Abortion: The Awesome Lifestyle Option
She spoke in a soft voice, this stout black woman in the next chair.
Mother of 11, she had agreed to be interviewed for a fundraising video that I was asked to help produce, years ago, for a crisis pregnancy center. She told me she had undergone six abortions and also gave birth to five children alive--thus the total of 11. Government social workers in Philadelphia had directed her to a town in Central Pennsylvania, because, they said, it was easier to get assistance there. Social workers in that town had passed her on to my town.
I asked her if she was alone among her Philly friends in having multiple abortions.
"No," she said, there were others.
I asked if she and her friends ever talked about the abortions. She said they did. I was trying hard to let her tell the story, and to avoid reacting, or imposing my own views on the conversation. (I'm paraphrasing here from a memory that may never leave me.)
"When you talked, what kind of things did you talk about?" I asked her.
Her face was placid, her voice, matter of fact.
"O, well, like if he was ugly," she said.
"What do you mean?" I thought I knew, but I wanted her to say it. She said she meant what I thought she meant. They talked about whether the father of the baby was ugly. In case I was as dense as I seemed to be, she added that nobody wants to have an ugly guy's baby.
"What else did you talk about?"
"Like, where am I gonna get the money?" At that time, she said, they needed about $200 for an abortion.
I was really fishing here, but I couldn't get her to say what I thought was the obvious topic when it comes to abortion. I finally asked.
"Did you ever talk about whether it was right or wrong, or anything like that?"
She squinted at me like I had asked her to solve a quadratic equation, or had suddenly begun babbling in Urdu. The question made no sense to her.
"No," she said, and I imagined she wanted to add, "How would that ever come up?"
That conversation came back to me recently when I read an op-ed in the Washington Post, headlined "Stop Calling Abortion a Difficult Decision." The author, Janet Harris, is the former communications director for Emily's List, a PAC that supports female pro-abortion Democratic candidates for office. No, I didn't mean to write "pro-choice," because it's clear from this article that Janet Harris views abortion-on-demand as a positive, healthy alternative to a life ruined by an unwanted child. In fact, she's trying to help her friends in the movement get away from the term "pro-choice" with its awkward moral dimension.
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