Twenty five Monologues for Women
(free for students & auditions)

From the Play
"Under Siege"
(a.k.a. CHOICES)

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 1990, 1995 Geralyn Horton

The setting is an abortion clinic. Most of the monlogues can be done "nontraditionally", by a wide range of ethnicities. (Half the original cast was African-American). Most monologues are by PATIENTS, who are going through the mandated counseling session prior to undergoing their scheduled abortions. Some of the monologues are by COUNSELORS, who are the play's central characters. EMILY, the newest counselor, is a college girl, insecure and overwhelmed during her first days on the job. ALLISON is Emily's mentor and role model. JILL is a bulemic young working class woman from a dysfunctional family who has lasted longer in this stress filled job than anyone would have predicted. MARTHA is a grandmother and churchwoman who has been a counselor for many years. SHERRIE is older, too: the group's cheerleader and storyteller. SALLY is the head counselor/clinic administrator.

The PATIENTS are JUDY: a twelve year old kid. MARY: a teen who is pressured by her mother to get an abortion, but really wants to keep her baby. SIS: young teen incest victim, out of control and hostile. TINA: older teen, a date rape victim, she is the daughter of recent immigrants. MARIA: a young woman with four children who is battered by her macho husband. RUTH: 20-30; was raped by her friend's husband. GALE: 20's- 30's; has a demanding career. GRETEL: 20-30, concerned about that her partner's feelings. CAROLYN: 30's, shy, a bookkeeper having a second abortion. ANDREA: 20-40; an addict who has turned her life around to have a baby-- but she has tested positive for AIDS. SUE: 30-50, a fiesty recovering alcoholic whose husband is an "alkie" too. JAN: a 44 year old professional woman who is upset by her unintended pregnancy and resentful of the mandatory counseling and of the young conselors who have the cheek to pry into her private feelings.


JUDY: a perky pregnant twelve year old.
Every time I had sex I took one of my Mom's pills, so I don't understand how I got pregnant. It shouldn't happen. I haven't even got my periods, yet. My brother was sure-- a girl can't get pregnant until she has the curse. So we figured it was OK, no harm done to fool around. Wrong! When my Mom first caught us, she made all sorts of noise. Rants and raves and threats and stuff. Then she kind of calmed down and laughed it off. But then when I started throwing up she made me get a pregnancy test. But a test can be a mistake, can't it? I mean, they're not 100 percent perfect. I'm too young to get pregnant. I'm just a kid. I don't even have anything up top!

MARY: a teen who is pressured by her mother to get an abortion.
It's killing. I know that. But I have to. There's nowhere for us to go. So how would we live? Go on welfare? That's what my girlfriend says. But she doesn't know any better. She's seventeen and she lives in a project with her baby, with her mother and sister. They stay in their creepy little place all the time, afraid to go out. And Doreen says if I want to keep it I can live there with her! I mean, I appreciate that, she's a real friend. But I've always said, thank God my family's not like that. We've got morals, we've got pride. So I can't do this to them, especially my Dad. I'll have a baby when I've got a house, with a big back yard for him to play in, when I marry a Daddy he can be proud of. So we couldn't afford to start a family, even if we did decide to get married. I've thought this over very carefully. I've come to the right decision. You can't believe how hard it was to walk in to this place. Even this morning, when I got here, I had to walk twice around the block. Protesters can be intimidating. I know they scare me. You can't help! I'm sorry. I don't mean it's your fault. Nobody can help. It's what I have to do, you understand? But it's hard. (cradles her stomach) Because it's my baby.

SIS: an out of control and hostile young teen.
Rights? Shit! Listen, I don't care who you are. I hate counselors! Just say what you're gonna say and get it the fuck over! ..... What Insight! A "bad experience". Hundreds. My whole life..... Shit, no. No problem. "Drugs", she says. "Tell me about the drugs." All excited. Maybe you're the one's got the problem. Tell you about it? Oh, sure, you'd like that. Wouldn't you, bitch? I should spill my guts out so you turn around and tell it to the DSS! Get me thrown out of the house while my Dad's free as a breeze! What do you mean, about my Dad? That's none of your fucking business. Just shut up! Leave me alone! I don't need any of this crap. I've been through this before, it's like rape: the first time's hard; the second time you know what's coming, you can stand it. What are you looking at, bitch?! Fuck off, you hear me? Get out of my face, or I'll- !

