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It was the tests that ran out. 

They knew they’d never be able to stop the trade of abortifacients. The tests were a different matter. They owned the companies that made the tests. 

No test, no scrip. No scrip, no pill.

We need to talk about the rabbits

So here’s what’s going to happen. We need to find you a pregnancy test and a doctor who is willing to prescribe an abortifacient. They must first confirm pregnancy, the sooner the better. That’s the rules. 

Besides, you don’t want to be taking these treatments unless you’re sure. The cramping (I’m told) is terrible. 

The old woman who lives in the cottage by the brothel still has a license to run a “health services and counseling” clinic. Technically that’s what the brothel is, on paper. She can do the test and administer the pills. 

Unfortunately, no one has been able to get commercial tests in a while. There’s no market. I guess most people figure if you can’t get an abortion anyway you’re either pregnant or you’re not. 

But there is a way

Now, here is where you might get squeamish. We have to go to the young lady who keeps rabbits and buy one from her. Then we have to take it to the old lady. 

There’s no way to put this part delicately. She’s going to inject it with some of your pee. In a couple days, she’s going to cut it open, inspect its ovaries, and be able to tell if you’re pregnant with about 98% accuracy. 

If you are, you get the pills. It’s up to you whether or not you take them. 

The rabbits are bred for this

If they want to know. If they need to be sure. If they don’t have time to wait and see.

This happens all the time. It’s not just the girls at the brothel. More women in town have ‘brought the old woman a gift’ than you’d imagine from the propaganda. 

If they want to know. 

If they need to be sure. 

If they don’t have time to wait and see. 

What were they going to do? Make it illegal to buy an old woman a rabbit? Even if they did, the cops don’t mind. The cops are some of the brothel’s best customers. 

It’s sort of like how you always used to see cobblers and locksmiths right next to each other. Where you find one you find another. 

Anyway, it turns out when you have a limited but steady supply of abortifacients with no access to adequate testing than someone who thinks they might be pregnant … may have need of a bunny. 

Of course, your priest probably told you that’s an animal sacrifice, but it’s just plain science. The technique was developed in 1931 during the depression.

It was a very popular and well-known procedure as late as the ’70s. Once companies had a profit motive to invent a test the need for bunnies fell away. 

But the ones who remembered, they knew. They’d always known that one day they might need the rabbits again. 

Some say they hid clues everywhere: M*A*S*H, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Easter, Playboy, 14th-century manuscripts.

A few people even say the witches in MacBeth. The maiden seeking services. The mother with her rabbit hutch. The crone who reads the entrails. 

“These are the old-fashioned ways,” they say. 

There’s no proof of the procedure before 1931, but prior to the mid-21st century, not much of anything involving sex workers got written down. So who knows? But that’s what people say. 

It makes a good story though

Now, have you got any money? How much? Ok, that’s not enough but don’t worry. Here, take this and we’ll figure it out later. You can do my laundry and dishes while you wait the two days for the test results and this is a small advance. You can use my spare room. 

Why? … well ma’am, I have a daughter out there somewhere. And I hope if she finds herself in your situation that there will be someone like me around.

Ok, in you go. 

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FOR INFERNAL USE ONLY Jack Matirko was raised in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, but it didn't take. His projects include The Left Hemispheres Podcast, The Naked Diner Podcast, and An Ongoing and...