Katha Politt wonders: Does the Possibility of a Return to the Days of Back Alley Abortions Scare You?
Short answer no. (the drug part is at the bottom, if you want to skip the sex part)
I remember the days before Roe and the pill, very well. Every one of my girlfriends up to my twenties either had an abortion in Mexico or had a baby and gave it up for adoption. That's a random sample of about five---very small group. Two had babies, three had abortions. What can I say? I didn't get lucky very often. Oh, yeah, I should add, none of them were mine.
Those were sure great days. There was an entire underground network between LA/SF bay area and Tijuana and Ensenada. It was a standard part of growing up. If you were smart you got into Cal, got laid, went to Mexico for Christmas. If you weren't smart, you didn't get into Cal, but you went to Mexico anyway at least once between your sixteenth and twentieth birthday. After that you could usually get a doctor to do a D and C. There were several gynecologists in Berkeley who most people knew---but you had to be twenty-one so they didn't need parental concent for an office procedure. The one that did my ex-wife's when she was sixteen, became our gynecologist and delivered my son about seven years later. Great guy.
Seven or eight years before, I was going with somebody else and her roommate (some guy just got out of high school) was going with my ex who was still in high school. After school (at BHS) my ex and one of her girlfriends used to come by our place to smoke dope, listen to records, fuck, do their homework and gossip with the college kids before going home.
One afternoon, R came by looking scared and told her boyfriend she was pregnant---missed her period a couple of months in a row. We had a house meeting and decided to put up two hundred and fifty, get plane tickets to San Diego and do a bus run to the border. P (my girlfriend at the time) would take R, while the boys stayed home. This would be done on a Friday morning, so R had the weekend to recover. The big day arrived, P and R left Berkeley for the airport about seven in the morning. We didn't hear from them until about four that afternoon. They had a hard time finding a clinic in Tijuana, didn't trust what they found, and had had to go to Ensenada instead where they asked a cab driver. The clinic was clean and was a neighborhood doctor's office. The doctor told them to get a prescription filled in Mexico for ten days worth of penicillin to stop any possible infection and wrote out the script. Scripts were not legally required in Mexico, but they were used to describe to the pharmacist exactly what was needed. The girls didn't bother with that because they were running late and because P didn't want to be detained at the border over questions about what they were doing with Mexican prescription drugs. Big mistake.
They didn't get to the San Diego airport until four when they called us. The planes were crowed with commuters and they didn't get a flight until about seven with a transfer in LA and didn't get up here until after nine at night. We picked them up in SF and drove like crazy to get R home before eleven, since her parents would be frantic and pissed. We dropped her just up the street so we didn't drive by the front of the house. She told her folks she had been bad and cut school with L (her bad influence girlfriend) and got stuck in SF with no lift home after some movie let out. Since she was grounded for the weekend, she couldn't go out and get any penicillin. The boys were useless since we could score grass, lsd, mushrooms, coke, speed, heroin, and just about any other bullshit drug but penicillin! R couldn't get to her gynecologist until Monday. She started to get an infection. She went to school on Monday and left sick with a fever, went to see the doctor, got an exam, a giant shot and a ten day supply of penicillin with no parental notice. She had to come back the next day for another check and shot. R had come clean with the doc and begged him not to tell her parents. Shock of shocks, he didn't. (Probably realized he could collect fees later for future deliveries--which he did of course.)
It's hard to explain just how radicalizing these experiences are. They put you in a place of absolute alienation from the entire establishment of law and power and the practical result is the creation of alternative social structures that supplant the whole spectrum of bourgeois society. The need for abortion, birth control, and alternative medical and social support was part of the essential core to the women's movement---and also radicalized the boys and men involved. These systems developed around girls and women, and functioned something like the draft and war resistance support functioned for boys and men--as combating the existing social institutions against their consummate threats to life. With the draft and war on one side, sex, abortion, birth control (and later infant and child care) on the other, the whole social nucleus of a generation was turned into the enemy of the state.
Things are different now, and I would guess that as each move by the Right is taken, whole countervailing socio-economic and political systems spring up much faster. For one thing, doctors are different and I doubt it would take much to turn them into an almost complete class of malcontents at this point (see Gordon Fitch and Chris Dykema exchange on prescription for fascism).
On Ian's drug issue:
``Were we built to smoke marijuana? wondered Jeff Isaacson, an assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego, who contributed to the latest findings by UC San Francisco graduate student Rachel Wilson and neuroscientist Roger Nicoll.'' (from You're already stoned.. thread)
That's the wrong question, but typical of inside out stoner logic. The right question is, was marijuana constructed to be smoked by us? If these findings (THC-like receptors) are reasonably accurate, then the answer is probably yes.
Plants spend most of their time evolving ways to make themselves chemically attractive or chemically hostile in tightly focused ways toward the rest of the biological world. After all they don't really have much else to do and they can't run away in any case. They are going to be eaten, fucked, pissed on, smoked, poisoned, beaten, and killed by just about anything on legs, so they have collectively decided to make the most of it.