TINA: teen-20's. Daughter of recent immigrants. Date rape victim.
Oh, God. I tried. No one will believe me. I never meant this--. I was going to stay a virgin. I told him no, but he kept on. He tore my dress, he hurt me. That was the only time. I was frightened, so I let him. But I should have fought. It'll never happen again, believe me. No! I can't do that! You could call it rape. But I can't go to the police, like he's a criminal. It was my fault too. I went out with him, I was in his car. I let him think I was that kind of girl. Yes, I said no! I cried, I begged him. But by then he wouldn't listen. I'd thought, just a kiss or two, what does it matter? Give him that, he'll be satisfied. But I should have stopped him. Kicked him, jumped out-- I was a fool! But I can't accuse him. He's family! No, not incest! He's my cousin's cousin. That's who introduced us. My cousin said he was lonely, and depressed because they could send him back if he doesn't find a wife who's a citizen. So I should have been more careful, to save myself for marriage. Marry with him? I would never marry him! I hate him! He says if I tell, if my parents find out, they will force me. To be his wife. But before I would do that I would kill myself. Or him! I would kill him!

MARIA: 20's-30's, a battered wife.
If I started to show, and he found out, my husband would use it in court to take the children. He doesn't want children, all he does is yell and hit us. But I guess he wants to make us suffer because he can't always be the king of everything any more, so he's fighting me for the custody. I feel terrible, to have an abortion, to kill my innocent baby. But it's life against life. If my husband found out he would kill all of us! He would find my boyfriend and smash him to pieces! He is a monster. You see this? He did this to me. And others, many others. That's why I have to divorce him. My family says, he's your husband, a husband is for life. If he beats you, you must change and do what he says, so he will be good to you. But I say, this husband is for death, and I am going to get away from him and be happy.

MARIA: 20's-30's, a battered wife.
No, my family mustn't know! They might tell him! I can't even tell my sister. She would want to help me, she would try, but she has a big mouth and I can't be sure it won't get back to him. My boyfriend. He will help me. I won't have to tell him why, he will help. Whatever I do. This is a wonderful man whose baby I'm carrying, a gentle man. He treats me like a queen. (begins to cry) I'm sorry. I want to have this baby. I didn't mean to cry, I thought my crying was all over. I'm so sorry. It makes me feel so bad. I thought I was going to be all right. I thought I'd finally gotten away from him, and here one more time he's running my life. Like a wicked king. Ruining my life.

RUTH: 20's, raped by her best friend's husband.
The three of us were watching T.V. when my girlfriend decided to go out and get us a pizza. While she was gone, her husband raped me. I couldn't believe it was happening, it was so fast. Before this he'd never even made a pass. When he got off me, I ran and locked myself in the bathroom. I was sick in the toilet, twice, and then I took a shower. When I heard my girlfriend come home, I came out, and there they were, the two of them, eating pizza. He was eating and talking and laughing and acting friendly, like it was nothing. I told Linette I was sick and I was going home. And I haven't been over there since. We used to get together all the time. So now my girlfriend's beginning to wonder. She asks me, "Ruth, is anything wrong?" But I can't tell her. She thinks they're happy! She thinks he loves her.

GALE: in her 30's with a demanding career and an unsatisfactory boyfriend.
Philip is just totally dependent on me. Emotionally. Financially. I realize he's not the sort of person to be serious about-- I never should have gotten involved with him. I've been trying to ease him out; get him to leave, but without having scenes and crises. So I've been very very careful. My rule is, no sex unless we use both condoms and foam, too. Double secure. Because I was afraid that if we had an accident, Philip would insist we get married. Even call up my parents and announce they're having a grandchild! I wouldn't put it past him. A while back I went out with a girlfriend, crying in our beers-- about the men in our lives who haven't the grace to get out-- and when I got home I fell right asleep in my slip. Next morning I notice my panties are off, and I'm sticky. Well, I'm suspicious: so as soon as the minimum time goes by I do a pregnancy test. Sure enough, the bastard got me! Of course I'm not going to tell him. No guilt trips, repercussions. I'm just going to keep pushing Philip towards the door until I'm free.

