For most of us, memories of that terrible day five years ago are personal and anecdotal. It's no different for abortion providers. Over at Planned Parenthood's Web site today, Joan Malin offers her reminisces of 9/11. Bittersweet, they are. Malin recounts both missed opportunities ("[s]ince the attack was early, most clients had not yet arrived") and triumphs ("but some had and we waited for them to awake from anesthesia"). She also relates, with pride, the "charity" described in the previous post: "For two weeks, we offered all of our services free to everyone who needed them."
For former NARAL Pro-Choice President Kate Michelman (writing in her 2005 autobiography With Liberty and Justice for All), the day was also one of mixed blessings. While the tragedy was undeniable, she thought it might inspire us to look deep within ourselves. And perhaps kill whatever we found there:
In the days that followed, I thought that, in some small way, some good might be recovered from the ashes of 9/11. The attacks forced us to think about what it meant to be Americans, shocking us into a new appreciation of freedom and tolerance. We were confronted with the specter of religious fanaticism taken to its extreme. Now that our shared ideals -- like democracy and individual rights -- were under such bold attack, perhaps Americans would come to value and appreciate our freedoms more deeply.Fortuitously, at the time NARAL was running a series of "Choice for America" promoting our most precious "freedom" of all. Michelman recalls that "[m]y personal instinct was that there was no better way to honor the ideals the terrorists had attacked than to continue an open and vigorous dialogue about important issues of personal liberty." Miraculously, however, America did manage to find "better ways" to pay tribute than abortion-hawking ("[w]hen NARAL received a small number of complaints about the propriety of the ads, I immediately directed that they be removed from the airwaves").
The National Abortion Federation has not yet weighed in on the meaning of this sad anniversary. Based on the contributions of Malin and Michelman, I'm hoping for a moment of silence. But don't be surprised if they urge us to let the fallen towers live on in our hearts as the twin pillars of dilation and extraction.