First, the game instructs you to choose one out of five female characters. Two of the characters look caucasian and then one is black, and the other two are what I would consider miscellaneous (but could also be caucasian). The game directly says at the beginning that it’s an interactive fiction game and it’s meant to address “reproductive healthcare access in the state of Texas.” This makes me immediately think that the game is going to show how difficult it is for women to get reproductive healthcare because Texas is extremely conservative and it is known for making it rather difficult for women to have access to reproductive healthcare. I think the fact that it says that the game works as you “attempt to navigate” the state’s healthcare system is very telling of Texas’s nature because that makes it seem like it’s going to be really difficult since you are only “attempting” to navigate rather than successfully navigating. I also like that it clearly says that it’s based on “extensive research” and all kinds of demographics and analytical data that is an honest representation of the problem regarding access to reproductive healthcare in the state of Texas. This makes the game far more credible than just spewing out random, unwarranted and inaccurate statistics.
I chose to start as Latrice because she was first. Knowing that the game based its choices and scenarios off of extensive research, I felt immediately that their choice to include a black woman as well as other white woman was to show that access would be different depending on the color of the woman’s skin. Therefore, I inherently expected it to be more difficult for Latrice to get access to healthcare as opposed to Leah.
The scenario we are met with is one where Latrice is asked if she is pregnant. Despite that she takes birth control, she has been very stressed lately and had missed a few doses. She then explores the idea of her being pregnant. We get a little insight into Latrice’s life regarding her mother, her niece and nephew, her sister, and her boyfriend, Roy. Latrice ends up being pregnant. Then Latrice tells Roy she’s pregnant and he asks what she what she wants to do. We are then given the choice to either tell Roy that she wants to keep the baby, not keep the baby, or be unsure. Based on her being financially able and that she didn’t necessarily seem completely opposed to having the child, I decided to say that she thinks she wants the baby. We are given another choice again even though she backs up why she thinks having a child could be a good idea and Roy questions her because he thought she “didn’t want” kids. I chose to say that Latrice is sure. Roy is very understanding, which is nice. She has a family dinner and then announces her pregnancy to her family and they ask her about her and Roy getting married. We are then given the choice for Latrice to say whether she thinks or doesn’t think that they should get married. I chose yes because truthfully, society has clearly drilled into my mind that it’s easiest and makes the most sense to raise a child with someone you’re married to. She ends up getting really stressed throughout the whole experience of being pregnant, making her wonder if having a kid is the right decision.
Because I wanted to see what would happen if she decided to have an abortion, I chose to have an abortion at this point. She is then given an important meeting that makes her unable to attend the appointment at the clinic and she can’t reschedule the appointment. I decided to keep the appointment and to miss the meeting. Then, at the appointment, Latrice is given the choice to get a medical abortion or a surgical abortion. She is told her absence was noticed in the meeting and her client wasn’t happy. She ends up snapping at the client who is upset that she didn’t attend and her boss hears it. I again chose to have the abortion because I wanted to know how it would play out. She takes the pills and endures some hefty nausea. Her sister comes over and judges her for getting an abortion because it’s against her personal values. Her mother ends up being admitted to the hospital and at the hospital, everyone makes up. Overall, Latrice’s experience really wasn’t horrible. I was expecting her to have some sort of horribly inefficient or poor experience with the doctors at her clinic because she’s a woman of color, but this was not the case. I feel like I just learned a lot about her and her life.
I then chose to play as Leah, who became pregnant from being raped by her colleague. When given the choice to talk to her parents, pastor, or sister, I chose to talk to her sister, Sam, because she seemed reliable. Also, I too would go to my sibling if I needed help. Sam is helpful and ends up making the appointment for her. I decide to quit because I could not imagine working with someone who did that to her. She then goes to Austin to her sister to get the abortion and Sam is extremely supportive, which is so heartwarming. I again confirm my decision to have the abortion. Though some complications arise, Leah has a good sister that is so willing to help her that she offers for Leah to stay with her in Austin and get a job there. This made me happy that she had family that was so supportive in this horrible scenario.
I then played as Leah again and this time decided I’d choose to keep the baby. Leah tells her mom she’s going to keep the baby. Her mom is somewhat upset, but still sort of supports her. Her dad however is less supportive. Hearing her dad question whether she was truly raped was offensive and saddening. I already like the abortion scenario better because her sister was so understanding and was not even remotely upset with her, unlike her clearly disappointed parents are. I then decided to give the baby up for adoption, just to explore that option. I chose to have a closed adoption so she wouldn’t be reminded of her incident with Larry and she can move on. It’s nice that the adoptive parents are willing to pay for her care. I end up confirming my choice to give up the baby.
I found this game to be genuinely interesting, however it was different than what I had expected. This game shined a more positive light on the Texas reproductive healthcare system than I had anticipated upon beginning the game. I expected the characters to have to endure extreme difficulty to successfully get an abortion. However, the clinics proved to not only be effective, but also quite easy to navigate. This actually made me feel more hopeful about Texas and the current state of their reproductive healthcare system. I’m glad to see that there are efficient and helpful clinics in place to help women who are in this situation.