GRETEL: 20-30; concerned about her partner's feelings.
My lover and I wanted to be adults about this, so that no matter what happens, we won't hate each other. We'll stay friends. We talked a lot about our feelings. Well, mostly my feelings. I'm at a crucial point in my career, not ready for marriage, all that. I don't have health insurance, so he offered right away to pay for the abortion. Or even --and this surprised me-- even to pay child support if I decided to go ahead and have it on my own. If I'd thought about that, I suppose that would have given me a clue that he may have some scruples, or reservations, about what when we were talking came out as more like simply a medical procedure. But our whole attitude seemed to be that I have this serious problem and his duty is to go along with whatever I feel I have to do, and support me. Which he is doing. He's downstairs waiting, he's with me. But I just realized, talking with you, that he may have been hiding feelings of his own, you know? Like it's part of him, too, and there's a certain pain. But he won't be able to talk to anybody, like I'm talking to you now because it's part of the official paperwork thing. He won't won't be able to get it off his chest. Because we decided to promise each other, and he was really adamant about this, that we wouldn't tell anyone we know. Especially not family. In case we should ever split up.

CAROLYN: 30's, shy, a bookkeeper.
I'm really embarrassed, because this is my second abortion. I'm superfertile, I guess. I have six brothers and sisters, and my mother was one of eight. My son Allen was born nine months after our wedding. I was still nursing when I got pregnant the second time, run down and catching every germ--. So I thought it best. Two years later I was all right, I was ready. We had Christopher, and then I got an IUD. But when I got an infection and had to have it taken out, with the diaphragm I was pregnant in a month! We went ahead and had Jennifer. But two was all I'd wanted. My own mother-- I suppose she loved me. But she was too tired or too busy to see that I never felt loved. It's hard, sometimes. I hope I've done right with Jennifer. The poor little thing was born with a bad hip joint, and she was so pitiful with the surgery. And the bills-! Bob's so good, he never complains. "Don't worry", he says. But I know he worries. Not just money -- time. I come home from work so tired, now. And I look at Jennifer and I remember what it feels like to be a little girl who thinks she's a burden. I can't put a new baby on top of that, love and care for four of them. I just haven't the strength.

ANDREA: 20-40, an addict who has turned her life around to have a baby.
For like four or five years my husband was like real fucked up. A few times I got into it too. Shooting up to keep him company, prove I love him, shit like that. I know where shit like that gets you. I've seen what it does. So I smartened up and stayed clean, and I kept on Ron's ass until he got off of the stuff too. He started working a good job, got into counseling, our marriage was working out, you know what I mean? I was so crazy happy I decided we should have a baby! Two weeks ago we found out Ron has AIDS. Just like that. Maybe a goddam death sentence. The doctor says there's no way to tell. I might have to watch over my baby for ten years, not knowing if he was going to have it too. Is that fucked, or what? I sure don't call that fair: hitting us like a sick joke, after we go and get our lives together. Anyways, I can't take that. Looking at my little kid day by day. wondering whether he's gonna take sick and die on me! Ron's mother says, "Don't have the abortion, take a chance: maybe there'll be something of Ron left alive that way." But that's not the way I see it.

SUE: 30-50, a fiesty ex-alkie.
I'm an alkie. My husband's an alkie, too: but it took him twenty years to admit it. Now he has, he's been dry since Oct 31. Yeah. That's great, that he's dry. Except he hasn't been able to get it up from Oct. 31st. Which is a real downer, you know? So, yeah. I tried everything to get it up for him, but nothing worked until: First day of spring we're watching 60 Minutes and guess what? After about twenty minutes we had to stop watching 60 Minutes! First day of spring, first time, he gets it to spring up! So then for about ten minutes we're doing it. Ordinarily we'd use something, but it's been so long, and the program's still on, so I kind of forget. And then I felt him coming and I yell, "pull out, pull out !" But it's too late, so here I am. I am so pissed! Still, I forgive him. I forgive him because if I'd been the one couldn't get it up for that long, I wouldn't have pulled out either.

