The news in the ongoing fight over abortion has taken a strange turn in New York State. On a Reddit account about a month ago, an anonymous user who goes by the name Claire Montgomery and claims to be a sophomore at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) claims that an Uber driver refused to take her to her appointment at an abortionist. She states that about halfway into her hour journey, the driver (“Scott”) decided he did not want to take her, based on conscience issues and his five month old baby at home. He offered to drive her back to Ithaca, but she refused and called a taxi to come pick her up and take her to her appointment. Of course, this model of independence and feminine strength dissolved into tears at the actions of this mansplaining patriarch and she had–like–the worst day EVER. Stinking patriarchs! Not as bad of a day as her baby had, but that’s neither here nor there.
The headlines have been screaming across my Facebook feed for awhile now and my thoughts on this until last night have been pretty much, “Well, good for him. At least he has the courage of his convictions.” And then last night I actually clicked on a few articles and read them.
The one that got my attention was the article written by Yahoo Lifestyle. In that article, she-who-shall-be-named-anonymously stated that her trip took her along Route 38 in central New York State and that her appointment was at an abortionist an hour away. Believe it or not, there are not a ton of abortionists an hour away from Ithaca in any direction. My home town of Syracuse is an hour and fifteen minutes from Ithaca, so that rules out Syracuse and the ob\gyn in Dewitt (even further). Auburn is 45 minutes away, so that does not fit the bill, although it is one of only two destinations that makes sense if the driver used Route 38. Binghamton\Vestal is about one hour, as Dr. Amy Cousins advertises. Directions may be found on her website using a more direct route than any involving Route 38. All of this is available through a ten second Google search, which is likely not only the source for this bit of reporting, but was probably also the source for Ms. Montgomery’s fiction.
As Providence would have it, I had to travel to the Binghamton\Vestal area today. On my way home, I decided to look for the gas station\antique store combination that our heroine refers to in the Yahoo article. I decided to drive the entire length of Route 38 looking for such a combination, noting that she refers to an antique store which had a porch that she took refuge on as she waited for gallant yellow cab in shining armor. I drove the whole 95 miles from Owego to Sterling looking for that little matter that is so important in a case like this–evidence. Evidence of the locale which would be so indelibly impressed upon her traumatized mind.
One problem. It doesn’t exist. There are NO gas stations adjacent to any one or string of three antique stores (depending on which article you read). There are no antique stores which match the description.
I have double checked my boots on the ground research on Google maps and have located one that I missed in Dryden, but the street view reveals no porch and no gas station and Dryden does not meet the time requirement of a 35 minute trip from Cornell University (it’s 14 minutes to this antique store). I have also located a couple further north in Groton that I missed, but the street view on Google maps reveals no gas stations anywhere in sight.
The gas stations, predictably, are located at major intersections OR in towns of enough size to warrant one or even several gas stations. They are not surrounded by forests and fields, as it states in some interviews. The area where a gas station is located on this route might be called “rural” but not so rural that she was ever abandoned in a pasture with a patriarchal bull. Although clearly, there is some matriarchal bull going on here.
So let’s review, kids. We have a case here unlike any other case tried in the court of public opinion or law. We do not have a victim since all we have is an anonymous claim on social media. We do not have a perpetrator since all we have is a first name (Scott) and a general claim by Uber that they have fired Great Scott for unsafe driving, a claim which has yet to be substantiated with a last name or a face.
[Which, is highly unlikely since said Scott would probably like a paycheck and if there is anything my experience has taught me when we went viral for shutting down our book store to protest the Reproductive Health Act it is that the pro-life movement is desperate for someone, ANYONE, to actually act like abortion is murder. Although they don’t want you to talk about it. And then if you have the courage to do something, ANYTHING about it they will throw money at you like one of those old TV gameshows where they put you in a tube and blow dollar bills in so you can grab all you can in your 15 minutes of fame. Scott, if you are out there, buddy, you could have a job in fifteen minutes selling popcorn and books at showings of Unplanned and picking up some sweet tips if you get a good name tag.]
Back to the review.
We do not have any witnesses to this brutal assault on the fair gender. And now, it turns out, there is no evidence that it ever happened since there is no crime scene.
No crime scene. No witnesses. No perp. No victim.
What are we to conclude?
Nothing happened. There’s not enough evidence to convict Scott “what’s his name” even in the court of public opinion and that is saying something in this world of #metoo.
There is a valuable lesson here if you have ears to hear.
Journalists suffer from a deplorable lack of curiosity.
If it is posted by an anonymous account on Reddit, well, it must be true. Never mind the fact that one pro-life article had she-who-has-not-been-named traveling from Ithaca, NY to New York City in an hour. You might be able to do that in a jet to Laguardia, including air traffic, but if Uber can pull that one off, they will put the airlines out of business as well as the taxi cabs.
Look, you don’t have to drive the 95 miles on Route 38 to figure this one out. Although when it is 67 degrees and sunny, it is a beautiful ride, and I recommend it. Two words: Google Maps. Two more words: Google Earth for the street level photos.
Perhaps I am all wrong. Perhaps in her tender frame of mind this lioness of feminism went momentarily hysterical and she cannot tell the difference between an antique store and a Bed, Bath and Beyond. In spite of my sarcasm, I doubt it. She is an adult. An adult who qualified to be a student in the Ivy League. Or maybe she is a he and I am not talking about fluid gender. Maybe Claire is really Carl and she’s not 20, but he’s 35 and is managing his Reddit account from his mom’s basement.
It’s possible. And perhaps as probable as an Uber driver being able to identify an abortionist an hour away by the street address in a GPS.
If he does exist and comes out tomorrow as the guilty party, the only thing he will be guilty of is caring more about someone else than he cares about himself. A lesson Ms. Montgomery would do well to imitate.