Well, that didn’t take long. Less than 50 years for the story around abortion to go from “Did you hear about X? I heard she was on the flight to New York” last Tuesday to driving your best friend to the clinic to putting your daughter/granddaughter/niece on a flight to New York. Legal abortion, nationwide, 1973-2021.
I’m speaking, of course, of the Privileged Woman version of abortion in the U.S., of course. The flight to New York out of Columbus was well-known in my suburban high school. It left early, which left you all day to visit the clinic, get the procedure, wait through recovery and get back to LaGuardia in time for the late-afternoon plane back home. I knew a few women — girls — who did that. A woman my sister’s age told me about her own pre-Roe abortion; it took place in a hotel room in Missouri, and it was awful, but it was as safe as a hotel-room abortion can be.
Then came Roe, and for a while we had three clinics in Columbus to choose from. The women I know preferred the one near Ohio State, for the protective coloring of blending in with a bunch of other college-age women. The peace and quiet didn’t last long, because once the anti-abortion movement got ramped up, you had to run a gantlet of screaming lunatics. Early in my career, you could call up a doctor you knew worked in a clinic, do an interview, and he wouldn’t have to worry about being shot in the head at church. That didn’t last long, either. By the time I got to Fort Wayne, those people feared for their lives, and why shouldn’t they? “Pro-life” activists shot up their clinic. So they stopped doing abortions at all (one was my own gynecologist) and left it all to the sad clinic downtown, with the circuit-riding doctor who came in from Illinois one day a week. Eventually, that clinic had to relocate, and then shut down.
Hoosiers, what was the name of that Operation Rescue guy? Wait, it’s coming back — Wendell Brane. As I recall, he and his wife suffered from secondary infertility, i.e., they had one child, but couldn’t conceive another. So did the main editorial writer at my newspaper who most often inveighed against abortion. His wife was a real piece of work; at a work party she whined to me about how unfair it was that this reporter and that editor were pregnant out of wedlock, but she couldn’t have a second. I thought of telling her the Lord works in mysterious ways, but just nodded and held my tongue.
Anyway, anecdotally I’ve noticed a lot of infertility issues among anti-choice activists: It’s not fair! They also believe that every woman who has an abortion spends the rest of her life In Quiet Mourning, waiting for her breast cancer to arrive. I’ve never had an abortion, and I can’t speak with certainty about anyone else’s interior life, but the ones I’ve known who seemed OK afterward. Mad at the men in their lives, who often behaved abominably, yes. But the idea that they weep for their lost little angel? Haven’t seen it, myself. (Miscarriages are another story, although even that varies wildly along a continuum of gestational age and religious devotion. I wonder if the serious Catholics who’ve miscarried ever ask themselves why God aborted their baby. Probably not.)
So this week Roe was effectively overturned. I mentioned above that I speak from the Privileged Woman’s perspective, and still do. If Kate or another young woman of my acquaintance needs this service, I’m fully prepared to buy — and able to buy — a plane ticket or drive across the bridge or whatever else I have to do to help them out. The unborn bay-beeeez (sorry, that’s always how I say it in my head) that will be born due to this will be born poor and disadvantaged, although maybe a lucky few will be adopted by Betsy DeVos types, at least as long as their mothers took good care of themselves through their pregnancies.
I expect Susan Collins is terribly, terribly disappointed in Brett Kavanaugh right now. Well, fuck her. Fuck them all.
If you’re looking for something to get a sense of what we’re up against now, I recommend “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always,” which you can probably find on a streaming service somewhere.
Why am I so low-level angry today? This is why. Also, at this:
You gotta admit: Having the president who almost certainly has bankrolled the most abortions engineering the SCOTUS that overturns Roe v. Wade is next-level irony that even Alanis couldn’t fit into a song. (Or maybe it’s just so dumb it could only be real life.)
— Nancy Nall Derringer (@nnall) September 2, 2021
OK, then. Tomorrow is Friday, and I think this will be the last one for the week for me. See you Sunday/Monday, and have a great weekend.