Chapters Six & Seven: Where’s the Doctor?

Linda Hirshman

In the latest installments of "Red State," Lucy's rescuers smuggle her to safety.

As the pro-choice majority of the Supreme Court has dwindled to a
few old Justices, legal scholars predict a world eerily like America
before the Civil War, with women fleeing anti-abortion states, the
authorities a few steps behind.
But there’s nothing like fiction to engage the heart. What would it
feel like to live in the world like the one the law professors coldly
imagine? Catch up and read Chapters One, Two, Three, Four and Five.
Continuing every Tuesday and Friday until the heroine meets her fate, I
will publish at this site an installment of her adventures and an
imagined, terrifying, but not unthinkable America in the time after Roe.

Chapter Six: Where’s the Doctor?

Richard
was waiting anxiously by the bedroom door.

"I
think she’ll be okay," Howard said. "She doesn’t know where
the house is, because she was completely unconscious when we brought
her here, and we’ll blindfold her when we take her out. Who knew she
was going to start wandering around like that?"

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Richard
nodded agreement, his fair hair falling over his forehead. "Anyway,
I’m not sure they would do anything more to us for being gay than
running the Road.  And I don’t know how much longer we are going
to get away with it, anyway.  The counselors are starting to come
once a week, asking Faith and me why we don’t have children."

"They’re
coming here, too. We’re going to have to move, I think.  Next
time we move someplace, we have to bring a baby.  Maybe the Guides
will have a baby we can adopt. I hate to leave this beautiful house,
though.  And it’s so perfect for the Road."

Richard
gave a whispered hoot of laughter. "Going native?  Howard Brown
falls in love with Richmond, the capital of the old Confederacy, home
to the Heritage Plantation Foundation, drafters of the new constitution
of the Commonwealth of Virginia, providing, among other things, that
no legislature may ever pass a law protecting the rights of gays. 
Boy, what a few Greek columns will do to a gay boy!"

"You
stop that! I am as radical as you are. This whole two household partnership
was my idea.  If it weren’t for gays like us, there would be
no Rainbow Road. We moved here when no one was doing anything to get
those gay kids out. And spoiled darlings like this tall drink of water
with the snoopy disposition would just have to rot in their fathers’
arms. Sometimes I feel like the last radical left in America."

"Touchy."

"I’d
be a lot calmer," Howard answered, "if I knew where that damn doctor
was.  He knows where we live."  He began to pace around
and chew his nails, as he did when things got tense.

"Come
here sweetie," Richard said, "and let’s forget our troubles for
one more night."

Chapter Seven: The Underground Jeep

"Feeling
better?"

It
was the woman again. Daylight was filtering through the open door from
what she now knew was an empty room. What was she, the housekeeper or
something?  She was pretty young to be a single woman, even if
she was sort of plain. There were hardly any single women around any
more, what with the rules about marrying instead of burning and all.
Even widows got married off to their husbands’ brothers, when their
husbands died from one of the new diseases or smoking.  That’s
how she wound up with that awful Arthur.  Hard to believe he was
related to her beloved father, even if only by half.  Of course
mom could have said no. They weren’t forcing people to marry the brothers
at that point.  She never liked being poor, her mother, so she
didn’t have a lot of options.  Especially since Lucy was only
twelve when her father died. Anyway the woman was wearing a wedding
ring. 

Lucy
moved her head back and forth.

"Much
better," she said.

"Do
you want to get up and get dressed?" the woman asked. I washed your
clothes."

Lucy
swung her legs over the bed side.

"Of
course you cannot go out.  You should not have tried to wander
around last night."

Lucy
said nothing. Where was the diamond she had hidden? Did they find it
when they washed her clothes?  It was a secret pocket, but it certainly
wasn’t supposed to be for smuggling diamonds!

"There’s
a bedpan under the bed, if you have to go.  I guess you forgot
we showed it to you last night. You were pretty sick." Her tone was
not unkind.  But something in it scared Lucy.

"I
won’t tell, I’ll never tell, no matter what they do to me," she
avowed. 

"That
sounds fine," the woman said, "but it’s three days now. You’re
a runaway girl. They must be looking for you. I saw the marks on your
back when we took your clothes off. Even if they don’t try you for
running away, someone’s been beating you pretty badly already, haven’t
they?  Think what he can do to you if you’re a recapture. Who
was it? Your husband?"

