I was escorted by Nurse into the
whitest room I'd ever seen. The walls were white. The floor was
white. Every piece of furniture, every machine, every plug, every
cord and instrument was white. Nurse was dressed entirely in white,
including the latex gloves needed for the examination before the
procedure. I was the only color in the room. Even that faint blush was eliminated after stripping naked and shrugging into the thin, paper surgical gown.
“Lie face down on the examination
table with your gown open in the front, please.” Nurse was very
polite and as sterile as the room.
It was terrifying. I felt an animal
fear of consequences. I felt a blood-red, dirty, clawing feeling with that now familiar
claustrophobia endemic to modern American life. Nothing was private.
No one was hidden. Every animalistic, error-prone, human action was
exposed and trapped in the whiteness of security. I must be
examined and made safe and productive for America. This is the overriding narrative
in every news media event, every informed opinion, every conversation
in every household. I felt panic.
“Mr. Lemning, your chart shows that
you received treatment here five years ago for a venereal disease.
Why did you take so long to come in for this examination? It's been
two years since Louisiana law was passed requiring all state
residents to undergo today's procedure. The deadline has passed and
if we are unable to administer the procedure on you today, you may
have violated this law. It will then be our duty as medical
providers to inform the state police and you might be jailed without
trial. I say this now so that if you have been examined somewhere
else since the VD laws were passed you can tell me and I'll verify
that the procedure has been done already. You will then be free to
go.” Nurse waited the appropriate thirty seconds for my response.
Hearing nothing from me, I was told to
position myself on the table so that my penis hung down through a
hole on the table. Beneath the opening was equipment that fit inside
the hole and quickly scanned my shriveled flesh right up to my belly.
While the scan was taking place, I felt a heavy, cold instrument
penetrate my ass. Nurse explained that the law required that men have
their anus and penis scanned for impotence, disease or unusual
inflammation. Both scans took slightly longer than Nurse's
explanation and were surprisingly humiliating. I felt violated. The
last secret place was probed, scanned, penetrated. My final secrets
were now recorded on my medical records, all of which were made
public when the new VD laws were passed.
“Please remain as you are on the
table until Doctor comes. It shouldn't be more than a few minutes
before we have the scan results and can verify them with the state
database.” I saw the Nurse push buttons, remove and reposition the
scanners, strip off scan membranes and the latex gloves all of which were
thrown into a white trash bin. Then I felt the slight weight of a
sheet or paper across my buttocks.
“What is going to happen,” I
wondered out loud.
Three years ago, the nation was rocked
by a series of scandals involving people who had sterilization
procedures so they could not have children. Over a hundred men and
thirty-six women were arrested in Louisiana for choosing to be
sterilized and violating anti-abortion laws. Within a year, my state became one of five
states able to arrest and jail “non producers.” The governor had
proposed that laws should be passed to protect the unborn citizens of
America by making sure men and women were able to reproduce. The
state legislature approved the bill and set up the Division of
Reproductive Health with clinics all over the state. A blue state
liberal blogger spread the lie that Louisiana has more DRH clinics
for the unborn than it has clinics for living children. Even though
liberals are deluded liars, I will look this up. Probably shouldn't
use the censored state internet. I think the Starbucks wifi network may still be uncensored but it's not free anymore.
“Where's the damned Doctor?” I'm
cold, uncomfortable on this table and becoming claustrophobic from
all of this whiteness.
I close my eyes and allow the redness
within my eyelids to warm me. I block out the whiteness and cold and
even think about dozing, but there's that scratchy feeling at the
back of my brain that keeps me alert. I'm in danger. There is no
doubt that delaying this exam was a mistake. There is no doubt that
I should have moved out of state with my girlfriend two years ago
when the laws went into effect.
She had her tubes tied after having
her third kid. Her boy child. She was married at the time. Married
to a lawyer who worked for ShoppersChoice in Baton Rouge. The whole
thing lasted only five years. She said all he wanted was a baby
machine so when she tied her tubes, she didn't tell him and that was
the end of the marriage. A couple more years of nasty legal battles
over child custody, good parent/bad parent, property division and she
winds up with her two daughters and he takes the boy child.
I met him once. The whole family was
at his father's funeral which was very, very Southern Baptist. She
and her daughters were treated like cancer, in my opinion. I didn't
expect any kind of treatment and wasn't disappointed. Her little boy barely knew her which broke her
heart and made her daughters cry. Shortly after that horror show,
Louisiana passed the centerpiece of its anti-abortion program, the
Reproductive Health Guarantee bill. Within weeks, she fled the state
with her daughters violating the divorce agreement and the RHG laws.
I didn't go with her and now I have no
idea where she is but the DRH doesn't believe me. Her husband filed
for custody of her daughters last year because she is a law breaker
but she cannot be found. So lawyers, police, you name it, have
tapped my phone, followed me, sent letters, harassed me for
information about her. She was just my girlfriend. We broke up. I
don't know where she is. Now, the state is trying to pass “truth
serum” interrogation laws. No doubt Louisiana will be the first
in the nation to try it out and I know my name is at the top of their
“Sir? Please get dressed and come
with me,” says a stocky man in a white coat.
“Are you the Doctor?” I ask.
“One of them, yes. Please get
dressed and we'll discuss your treatment options in my office,
please.” He's out the door before I can ask why or where. I'm
just relieved that I can get off this table and get dressed. I feel
the scratch again as I lever myself off the table and find my
clothes. Soon I'm dressed and something tells me to check the hall
before I barge out. There is a security guard looking bored at the
end of the hall. He's listening to Nurse and glances toward my door.
I step into the hall and head toward the waiting room.
“Sir! Sir? Please. Come this way.
The Doctor is waiting. This is his office, sir.” The security
officer is smiling, his hands are in the air not near his holster.
He waves me toward him. I remember that there is an exit to the
alley before the waiting room and I sprint toward that door. It has
an alarm, but I don't hear it as I run to my car. I tell myself that
if the Doctor really was just going to discuss treatment options, no
one should follow. My eyes tell me the security guard is in the
alley and I will get to my unlocked car in time to drive away.
This is the last straw. My job, my
home, my family, my friends none of these things are more important
to me than living free. I can't live in a place that owns my sperm.
This thought jars me out of my panic and I realize that any entity
that takes away your ability to choose whether you reproduce or not
owns you body and soul. Someday I'll figure out why conservatives
promote these laws. Today, I'm heading for California.