Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve tried, for the most part, to stay relatively collected. I don’t like filling the pages with emotional outbursts; valid as I feel they are, they don’t feel productive.
I am angry now. I am angry that, no matter what arguments I make concerning a person’s right to their body, to their reproductive future, I am not heard. And I am angry that the writing distant from my emotions is not heard.
I am angry that the most reblogged posts I’ve written to date are a somewhat gimmicky poem and graphic descriptions of illegal abortions. I am angry that sensationalism seems to be the only way to reach the majority of people out there.
But to sway people to your side, you must use extremes, because they are the only way to make people think about the mundane, the everyday. To make people see reality, you have to shove it in their face, shake it around, and refuse to let go.
[I also don’t generally use trigger warnings, but I am warning you now that there are possible triggers in here regarding domestic violence and a graphic picture]
Gerri Santoro, born in 1935, was a 29-year-old mother of two, who grew up with 14 siblings on a farm in Connecticut. She married Sam Santoro at the age of 18 and gave birth to two daughters; the three of them spent the next 10 years enduring Sam’s verbal and physical abuse.
…I saw him abusing my nieces when they were just young children, four and five years old, and I mean giving them severe whippings, spanking. They were spankings, they were with a belt. Take his belt off and just whale the hell out of their fannies. You know, you say to yourself, jeez, what’s going on here and then you start putting two and two together and then you go back and you recollect the bruises on her face and on her arms and so forth and on her legs and you say to yourself, you say well jeez, these are not coincidences. There’s something wrong there.
Gerri took her daughters and left Sam in 1963, returning to her childhood home. She began going to school, where she met another man, Clyde Dixon. The two of them began a relationship, and soon, Gerri was pregnant.
Gerri was more than six months along when her estranged husband contacted her again. He was coming to her home to see his daughters, and to try and reconcile with her. Gerri panicked, fearing for her life and her daughters.
[A]ugust, that’s when Sam was coming in. No wonder she had to have the abortion cause of Sam coming, that’s about when the baby was due. She knew better. She knew it would kill you, she knew. But she was desperate. Sam would have taken the girls. I mean, back in those days, she would have never saw them again. But that’s how desperate she was. Because Sam was coming back in August.
Gerri and Clyde checked into a motel on June 8, 1964. Clyde had borrowed a medical textbook and instruments from a work colleague.
Clyde was not a doctor. Gerri began to hemorrhage. Clyde fled, leaving her to bleed to death, alone in the motel room.
I would feel better to think it was sudden and that she didn’t have to lay there and be alone. But I don’t believe that’s what happened.
I believe she had some time to think. Because the way the rags were in her hands, you know what I mean, this was a woman who wasn’t just sitting about and suddenly collapsed.
This was a woman who was in the throes of dying and was doing what she could to stop bleeding and stop, you know. From that picture, that’s what it looks like.
Ms. Magazine published the photo of Gerri in 1973.
This woman was the victim of a criminal abortion. Her body was photographed exactly as it was found by police in a blood and barren motel room. This individual woman has come to represent the thousands of women who have been maimed or murdered by a society that denied them safe and legal abortions.
Joannie Santoro-Griffin, Gerri’s daughter, had this to say:
Now, it’s still every bit as tragic of a picture and it’s still pretty rotten that my mom has to be exposed to the public eye that way but, that’s for her sake. ’ Cause I would want people to still remember her as beautiful. I wouldn’t want anybody to have an ugly image of her. And you look at some woman lying there dead and those who are against abortion think of her as some scum and she was not. She was a beautiful, beautiful woman and that can happen to anyone.
THIS is what Bubba Carpenter and his ilk are proud of.