"I’m
not married," Lucy answered. She was so ashamed of the beating. She
hadn’t even told David.  She drew a breath. "It’s my mother’s
husband. I live – lived with my mother."

"You’re
sort of old to be living at home, aren’t you?"

Lucy
didn’t answer. 

The
woman seemed little interested in pursuing it. 

"We’re
going to try to get you out today.  I’m not happy that the doctor
isn’t answering. If they’ve caught the doctor, this house could
well not be safe. We need to move you out.  Here are your clothes. 
Let’s get dressed."  She walked toward the door.

"Ma’am?"
Lucy did not know what to call her.

She
smiled a little. She wasn’t beautiful like the Angel Man, but she
had a sturdy, matter-of-fact air that was somehow reassuring. Everything
about her was short, Lucy reflected. She was short, she had short brown
hair and short nails. 

"It’s
Harriet," she said.

"Harriet.
What is this room?  There are no windows . . . "

"I
can’t tell you," Harriet answered. "I can’t tell you anything
about this place.  If you should get caught, you won’t be able
to lead them here no matter what they do. It’s bad enough the doctor
had to know where to come.  But we had no choice; the last Parcel
was bleeding buckets, abortionist just dumped her in the Toyota, the
goddam butcher." She frowned hard.  The doctor thing was obviously
worrying her a lot.

The
door bell rang.

"Don’t move from this
room," Harriet whispered roughly. "Don’t say a word, no matter
what. If something happens to me, someone will be here to take you out. 
This room is completely hidden; you cannot see the door from the other
room and it appears on no plans, they would have to burn the house down
to find you. Just sit tight."

Lucy
ran for her skirt on the chair, feeling for the diamond. There. Pretty
good secret pocket after all. Seemed like hours passed. Lucy could hear
voices – they sounded like women’s voices – from some distant
place in the house. She put on the skirt and light blouse she had run
away in and waited.

Harriet
came back. "Okay, we’re going. That was counselors paying a home
visit.  Could just be a coincidence. We don’t have children,
and they do come once every couple of months to see if we need help
having children or something.  Or it could be that they wanted
to look around without committing to a police action.  They don’t
like to send the Bureau unless they’re sure.  But the last thing
I need is a runaway if they do decide it’s time."

She
pulled a white cloth out of her pocket and beckoned Lucy over. "Sit
down. I’m going to blindfold you. You may not know how we work." 

Blindfolded
and still feeling a little strange, Lucy felt herself led across floors
and down some stairs.  The smell changed and she thought she must
be in some basement.  They walked a while in the basement smelling
place and stopped.  She heard Harriet click something and the sound
of a door opening.  Then the air changed again, damper and dank
smelling.  Her hands brushed against a wall that felt like earth. 
She could tell it was dark, although a flickering light indicated her
Guide had a flashlight or something.  They were in the earthy smelling
place for quite a while.   

"Arriving
so soon?" a new voice asked.  Her heart stopped.  Had they
been caught?

Harriet’s
voice was steady. "They sent a counselor.  I can’t tell if
it’s for real or just to snoop around, but the doc’s gone missing,
and he knew…"

"Oh,
boy.  If they arrest him, he could bargain us away in no time."
It was a female voice.  "Okay, give her to me and go back. 
Just pretend nothing is happening.  If they come, we’ll say the
doctor made it up to buy himself out.  If there’s no runaway
there, how are they going to prove we did anything?" 

"Judges
aren’t so fastidious about proving things since the Agreement, my
dear. And they’re already suspicious because Howard and I don’t
have children."

"I
know.  But they still can’t just throw you in jail without any
proof at all. Now go back and clean everywhere she touched.  They
may not believe in DNA, but they still use fingerprints."

"Good
by Lucy," Harriet said. "I hope you make it out, and I hope you
have a wonderful life."

The
other woman took Lucy’s hand and they walked along.  After a
few minutes, the new Guide said, "I’m afraid we don’t have such
fancy digs as Harriet and Howard do.  Especially with the Doc gone
missing, I’m going to have to leave you here while we arrange some
transit."

Lucy
felt panic rise.  Leave her in this dank place? Blindfolded?

The
woman took the blindfold off and Lucy saw a little canvas chair and
a lantern.  They were in a tunnel of some sort, under the earth. 
That’s what she smelled.