JAN: late 30's-50's, a mature professional who is upset and resentful.
Why don't we assume that your job is done with, and get on to the next stage? Would you please give me the consent form? I want to get this over with! I have a full schedule--. Do you mean to tell me you won't? JAN (gets up) I find your questions impertinent! I am a mature, responsible adult, and I've made my decision. That's all you need to know. Just stop it! Be quiet! How dare you? Patronize me, call me "Jan" in that smarmy... To you I should be Dr. Jackson! As in Ph.D. In microbiology. I am forty-four years old, and I have been knowledgeable about reproduction and in charge of my own life since I was sixteen. I do not believe that there is any law that requires me to justify my decision about my body and my private life to a college girl young enough to be my daughter.

JAN: late 30's-50's, mature professional.
I'm drying up, shutting down. I'm going to be old, old and lonely. Then after that, I'll be dead. Nobody to remember me-. Oh, I've got dozens of friends. They call me up and cry on my shoulder, because their kids are on dope, or flunking out, or marrying the wrong guy,-- and I sympathize. But when I'm gone? Maybe they'll think about me once a year: one less card on their birth-days. In ten years I won't even be a name. If I'd had that first one, I might be a grandmother now. But without my work-- No, I would have had to give it up for adoption. But even so, even so, there'd be a piece of me somewhere, my genes. But that's crazy. Almost as bad as having this one! Bring a child into this world whose gray haired old mother would have to be wheeled out of the nursing home to see her graduate from college? -- which I would not see, because I'd lose my research grant and I'd never be able to afford to send her! But if I'd gone ahead back then, had the baby, maybe we'd have got by. Somehow. Maybe she'd have gone into computers. Or sales. Been a real con artist, like her dad.


EMILY: 20's; a college girl getting on the job training.
When they scream "murderer" at me, I feel the panic rise in my throat. I want to run, I want to yell, "not me! I'm a moral person. I'm trying to help!" Those people have a right, I guess. It's what they believe. So I've got to face it, and be strong-- . POC's, "products of conception", that's what we're supposed say. "tissue" "termination" But when that machine starts, it's not just "tissue" that's sucked out. It's life: potentially human life. And like the Buddhists, I believe in "reverence for life". That's why I'm a vegetarian. But I also believe that conception should be a blessing. My brother's wife: when she's pregnant she sings lullabies, she organizes everything she eats and drinks-- she makes herself a perfect vessel. But you can't order a woman to do that! Not by bullying! What makes those people out there think a person can be frightened into goodness? Oh, give it up for adoption, they say! How can a mother do that? Carry a baby under her heart for nine long months and then give it away? Once it grows and moves it's a part of you. Loved, the way you love your own knees, or your breasts. And does your responsibility end, if you hand it over? What about Lisa Steinberg's mother? Does she sleep nights, now? She thought her daughter was going to be given every advantage, not tortured to death. Even a good adoption-- suppose you're a concert violinist, and your baby goes to a family that's tone deaf, that thinks music is noise.... (sings to the tune of Mary Hamilton) "I put him in a tiny boat, and cast him fro the sea, That he might sink or he might swim, but ne're return to me."

EMILY: 20's; a college girl getting on the job training.
I had a patient last weekend who wanted us to pretend to give her an abortion. Yeah! Go though the thing, but not for real. This woman's husband, she's been married to him for five years and hasn't got pregnant. So he says it's her fault, he's threatening to throw her out and all--. So, while the husband's off visiting his new girlfriend, the wife takes a lover. And-- blam!- instant pregnancy. Now she's happy, she's going to have a baby. Except-- she tells her lover and he gets mad! He doesn't want babies! The men marched her down here to have an abortion. But she doesn't want to do that. She wants us to tell her husband that she's having the procedure. She goes in, she comes out, she cries a little. Then they'll go home, and next month she'll announce there's been a miracle!

EMILY: 20's; a college girl getting on the job training.
Buddhists believe that the transmigrating soul waits in the corridor of heaven, not entering the womb until quickening. Even then, it's only loosely attached to the flesh, not quite re-incarnated. My friend Walter had a hypnotist regress him to a past life and he experienced being an embryo inside a girl who had been raped. Sensing her resentment, her hatred. For her it felt like an invasion, or a rape that would never end. He tried to reach her mind, to comfort her. He begged her to send him back, to spare him this cruel turn on the wheel of rebirth. Let him come again, as a child of joy! In Japan they have shrines where women make offerings to the spirits of the aborted ones. They ask forgiveness and promise a better life at a more propitious time. I often wish that I had been raised a Buddhist, so I could believe like that, in reincarnation. But I don't. Once it's gone, it's gone.

