Anne Rice, babies in boxes, and compassion.

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Might as well start off by offending absolutely everyone.

Anne Rice posted a link to this article on her Facebook page today. It got a lot of comments, as you might imagine. What surprised me, as a long-time Anne Rice reader, was that the general tone of the comments was strongly anti-abortion, and beyond that, frankly rather judgemental. Nobody seemed to want to know why this happened or what would’ve allowed this woman to make a better choice. They just wanted to condemn.  There wasn’t even interest in the lawsuit, per se. It was all about what a horrible person this woman was.

And they were, a lot of them, confused about why Anne Rice was posting “controversial” discussion topics. Anne Rice has always been controversial. She’s gone from being the atheist author of some rather purple prose, to a redeemed Catholic, and back again, and she’s still trying to find herself.  Which is the main reason I still like her! She’s still fluid. Good for her!

So Anne Rice fans = not who I expected. Not at all.  But who is? Anyway, the more I read, the angrier I got. And finally I had to post a response, because growing up in Idaho, it made horrible, awful, sick, absolutely logical sense to me, what this woman had done. And I cannot believe nobody else gets it. I’m not saying it was the best choice, or even a good choice, but oh yes, I see how she got there. So how about it, can we have some compassion, people?

Verbatim from the discussion thread on Anne Rice’s page:

“I’m from Idaho and I have some things to say. First of all, why does everyone assume that this woman had drunken unprotected sex and then blithely decided to terminate her pregnancy because it was inconvenient? The facts suggest otherwise. She’d have done it earlier, for one thing. 5-6 months? That suggests a powerful internal struggle to make this decision. Why did she have it in a box? This is a no-brainer if you put yourself in her shoes. She grieved. She wanted to bury it, even if only in her backyard or the woods somewhere. Does it not seem self-evident, just from the fact that she kept the fetus, that this was NOT an easy decision? Anyone with a shred of compassion would see that. The fact that the charges were dismissed, in such a conservative area, also suggests that there were circumstances we are unaware of, meriting our compassion. Unfortunately I have seen little compassion or christian forgiveness on this thread..only assumptions and judgementalism.

All BC has a failure rate. My mother had seven children. She got pregnant again and again and AGAIN, through multiple forms of birth control. As a devout Mormon, her only choice was to carry those pregnancies to term, regardless of her health, and raise the children, no matter the hardship to the exisiting children. If she’d even tried to adopt them out, she would have been met with a world of judgement and opposition. She’d have been told that she needed to have more faith that the Lord would provide. Now, the LDS church is HUGELY dominant in this woman’s area, including in the medical profession…so that’s the climate in which she made this decision.

I grew up in that climate too. Personally, I am uninsurable due to several chronic health conditions, which also mean I probably shouldn’t have kids. Among my problems, I suffer from migraines, which means I can’t take hormonal BC because it creates a stroke risk. So my choices are: abstinence, condoms, complete sterilization, or an IUD. I tried to get an IUD at the government clinic in Idaho, and I was dismissed out-of-hand. I was told there was no funding, that I was not “high risk” enough to merit receiving the procedure because they had so few devices, and that an IUD was not an option for someone who had not had children. (That last is incorrect information, by the way.)

I shouldn’t have been surprised, because Idaho legislators are pretty stone-age. Some of them are on record as stating that daycares should not be licensed or subsidised, because it is MORALLY WRONG for women to work outside the home. So why would anyone hope that they would fund rational reproductive health or birth control options for those in need? Keep dreaming! The odds that this woman even has access to low-cost condoms at a local community clinic are negligible in that area of the state.

Fortunately for me, because of a job opportunity I was able to move to Montana, which has a slightly more enlightened attitude. Through a combination of federal, state, and local funding, we have an excellent clinic in my town, staffed with informed and compassionate physicians. I was able to purchase an IUD through a canadian pharmacy and have it inserted for a total cost to me of less than $150. (In Idaho, out-of-pocket cost would have been almost $1000, IF I could have found someone to do the procedure.) So now I’m safe and I won’t have to make the decision she did. And I am incredibly grateful to my fellow taxpayers for helping subsidise my safety. I imagine they are just as grateful not to be paying welfare costs for a child of mine for 18 years! It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Let me re-iterate. NOT IN IDAHO.

Interestingly enough, the drug used to facilitate IUD insertion in someone who hasn’t given birth is the SAME used to induce abortion. So I can speak to its effects. It is excruciatingly painful. And it’s dangerous to use it after 8 weeks of pregnancy. So this woman went through agonizing pain, and it’s actually suprising that she did not hemorrage and die. All abortions are physically painful, and this was probably one of the more painful methods. So if you think she did this lightly, think again….

It truly, truly bothers me to see this astounding amount of righteous indignation and ire being expended on a stranger, in difficult circumstances which are not fully known to any of us, based on the few facts reported in an online news clip. None of us have lived this woman’s life, and none of us have the right to judge her decision. It bothers me even more to see so much judgement coming from devout Christians. Anyone who calls themself a Christian should be the FIRST to say, let God judge what she has done. Let US discover why she did it, rather than assuming we already know, and then let us discover what we can do to alleviate her misery here on earth, so that she can go her way and “sin” no more. Isn’t that what Christ would have done? I rather think so. We’re so busy these days trying to impose our views of what is “right” on each other, and judging those who fail to live up to our standards, that we’ve forgotten to take a deep breath, look around us and see what we can do to HELP each other live healthy lives and make good choices.”

Oh, and in case you’re curious…over 600 comments, mine had 10 ‘likes’.

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4 responses »

  1. I applaud you. I am 58 years old. Back in the early 70’s in the Roe v. Wade days, I would never have dreamed that FORTY YEARS LATER women are still fighting for the right to control their own lives, plan their families, and be realistic about the issue of whether they should have a child right now or not. There is so much that can be said about the past and present attitudes, globally, toward women and if you think that the fight was ever won by the suffragettes or the feminists, you are sadly mistaken. Yes, they prevailed on a few of the battlefields, but the music of Lesley Gore “You Don’t Own Me” (circa 1963) is still our battle cry, There is still a very virulent war against women being waged by men, and sadly by other women, on many many levels. It is not up for debate, however, because we and only we own ourselves. Period. A potential life inside our bodies, no matter how or under what circumstances it arrived there, is no other person’s business but our own.

    Further, It always blows my mind to think that the so called christians, who not only are supposed to see the big picture and have tolerance and love for mankind, fail to acknowledge that the pregnant woman is a fully formed human being with a soul and an already premeditaedlife desire for her own journey and not merely a vessel for what they perceive to be god’s will. I always get a blank stare when I pose the question to them about the separation of soul and body, the christians basic platform if you will, I agree on this point, that yes, our bodies are mere shells here on earth and the soul, our soul within, is eternal. So then I say, “Well, given that premise, what makes you think that that aborted child’s soul might not go on to find a more appropriate vessel for their life to be lived out in, here on earth, without creating chaos and suffering in the embodied soul that is already here? Abortion does destroy the body, but it cannot touch the eternal soul. Agree, or disagree? Well then . . .”

    Keep blogging, your voice needs to be heard and joined by so many many more than 10 likes.

  2. Preach it! Idaho in particular and the US in general is terribly, terribly concerned about the welfare of fetuses … until they’re born. After that, it’s all up to the woman to take care of the baby, and woe betide her if she has to go on public assistance.

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