"Here’s
a book," the woman said. She was taller than Harriet and prettier.
She had the traditional Red State long hair and perfect nose.  
"Things could always be worse." She handed Lucy a book from a table
behind the chair. "I’ll be back as soon as I can."

Lucy
listened as her footsteps disappeared and, stifling the desire to run
after her, sat down in the chair.  Might as well see what kind
of book they give out on the Rainbow Road.  Some Canadian thing.
She opened the book at random and began to read. "Nolite te Bastardes
Carborandurum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down." Well, that’s
a good start.

Before
she could get any further, she heard the woman coming back. "Okay,
let’s go." She seemed upset, less calm somehow. She kept running
her long hands through her silky hair. She hustled Lucy along, the blindfold
business essentially forgotten. "Oh, shit, the blindfold." She reminded
Lucy a little of Harriet – same no nonsense manner above a deep well
of pure terror. Blindfolded, Lucy walked in what she now knew was the
tunnel and then heard another door open and the air change again. When
the blindfold came off, she was looking at a new red Jeep. 

The
new woman began to work inside the car, pulling and tugging. The back
seat leaned forward — Lucy had never seen a Jeep do this, and then
the woman picked up the whole bottom of the car to reveal a well, covered
with a dun colored quilted pad like the movers use, but small, so small.

"I
am sorry to do this, but you have to go under this floor.  It’s
a false bottom – we moved the seats up to make it, but we couldn’t
move them up too much or it would be obvious.  Here’s a bottle
of water, you can breathe – it’s hardly airtight, so don’t worry
about that. Now if you have to go to the bathroom, go now.  Once
you’re in here, you can’t come out until we have you over the line."

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included a typo that misidentified Sen. Tim Kaine as a Republican. We regret this error.

Roundups Sexual Health

This Week in Sex: The Sexually Transmitted Infections Edition

Martha Kempner

A new Zika case suggests the virus can be transmitted from an infected woman to a male partner. And, in other news, HPV-related cancers are on the rise, and an experimental chlamydia vaccine shows signs of promise.

This Week in Sex is a weekly summary of news and research related to sexual behavior, sexuality education, contraception, STIs, and more.

Zika May Have Been Sexually Transmitted From a Woman to Her Male Partner

A new case suggests that males may be infected with the Zika virus through unprotected sex with female partners. Researchers have known for a while that men can infect their partners through penetrative sexual intercourse, but this is the first suspected case of sexual transmission from a woman.

The case involves a New York City woman who is in her early 20s and traveled to a country with high rates of the mosquito-borne virus (her name and the specific country where she traveled have not been released). The woman, who experienced stomach cramps and a headache while waiting for her flight back to New York, reported one act of sexual intercourse without a condom the day she returned from her trip. The following day, her symptoms became worse and included fever, fatigue, a rash, and tingling in her hands and feet. Two days later, she visited her primary-care provider and tests confirmed she had the Zika virus.

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A few days after that (seven days after intercourse), her male partner, also in his 20s, began feeling similar symptoms. He had a rash, a fever, and also conjunctivitis (pink eye). He, too, was diagnosed with Zika. After meeting with him, public health officials in the New York City confirmed that he had not traveled out of the country nor had he been recently bit by a mosquito. This leaves sexual transmission from his partner as the most likely cause of his infection, though further tests are being done.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommendations for preventing Zika have been based on the assumption that virus was spread from a male to a receptive partner. Therefore the recommendations had been that pregnant women whose male partners had traveled or lived in a place where Zika virus is spreading use condoms or abstain from sex during the pregnancy. For those couples for whom pregnancy is not an issue, the CDC recommended that men who had traveled to countries with Zika outbreaks and had symptoms of the virus, use condoms or abstain from sex for six months after their trip. It also suggested that men who traveled but don’t have symptoms use condoms for at least eight weeks.

Based on this case—the first to suggest female-to-male transmission—the CDC may extend these recommendations to couples in which a female traveled to a country with an outbreak.

More Signs of Gonorrhea’s Growing Antibiotic Resistance

Last week, the CDC released new data on gonorrhea and warned once again that the bacteria that causes this common sexually transmitted infection (STI) is becoming resistant to the antibiotics used to treat it.

