with a cast of thousands (well, all right then, eight)
By Neil Dodgson
A drama illustrating the end result of liberalising abortion and euthanasia on demand.
Dr Huan Carlos Fernandez Smith
Two microphones (connected to amp)
Dr Smith's desk (a table)
Notepad (on desk)
Pens (on desk)
A4 sheets of paper (on desk)
Two chairs (either side of desk)
Crutches (for Fred)
Letter (for Joe)
Two lab coats (for Dr Smith and Guard)
Booking book (on desk)
Presenter: Abortion! Abortion is a topic that has caused much debate and controversy. Today we present a short play that will show you where abortion will take us if we allow it to go on the way it is today. But first some facts:
(All characters except Dr Smith enter and line up behind the Presenter.)
Presenter: If the abortion rate in the late 1960s - when most of you were born - had been the same as it is today then one of you out of every six of you would not be standing here today.
(Girl falls over dead, very obviously)
Presenter: Worse, if the abortion rate back in the sixties had been the same as it is in the United States today then TWO of you out of every six would not be here today.
(Joe Bloggs falls over dead, again very obviously)
Presenter: That's one person out of every three. Look at the person on your left and at the person on your right. One of you would not be here today if abortions had been carried out as often in the 1960s as they are in the U.S. today.
(The six people exit, including the two dead - they've made the point)
Presenter: The play that you are about to see will show you where abortion will take this country if nothing is done about it now.
(During the next [introductory] speech the cast members set up the set at the top of the steps behind the Presenter. The set involves Dr Smith's desk (table) with Dr Smith's chair behind it, pens, paper, Dr Smith's name label, booking book etc on the desk. Another chair is put in front of the desk for Dr Smith's patients. Dr Smith, wearing a lab coat, sits down behind the desk - he has the other microphone.)
Presenter: The year is 2002. The New Zealand Government has just recently passed the Abortion and Euthanasia Act. Our story opens in the office of Doctor Juan Carlos Fernandez Smith, Director of the new Euthanasia Clinic in Wellington. It is Monday morning, outside it is windy, rain in places, fog patches on the coast, All Blacks 93 - Wallabies 6.
(The Presenter turns and exits, as Girl enters on her way to see Dr Smith.)
Girl: Good morning, Dr Smith.
Dr Smith: Good morning, what can I do for you?
Girl: (sits down in front of desk) I'm pregnant and I want an abortion.
Dr Smith: You want to kill your child?
Girl: No, I just want an abortion.
Dr Smith: (half to himself) Same thing (checks book) How does next Tuesday morning at half past nine suit you?
Dr Smith: (scribbles something on a bit of paper and gives it to Girl) Good, give this to the receptionist on the way out.
Girl: Thank you. (Girl takes paper and exits)
Dr Smith: Next!
Businessman: Good morning.
Dr Smith: Good morning, what can I do for you?
Businessman: (sits down opposite Dr Smith)I've come about my father.
Dr Smith: Yes!?
Businessman: Well, he's eighty-five and in a home. He's going completely senile and hardly knows who I am any more.
Dr Smith: Yes?
Businessman: Well, I think it would be best for everyone concerned if he was - well - put out of his misery.
Dr Smith: You'd like us to euthanase him?
Dr Smith: Put him out of his misery, put him down, dispose of him, kill him if you want to be blunt.
Businessman: Well, I wouldn't put it quite like that, but yes.
Dr Smith: By law we are now allowed to do this, but first you will have to fill in and sign this form. (He hands a form to the Businessman.)
Businessman: (looks at form) Why?
Dr Smith: The form declares that your father is no longer considered to be a human being and therefore may be disposed of, by us, without any legal repercussions.
Dr Smith: Bring the form back later this week, filled in, and we'll sort out a time then.
Businessman: Thank you.
Dr Smith: It's a pleasure.
(Businessman exits. Enter Presenter)
Presenter: Let's go a couple of years down the track, to 2005, and see how Dr Smith is getting on.
Presenter exits as Ms Phillips enters and sits down in front of Dr Smith)
Dr Smith: Ah, good morning Ms Phillips.
Ms Phillips: Good morning Doctor.
Dr Smith: I've asked you to come and see me because your child has been diagnosed as having Downes' Syndrome.
Ms Phillips: Yes, I know.
Dr Smith: By law that means that we will have to abort your child.
Ms Phillips: But she wasn't diagnosed while I was pregnant, she's already six months old, you can't abort a child that's been born!
Dr Smith: Legally we must do so, so legally you must bring you child in so that we can dispose of it. How does next Thursday suit you?
Ms Phillips: But you can't kill my child, she's alive, she's a human being.
Dr Smith: Not by law. Anyone with Downes' Syndrome is not regarded as a human being - the law was passed three months ago.
Ms Phillips: But that's mad!
Dr Smith: No, that's legal. (writes out bit of paper and hands it to Ms Phillips) Bring your child in Thursday week at 10am and we'll put her out of her misery.