JILL: 20-30; bulimic working class woman who is a skilled counselor.
Let me tell you about a real prize. My ex brother in law. My sister married this real psychotic. Knocked out her teeth, cracked three ribs, scalded her, broke her arm. Joanne'd call me at midnight, she'd run away, would I pick up the kids and take them over to mother's? Jesus. So, Joanne gets a divorce, she gets a court order, she gets a new apartment. But to get her child support the fucking court says she' s got to let old Larry see the kids, and so after a while she gets careless. Jesus Ke-rist! Larry's reformed, she says to me. Larry's sorry. He takes the kids to a ball game, and he brings back a pizza, he's talking real nice to her. Shit! I mean, I have not exactly run my own love life like Dr. Ruth, but--! Anyway, they all start watching television, one happy family, and what should be on but "The Burning Bed"! And my stupid sister- well, Old Larry makes some remarks, "bitch this" and "bitch that", but my stupid sister is so into this program! I mean, Joanne is looking at her life, why should she notice she's sitting next to a fucking time bomb? Until Farrah Fawcett lights a match on her creep of a husband. At which time Larry kicks in the TV set and starts beating the shit out of my sister. If the kids hadn't called the cops he might have killed her. The cops are all modern, they've had sensitivity: so they even arrest him. But he's out the next day--

JILL: 20-30; bulimic working class woman who is a skilled counselor.
You know I can't eat cheesecake. Come on, all of you. Gimme some help here. You'll all have some. A piece apiece. (cuts cake, licks fingers) I'm going to call my sister. (dials phone) Here, divide this out. (takes herself cake, begins eating) Mom? Let me talk to Joanne. She what?! Shit! (slams down phone, redials) Go ahead. Pass it the cake around. (Into phone) Joanne?!! What are you doing home? Get the hell out of there! (JILL eats away at the cake, compulsively, while she is listening and talking on the phone.) No, don't do that! If he said it, he means it. Stay where you are. I'll have to find you a shelter. (listens, eats) But that's what you are, Joanne. Face it! It's no disgrace to you that he's a psycho and you're a victim. Testosterone poisoning--! (listens, eats) You have no choice, Joanne. It's life and death. (to other cake-eating female counselors) What's the status at Susan B.? Shit! (into phone) I can't get you in anywhere tonight, I'll have to call around. So stay where you are. By tomorrow-- ( Jill is attacking the cake, eating with her hands, face smeared with goo.) Stop it! Listen to me. I'm the expert. I deal with abusers six days a week, and I'm telling you what it is you have to do. Now. Stay there, I'll be over as soon as I can get my coat. Fuck it. I'll be there. (hangs up, sees empty cake plate) Did I do that? Shit! Why didn't you stop me? Shit. Oh, shit. Jesus fucking Christ, what kind of women are you? God, oh --( JILL bends over the wastebasket and vomits.)

SALLY: 30-40, administrator who must mind the bottom line.
Jill, count ten. You can't fix the life of every woman who walks in here. It's not our job. Just birth control. When you discover rape trauma, give positive confirmation, give a referral to the rape crisis center, and then let go of it. We have a schedule. Sure, give sympathy. However much you've got to spare. But you have to be awfully arrogant to think that in forty minutes you can solve a patient's problems. Not just you: any of us. My God, look at our lives! Look at mine, and I've been a counselor for years. With three degrees! Now, I know you mean well, but you don't want some poor teenager to go home without her abortion, because you spent her time on another patient you felt was more needy. Count ten. Take a break.

ALLISON: 20's-30's, a woman "overqualified" for counseling work.
I've been asking myself that question. Why do I stay here, listening to women's stories about why they don't want a baby? Which usually comes down to the rotten men in their lives. What's in it for me? Certainly not the pay! Is it Paul? Some kind of penance for Paul? My ex and my --. You really want to hear this? I met Paul at school. He was charming and witty and going to turn his brilliant dissertation into a book--- but no hurry --his family was Old Money. When he proposed, my family was in heaven! An apartment in Paris, winters in Spain. Nights, we went to important parties where Paul told malicious witty stories about the important people who weren't there. Days, he pretended to write. Even without his book, he expected one of those important people to give him a job. But they didn't. All that -power - and nothing for him to do but be nasty. To me, when there was nobody else. Even then, I might have stayed married to him. Except I got pregnant. The grandparents had been hinting, and I'd thought it was what I wanted: a boy and a girl. But I suddenly realized: I didn't want his. I didn't want my babies to be his. My parents were appalled. It's been two and a half years, and we barely speak.

