t attack the root causes. It behaves over-piously, as if infant mortality wasn’t even more of an affliction than infanticide. There are many ways of eliminating a child: not giving him anything to eat or depriving him of medical attention are a couple of the most efficient ways. Unconsciously, many mothers exterminate their children, but no one pays any special attention to solving this problem.”

Alicia embraced her sister and with tears in her eyes said, “Mabel, do you see? Do you understand that you’re not a Martian? That lots of young women go through your situation?”

“That’s right,” said the doctor, “the problem is much more complex than you realise. You have to get over it and look ahead, you’ll have children one day. Who knows whether the one you aborted would have been born normal? In any case, it’s too late for tears now. I advise you to forget the matter, put it down to experience and take care from now on.”

“I won’t be going to bed with anyone, doctor,” said Mabel, ashamed.

“Well, dear, that’s OK,” said Stelli with a smile, “but if you do, take precautions. In any case, listen to me, our average morals do not reject what you did. In our case, the great majority would have done the same. What’s more, to be honest with you, I recognize that I would have advised my own daughter, if she were to ask my opinion, to terminate the pregnancy. Supporting her in everything, of course, if she had wanted to go on with it. But I wouldn’t have avoided telling her what I think about this problem. Lower the curtain on this chapter of your life, enjoy your youth and freedom, you’ve got a bright future ahead of you. Your case could have been much worse, if the pregnancy had been more advanced. As I said to you, there are limits to everything.”

“What are they?” asked Mabel anxiously.

“Keep calm, as far as I know, you hadn’t reached three months’ pregnant. The foetus is not yet considered sensitive at that stage. Soon after the third month they can be considered sensitive. It’s undeniable... the embryo develops through a process. It’s not the same in the early stages as in the latter ones. This, beyond any theoretical formula, is the truth, it imposes itself.”

“I’m grateful for your understanding, doctor. I feel quite a lot better. At least now I can think a bit more peacefully. I must calm down and think over everything that’s happened to me...”

“Relax, Mabel, you’re a good girl, you deserve to be happy. There are things in life that aren’t easy to assimilate; I myself stopped doing abortions because it affected my mood. To profit from abortions might be censurable, but more than earning money from it, the fact of doing it is heartrending. Note that currently, like so many of my colleagues, I divert these cases to a specialist. I receive a commission for it and it doesn’t affect me. As you can see, it’s not an ethical question, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to accept a fee. But I’m more at ease because I personally don’t have to face it, now another doctor is the executioner. In my way, I’m being more hypocritical now than when I terminated pregnancies directly and now I run no risk. You see, we all have our conflicts. But tomorrow awaits you, don’t waste it...”

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationJuly 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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