Ms Phillips: But...but...
Dr Smith: (forcefully) Goodbye Ms Phillips.
(Ms Phillips leaves)
Dr Smith: You know, she would have been quite happy to have killed the child when it was in her womb, but once she could see it and hold it in her arms it's a different story. If she thinks it's murder after birth then it's also murder before birth. Next !
(Enter Fred Jones, on crutches or in wheelchair. He gets to the desk and sits down)
Dr Smith: Good day, how can I help you, Mr...
Fred: Jones, Fred Jones.
Dr Smith: Yes, Mr Jones?
Fred: I was told to come and see you.
Dr Smith: Ah, yes. What about?
Fred: I was in a car accident and I can't use my legs properly any more.
Dr Smith: Yes.
Fred: I won't be able to get a job like this.
Dr Smith: No, not in today's economic climate.
Fred: I went to see the bloke down the road at Social Welfare about what I could do and he told me to come and see you.
Dr Smith: Ah, I see, you want to know what options are open to you.
Dr Smith: Well, as you probably found out, there are no government handouts for people like you these days.
Dr Smith: So either you find someone who is willing to support you for the rest of your life...
Dr Smith: Or you die.
Dr Smith: Yes, die. Either slowly out there, or here - quickly, neatly and painlessly.
Fred: Er, well, I'll have to go away and think about it.
Dr Smith: You do that, but don't take too long about it. We wouldn't want you to starve to death!
Fred: No, I 'spose not.
Dr Smith: Efficiency, Mr Jones, efficiency. We live in a modern society. We can't have cripples hanging around bleeding the economy dry, can we now?
Dr Smith: Well, you come back if you decide to have a nice, quick, painless death and we'll make sure you get it.
(Fred gets up and hobbles out. Enter Presenter.)
Presenter: Let's move on for the last time. It's now 2008. Coincidentaly it is also Dr Smith's last day at work - he is retiring today. He's about to see his very last patient.
(Exit Presenter. Enter Joe Bloggs, who is carrying a letter. Joe goes up to Dr Smith and sits down.)
Joe: Er, hello.
Dr Smith: Good afternoon, what can I do for you?
Joe: I got this letter to come and see you fellas.
Dr Smith: Let me see (takes letter and skim reads it) Ah, yes, you've been unemployed for two full years now?
Dr Smith: No jobs at all in that time?
Joe: Nope, it's really tough getting work...
Dr Smith: Quite. Well, I'm afraid that you are no longer economically viable. You've had two years to find a job and your time is now up. We'll have to terminate your existence.
Joe: Termite my what?
Dr Smith: Kill you
Joe: You can't do that!
Dr Smith: Yes, we can. It's the law. Any person who has been continually unemployed for a period exceeding two years is no longer legally considered to be a person and must be disposed of. (Calls down steps) Guard!
Joe: But how can you do it? - I'm alive, I'm a person, no matter what the law says...
(Guard enters, wearing a white coat. Both the Guard and Dr Smith ignore Joe's protests.)
Dr Smith: Take this...thing away and dispose of it.
(Guard takes Joe away.)
Dr Smith: Good, that's my last patient ever! (checks watch) Only thirty more seconds and I'm officially retired. (He starts to clear desk. Guard re-enters and stands in front of desk. Dr Smith suddenly notices the him.)
Dr Smith: Oh, hello, did you sort that guy out?
Dr Smith: Good. (Returns to tidying desk, Guard doesn't leave) Well, you can go...
Guard: Dr Smith, you have just officially retired.
Dr Smith: (checks watch and says irritably) Yes?
Guard: Dr Smith, you are therefore no longer economically viable. Please come with me and we will terminate your existence for you...
Dr Smith: WHAT! You can't do that, you can't simply kill me just because I've retired. Think of what I've given this nation, think of what I've done, YOU CAN'T KILL ME!
Guard: Yes we can, it's the law...
(Guard exits, taking Dr Smith with him. Presenter enters.)
Presenter: None of what you have just seen, except for the abortions, happens today. All of what you have just seen is under consideration by people or organisations around the world. It all starts when society accepts that some people are less human than others - whether it be because they are not economically viable, or they have an incurable disease, or no-one can be bothered to look after them, or simply because they are unable to survive outside their mother's womb yet. At least 95 percent of abortions today are carried out for the convenience of another person - the child's mother, her parents, her boyfriend, the doctor. One human being - the baby - is killed for the convenience of others. Since when has it been right to kill someone for someone else's convenience?
Cast return to stand behind Presenter and have a public discussion.
Presenter is left to handle the crowd by her/himself.
©1988, The Terrace, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Permission is given for any Christian group to use this play provided it is not used in order to make money. Permission to use this play in any other way must be sought from Neil Dodgson. He may be contacted by email at Neil.Dodgson@cl.cam.ac.uk .