Sunday, February 12, 2006

Unraveling Mercies

A friend who regrets her abortion writes: "Here's something you might want to link to. Really beyond the pale. Anne Lamott writes a lot about her conversion from being a bitter leftist alcoholic to a despairing leftist born-again Christian. But her conflation of abortion with redemption is quasi-hysterical here."

It sure is — as are Lamott's other observations sparked by an experience she had while sitting on a panel discussing social justice, where she was confronted by a pro-lifer in the audience:

I wanted to express calmly, eloquently, that pro-choice people understand that there are two lives involved in an abortion — one born (the pregnant woman) and one not (the fetus) — but that the born person must be allowed to decide what is right....

I am so confused about why we are still having to argue with patriarchal sentimentality about teeny weenie so-called babies — some microscopic, some no bigger than the sea monkeys we used to send away for — when real, live, already born women, many of them desperately poor, get such short shrift from the current administration.

Most women like me would much rather use our time and energy fighting to make the world safe and just and fair for the children we do have, and do love — and for the children of New Orleans and the children of Darfur. I am old and tired and menopausal and would mostly like to be left alone: I have had my abortions, and I have had a child.
To which I would add: How thoughtful of Annie Lamott to remind us how much more Presidents Carter and Clinton cared about unborn life than the current administration. After all, they were good Democrats who took care of the desperately poor, so they had the extra brain power and resources to consider the rights of the unborn....What? You mean they didn't?

As for "patriarchal sentimentality," what does it say about feminism that caring about children's fate is patriarchal? Apparently a good matriarchal, fertility-goddess-loving culture is expected to eat its young.

Lamott goes on:
But as a Christian and a feminist, the most important message I can carry and fight for is the sacredness of each human life, and reproductive rights for all women is a crucial part of that: It is a moral necessity that we not be forced to bring children into the world for whom we cannot be responsible and adoring and present. We must not inflict life on children who will be resented; we must not inflict unwanted children on society.
Ladies and gentlemen, Margaret Sanger has returned to the building. But perhaps we've got a new slogan for the pro-life movement here: "Life. Inflict it."