SHERRIE: 40's-60, fireball who had a pre-Roe v Wade abortion.
I had my abortion back in the bad old days, when it was against the law. On a table, in the back room of a pet shop-- yeah, a pet shop! At first I was terrified that the doctor was just a vet, but he swore to me that the vet was his brother. Anyway, I felt dirty, and it used to come back to me, just like those assholes screaming and carrying the signs say it does. Until the feminist movement came along, and I went to a speak-out. A dozen of us got up and told, including a nun!- and I haven't felt guilty since.

SHERRIE: 40's-60, fireball who had a pre-Roe v Wade abortion.
(phone call) Mark, I can't talk now, I'm at work. I know, hon, but we haven't got that kind of money. Your father'd never stand for it. If she's the right kind of girl, she'll understand..... Well, then, tell her to fuck off!.... I'm sorry. This just doesn't seem to me like it ought to be a crisis.... Ok, Ok, we'll come up with it somehow. But listen, Mark. You've got to promise me that-- (reacts to another counselor's entrance) Never mind now, Mucky, I've really got to go. We'll talk about it later. Love ducks. (hangs up) You got any idea how it feels to be the parent of a fat white grub? He only calls me when he wants something, and when I call him--Quarter to one he's still in bed! It's a good thing abortion's not retroactive.

SHERRIE: 40's-60, fireball who had a pre-Roe v Wade abortion.
I'm coming back from lunch and I see Emily's coming up the walk from the other way, she's been getting an ice cream or something, but the asshole protestors think she's an abortion patient! So they start, "Don't kill your baby!" I rush up to put my arm around her, and I'm nose to nose with Jackie Jerkit, his eyes popping with rage, and I'm inspired. I yell out, "Sir, This poor woman was raped by a drug fiend, and she has Anthropoporieasis-- if she has a child, she'll die. The baby will be an orphan--!" There's a young one, pushing a stroller, looks shocked and even kind of sympathetic-- I think: maybe she's going to offer to adopt it? But no. Her view was this is Em's chance to win spiritual brownie points on a short trip to heaven. Pain or guilt, the more martyrs the merrier. Stroller Mom's on the illegal side of the police line, and she's willing to be hauled off to jail-- a martyr for publicity. She'd be just as willing to shoot us and make us the martyrs. Anything, anything to close us down. And they're winning! State by state! Do you realize? In the whole state of South Dakota, there is one brave doctor left! In 83% of the country there's no access to abortion. Over 300 clinics they've burned down, and if you go by the threats, it's our turn any day now. Take a good look out the window. The Dark Ages are on the march. We like to think Jackie Jerkit's a harmless nut, but nose to nose he looks like a time bomb to me. All that hate's got to go somewhere. Any woman could be his target. Last week Jackie said to me, "I know which is your car. I can get to your car any time I like." Dumb me, I thought he meant to slash tires. Slash our throats is more like! Bitches and witches, that's what we are. Jackie'd burn us all. Including the ones marching with him, Sweetie. Look at his eyes.

MARTHA: late 30's - 60, a churchwoman and grandmother.
It's hard. Especially at first. I almost quit, the first week I started. Oh, I was real happy to get the job: all I'd had was three semesters college and here I was a professional! But my own sister told me I should give it up, said it's not right. Told the pastor I was a disgrace to the congregation. Now all this time I was a widow trying to support four kids, trying to keep my pride and stay off welfare. Where were these good Christian people then? About all the help I got was a chicken casserole. Well, it's a lot easier to blame people than to change them, wouldn't you say? I have two dreams I keep having. One I'm pregnant, and I don't want to be. I don't know what's happened to the rest of my family, but in the dream, I'm alone, and afraid. The other dream, I have a new little baby in my arms, my baby, just born, and I am so happy. So happy. I don't know why I still have either of these dreams. I've had my tubes tied.


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