There are about 350,000 cases of gonorrhea reported each year, but it is estimated that 800,000 cases really occur with many going undiagnosed and untreated. Once easily treatable with antibiotics, the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae has steadily gained resistance to whole classes of antibiotics over the decades. By the 1980s, penicillin no longer worked to treat it, and in 2007 the CDC stopped recommending the use of fluoroquinolones. Now, cephalosporins are the only class of drugs that work. The recommended treatment involves a combination of ceftriaxone (an injectable cephalosporin) and azithromycin (an oral antibiotic).

Unfortunately, the data released last week—which comes from analysis of more than 5,000 samples of gonorrhea (called isolates) collected from STI clinics across the country—shows that the bacteria is developing resistance to these drugs as well. In fact, the percentage of gonorrhea isolates with decreased susceptibility to azithromycin increased more than 300 percent between 2013 and 2014 (from 0.6 percent to 2.5 percent).

Though no cases of treatment failure has been reported in the United States, this is a troubling sign of what may be coming. Dr. Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, said in a press release: “It is unclear how long the combination therapy of azithromycin and ceftriaxone will be effective if the increases in resistance persists. We need to push forward on multiple fronts to ensure we can continue offering successful treatment to those who need it.”

HPV-Related Cancers Up Despite Vaccine 

The CDC also released new data this month showing an increase in HPV-associated cancers between 2008 and 2012 compared with the previous five-year period. HPV or human papillomavirus is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection. In fact, HPV is so common that the CDC believes most sexually active adults will get it at some point in their lives. Many cases of HPV clear spontaneously with no medical intervention, but certain types of the virus cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, penis, anus, mouth, and neck.

The CDC’s new data suggests that an average of 38,793 HPV-associated cancers were diagnosed each year between 2008 and 2012. This is a 17 percent increase from about 33,000 each year between 2004 and 2008. This is a particularly unfortunate trend given that the newest available vaccine—Gardasil 9—can prevent the types of HPV most often linked to cancer. In fact, researchers estimated that the majority of cancers found in the recent data (about 28,000 each year) were caused by types of the virus that could be prevented by the vaccine.

Unfortunately, as Rewire has reported, the vaccine is often mired in controversy and far fewer young people have received it than get most other recommended vaccines. In 2014, only 40 percent of girls and 22 percent of boys ages 13 to 17 had received all three recommended doses of the vaccine. In comparison, nearly 80 percent of young people in this age group had received the vaccine that protects against meningitis.

In response to the newest data, Dr. Electra Paskett, co-director of the Cancer Control Research Program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, told HealthDay:

In order to increase HPV vaccination rates, we must change the perception of the HPV vaccine from something that prevents a sexually transmitted disease to a vaccine that prevents cancer. Every parent should ask the question: If there was a vaccine I could give my child that would prevent them from developing six different cancers, would I give it to them? The answer would be a resounding yes—and we would have a dramatic decrease in HPV-related cancers across the globe.

Making Inroads Toward a Chlamydia Vaccine

An article published in the journal Vaccine shows that researchers have made progress with a new vaccine to prevent chlamydia. According to lead researcher David Bulir of the M. G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at Canada’s McMaster University, efforts to create a vaccine have been underway for decades, but this is the first formulation to show success.

In 2014, there were 1.4 million reported cases of chlamydia in the United States. While this bacterial infection can be easily treated with antibiotics, it often goes undiagnosed because many people show no symptoms. Untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can leave scar tissue in the fallopian tubes or uterus and ultimately result in infertility.

The experimental vaccine was created by Canadian researchers who used pieces of the bacteria that causes chlamydia to form an antigen they called BD584. The hope was that the antigen could prompt the body’s immune system to fight the chlamydia bacteria if exposed to it.

Researchers gave BD584 to mice using a nasal spray, and then exposed them to chlamydia. The results were very promising. The mice who received the spray cleared the infection faster than the mice who did not. Moreover, the mice given the nasal spray were less likely to show symptoms of infection, such as bacterial shedding from the vagina or fluid blockages of the fallopian tubes.

There are many steps to go before this vaccine could become available. The researchers need to test it on other strains of the bacteria and in other animals before testing it in humans. And, of course, experience with the HPV vaccine shows that there’s work to be done to make sure people get vaccines that prevent STIs even after they’re invented. Nonetheless, a vaccine to prevent chlamydia would be a great victory in our ongoing fight against STIs and their health consequences, and we here at This Week in Sex are happy to end on a bit of a positive note.