Author: H. Everend
Publication Date: 24 August 2022
Available As: e-book
Maya Wenthold has two choices: carry out an unviable pregnancy only for it to kill her or cross state lines to obtain a medically necessary abortion. She is in a race against time, challenges and obstacles. Will she make it or is time not on her side?
For fifty years, Roe v. Wade gave millions of women across the United States the choice to carry their pregnancies to term or to opt for an abortion, the latter option often being necessary in life-threatening situations such as ectopic pregnancies and the ruling offering some solace to victims of rape or incestual abuse. Now, I don’t really “do” politics; I find political debate tedious and often causes more resentment and arguments and I generally regard all politicians as lying, deceitful scumbags but I know right from wrong, so when I heard that Roe v. Wade had been overturned on 24 June 2022, thereby taking away a woman’s fundamental right to choose, I was both angered and confused by the decision. Now, the decision lies with the individual states, with some refusing to act even if it means saving the mother’s life and others imprisoning women who try to seek out an abortion, whether legal or otherwise. Suffice it to say that the whole thing has been a massive step back for women’s rights and has caused a great deal of controversy and debate, especially across social media, and I’d wager even now there are some people reading my pro-choice views on the subject and flipping out. Frankly, that’s too bad; a woman’s body is her own and everyone should have the right to choose rather than being forced to give birth, suffer, or even die due to some insane governmental ruling.
Thankfully, there are organisations out there that offer support for women in this position, and that’s where Aborted Justice comes into play. To even read H. Everend’s latest short story, you need to make a donation of any kind to NARAL, a pro-choice foundation seeking to better educate the masses on the benefits of offering women a choice about their own lives and bodies. I know the author and I know how strongly she feels about this issue, and I’ve seen many in the writing community rally against the decision and seek to raise awareness through their writing, and Aborted Justice definitely highlights just how dire this situation can be. The story of Maya Wenthold, the victim of sexual assault from her partner, Aborted Justice jumps between two time frames: the “present”, where Maya is imprisoned and at the mercy of ignorant and sadistic pro-life guards, and the past, stretching back about three weeks ago, which charts her discovery of her pregnancy and attempts to save her life. Maya is one of the rare women to be stricken by an “ectopic pregnancy”, a frankly terrifying prospect where the fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Since the foetus is outside of the womb, it cannot be carried to term, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade now regards these life-threatening incidents as being legitimate pregnancies, meaning that Maya cannot have the proto-baby removed without the hospitals facing legal action and herself being arrested.
With her mother staunchly pro-life and the medical and legal system giving her no choice, and even regarding her as a whore or having tampered with the embryo to cause it to become non-viable, Maya faces a race against time to get across the border and into New Mexico to have the egg removed before the pseudo-pregnancy kills her. Much of the narrative focuses on Maya’s panic and abject terror and being refused life-saving treatment and her reaction to pro-lifers, who look at her and her kind with a mixture of disgust and even hatred. Male figures such as the twisted Officer Alan Drex treat her cruelly, denying her the benefit of a doctor to relieve the agonising pain caused by her pregnancy, but there are some notably reprehensible pro-life women in the text as well, with their opinions on the matter seemingly routed in a holier-than-thou religious attitude that never fails to disgust in its ignorance. The author’s descriptions of Maya’s rising panic as time runs short and her reaction to the pain caused by her pregnancy are startling; in her cell, Maya is tormented by the constant dripping of blood and slowly loses her grip on reality as she’s left to suffer in agony.
It is the aim of Aborted Justice to show a macabre reflection on current affairs in the United States; though a work of fiction, the story’s events are all-too-real and the author helpfully provides information regarding Roe v. Wade and organisations that can help, such as NARAL. Its subject matter is intentionally disturbing and the story never once tries to sugar coat the cruelty and lack of empathy shown to Maya regarding her position; no doctors dare interfere with her pregnancy for fear of being sued or shut down, and her only choice is to seek out a mercenary, of sorts, to try and get help and support outside of America. Every action she takes is regarded as a criminal act, and in some states this is entirely accurate, meaning women are forced to either carry unwanted pregnancies to term or left either to die or to take matters into their own hands, which could result in them being prosecuted simply for wanting to have a choice in what happens with their bodies. The story is a short, sharp read that perfectly captures the gravity of this harrowing situation but, if you’re pro-choice or easily “triggered” by harrowing scenes and depictions of pregnancy and the maltreatment of women, Aborted Justice probably isn’t for you. You should read it anyway, though. You absolutely should donate to NARAL and oppose this nonsensical ruling regardless of your religion or political mindset because this issue is about knowing the difference between right and wrong and recognising that a society where women are left to die rather than remove a non-viable or unwanted pregnancy isn’t really the safest environment to live.
If you’re interested in checking out Aborted Justice, donate to NARAL, and to learn more about H. Everend and her journey as an author, visit the links at the top of the page.