The lines of young men wrap around the block. There’s little conversation. Some are staring at their phones. They look a bit stunned, like this can’t be happening.
Yet here they are, waiting for their turn to be seen by a doctor at Planned Parenthood. They’re here because the government has mandated vasectomies. The window they have to get them is only a few months. The law is clear – if they impregnate a woman, the penalty is minimum five years in prison.
Off to the side, behind a rope, is a less sedate group of men. They’re chanting “Our bodies, our choice” and carrying signs that read like this:
“I shouldn’t have to get married to have sex.”
“Where in the Bible does it say I have to be emasculated?”
“Let the women have abortions.”
“What if I promise to wear a condom?”
“I voted to #MAGA – not have my rights taken away!”
Ah, yes. We’ve entered my dystopian fantasy. Fuck the red robes and white bonnets. My overhead shot would show lines of guys in jeans and t-shirts awaiting their snip-snip procedure. A few incisions later and voila. The abortion rate is on its way down, down, down.
According to the Planned Parenthood website – the real one, not my dystopian version – in 2014 it served more than 250,000 male patients nationwide. Between 2004 and 2014, there was a 76 percent increase in male patients. Here’s how it breaks down: 23 percent of the services provided for men are HIV tests, 30 percent are gonorrhea tests, and 30 percent are chlamydia tests.
Since a vasectomy won’t stop any of those from happening, it looks like my fantasy is going to require we (at least) double the amount of Planned Parenthood clinics around the country. The guys are going to be pretty busy with vasectomies and getting tested. How will the women get in for a pap smear?
Meanwhile, over in Congress, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leads a bunch of her colleagues in addressing climate change, economic inequality, skyrocketing drug prices, and escalating gun violence, a bunch of her male counterparts are scrambling to figure out how to eliminate the vasectomy mandate. They are consumed by it, determined to get the rights back for millions of American men who want autonomy over their bodies.
All of this came about because one day Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asked herself a question — What would the funding for Planned Parenthood look like if we mandated vasectomies? I do believe the coffers would be overflowing. Such abundance!
That, of course, intersected perfectly with the election of President Elizabeth Warren, whose health policies directed at helping women of color as well as her pure anger at the threats posed to women’s reproductive choices in 2019 and subsequent four-pronged plan, rallied all the frothing, fed up, no-nonsense women (and the many men who love them) to prevail.
President Warren’s plan? “… [E]nshrine the rights established in the Supreme Court’s Roe vs Wade ruling in federal law, prohibit states from taking measures to undermine these rights, require all medical insurers to include reproductive health in their plans, and take a suite of actions under the banner of ‘ensuring equal access and reproductive justice,’ from limiting harassment by abortion-clinic picketers to undoing the gag laws and other rules enacted by the Trump administration.”
You know the plan part is real, right? Non-fiction. Senator Warren is running for President and she is not playing around.
The Planned Parenthood line is beginning to dwindle as the clinic reaches closing time. Women are sitting in cars, waiting to pick up their boyfriends, brothers, friends and sons after their procedures.
One woman, out of her car and leaning on it, strikes up a conversation with the woman in the next vehicle.
“Are you waiting for your boyfriend?”
“Do you know how long before they can have sex after this?”
They both laugh.
“Not long, I hope.”
“You got that right.”
“Can you believe this actually happened?”
“No, it’s still surreal. It was like one minute they were taking away all our choices and the next they were running for their lives.”
“Yeah. Crazy. We got so mad.”
“You know what they say about women scorned.”
[Listen to the audio version.]