Under Scrutiny

A story of back street abortion in 1948 and how the change came about where women were given contraception and could go to a clinic to have a termination. A doctor who's ex- wife dies of cancer is left to bring up his daughter who has downs syndrome. His perception of the disability is changed when he discovers that his daughter is brighter than he first thought. This is a story of acceptance and the love between a disabled girl and her father. The story includes prize fighting when Billy Tugg Fawcett and his friend a black heavyweight fighter called Bill Peters fight their way to a title fight but gangsters and racketeers are after Bill when he refuses to throw a fight.


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Ruth got up from the bed naked; Greg surveyed her body as she put on her under wear and went to her room for her dressing gown.

Greg threw on his gown then went into the kitchen; he filled up the kettle then placed it on the gas. He spooned some tea into the pot then took out two cups from the cupboard.

He filled a glass of orange for Mollie then placed it on the table.

Ruth was getting Mollie washed and ready in the bathroom when the phone rang.

He picked it up.

The voice on the other end he recognised as the widow who called up on his services.

She told him that there was another lady who needed his help urgently.

Bring her to your house I will be there as soon as I can.

Greg popped his head into the bathroom; can I use the bathroom I have an urgent call that needs my attention.

Ruth took Mollie into the kitchen whilst Greg went about his ablutions.

He came back into the kitchen then drank some orange juice from the fridge and grabbed a half a slice of toast that Ruth had made before waving then dashing out.


The widow let Greg in and he brought his bag into the bedroom where he had performed the same procedure many times before. This time it was different the woman in question was over forty and there was always a bigger risk.

He looked down at the woman who was in obvious pain.

Have you taken anything Mrs Harris Greg asked after being told who she was on the phone?

“Just Beecham’s pills Doctor.

“I will need to examine you Mrs Harris is that alright?

He did a quick examination and told the widow that she was too far gone to do a termination.

“Help me cried the woman.”

“I’m very sorry Mrs Harris you have left this too long there is nothing I can do.”

 “You must go to hospital because the pills that you have taken are causing discomfort to the foetus and your good self.

“My husband doesn’t know about this Doctor; what am I to do?

“Suggest to meet that bridge when you come to it please get dressed and I will take you to a hospital now.

Greg drove the woman to Preston Hospital; he spoke to the sister and explained the woman’s plight.

“This hospital does not perform abortions Doctor.”

 “This woman needs your help; I have brought her here it is for your surgeons to sort out not mine. If you do not do anything then it is you who will be under scrutiny not I sister.”

Greg left the hospital feeling guilty that he couldn’t help this poor woman but there was nothing he could do; she was over four months pregnant.


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