‘Choose’ Your Own Adventure #35,173: Young Woman in America

by Gwen Summers

1. Welcome! In this adventure, you are lucky to be a 25-year-old heterosexual woman in America. Home of the free and the land of the brave. I mean, what a great place to be a woman! And you’re heterosexual, so you may have already won. Pretty much, you will always win in this book if you make good life choices!   

You excitedly pursue the American Dream, in this land of milk and honey. You date men, perhaps you even marry one. Then you miss your period. You go to CVS and buy a 12 pack of pregnancy tests, and you get a +. You jump up and down. If the jumping is because:   

  • You are so excited to be pregnant, then go to page 9.   
  • You are worried and scared about being pregnant, go to page 2.  

2. You find yourself worried and scared about being pregnant. Read carefully because this is the most difficult decision you’ll ever make in your life. Why are you worried and scared? If it is:  

  • Because it is the married Senator who got you pregnant, then go to 7.   
  • Because you can’t have a baby for so many reasons, then (you inconsiderate woman), go to 3.    
  • Because this pregnancy is because you were raped, then go to page 4.   

3. Here you are at a crossroads of life. You have some difficult thinking to do about having an abortion. Take a deep breath and:  

  • If you are rich and white, go to 5 or 7 or just really anywhere you want.   
  • If you are either not rich or not white, or unluckily neither, go to 6.  

4. Just a word of advice for your future adventures: stop wearing short skirts. Pay attention to what men sneak into your drinks at the bar. In America, these things, among many others, mean that we think that your trauma was your fault. What did you do after the rape?    

  • If you went to the Rape Crisis center right afterwards to do your duty as a citizen—if people believed you were raped, go to 7.   
  • If you were afraid that people wouldn’t believe you about the rape, or if you tried to push it out of your mind, go to 6.   

5. Congrats on being rich and white in America! Excellent choices. But you have an ultrasound and there is very bad news. You find that the baby has a malformation. You reflect on what is a very difficult decision, but at least you are lucky to be able to make this decision, probably because you are rich and white.   

  • If you make the difficult decision to have an abortion, go to 7.    
  • If you decide, after weighing everything, that you want to continue the pregnancy, then go to 10, and there may even be a surprise there waiting for you!  

6. Save the child. You are going to have that baby, and that baby will be lucky to be a citizen of America, the best country in the world! We love children in America! At least until they are born. After you have the baby, go back to page 1 and try again to make better choices.   

7. Congratulations! You are granted an abortion. But please do it quietly. We don’t need this getting out, so it is hidden here in middle of the book. Then go back to 1 and start again. Try harder this time to make the right life choices. Also, you should feel guilty for the rest of this adventure/ your life.  

8. There was no way to get to page 8 by following the prompts. You cheated. You snuck into this Choose Your Own Adventure, just like you snuck into the USA. You don’t get to choose your adventure—instead you will wake up one morning confused with pain and a scar on your belly, and missing your uterus. No abortion even needed!   

9. You are almost there! This is so exciting! You have an ultrasound and learn the sex of the baby. Adventurer, you will need to flip a coin—heads it is a boy, tails a girl. You feel:  

  • Relieved that the baby will be a boy and entering into a life of privilege here.  
  • Worried because the baby will be a girl. What America are you bringing her into—one with recent erosions of women’s reproductive rights and worries of more destruction because of Justice Ginsberg’s recent death?   

Either way, you got this far. Why don’t you just go to page 10? You might like what you find!  

10. Congratulations!! Everything will be perfect with your pregnancy. Your baby Boy will be happy and healthy (no matter what the ultrasound said). This is our America and we use magical thinking for problem solving! You Win!!  

Gwen Summers is the pen name of a physician. She wishes she could tell you who she is, because she’s a brilliant doctor (at least her friends say so!)  

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