I wrote something fluffy and inconsequential yesterday, before the news broke that the New York State Senate easily voted to extend abortion rights to full-term mothers, and to condemn babies who survive the ordeal to death anyway. You can watch the Senate applauding themselves here. As an act of mourning—and anger that the March for Life was eclipsed by the manufactured controversy of a lot of people who survived childbirth insulting each other on the steps of the Lincoln Memoria—I am reposting something from November 2017. I gave it a much needed edit and shortened it up. Nov 2017, you might remember, was in the throes of the early moments of #metoo. So let me add an additional lamentation and express my bitterness over another squandered moment. Too bad we don’t really care about the lives of women—of every race and creed and tongue and nation—here in New York. May God have mercy.
There are a lot of planned parenthood clinics around here, and not all of them do abortions. But they refer women, daily and relentlessly, to a low slung “clinic” hunched on the side of the highway, its graying boxlike shape and drabness marked out by that ironical name Pregnancy Services.
A few times this summer I stood with a friend on the approved scrap of weeds between the highway and the parking lot to pray. After a while it occurred to me that this was the closest I was ever going to get to witnessing anything like the crucifixion. You stand there, helpless, grieving, and there isn’t anything you can do but just go on standing. Everyone is going to do what they have already purposed to do.
And the thing that stunned me, of course, was how many women went in under the ‘help’ of another—usually a man, sometimes a mother. Chivalry suddenly wasn’t dead as strong young gentlemen got out of their cars and went all the way round to open the door of the lady, to take her elbow and propel her across the uneven and pockmarked pavement.At one point an elegant black sports car pulled up and a richly dressed professional white man got out and hustled two yoga pant clad young black women through the gauntlet of escorts and into the gaping maw of the door. I, being incredibly naive, tried to piece it together all morning as I stood there, failing to pray. Why were they dressed so poorly? Why he so richly? That’s so weird. “He was a pimp,” Matt said, when I anxiously recounted everything to him later. I slumped back onto the couch and felt ridiculous and terrible.
But no more terrible than watching a short, greying woman lumber out of her car and round the back of the building, and learning that, of course, a lady ‘chaplain’ is available for ‘spiritual care.’ “Why do they need that?” I asked bitterly. I thought this was a good thing with no adverse consequences whatsoever, neither physically nor emotionally nor spiritually.
That’s what we like to tell ourselves when we’re doing something we really want to do, when we’re shoving the rational mind into a dark cupboard and locking it up with a key and then throwing the key over the precipice into the turgid waters of distractible and media driven modern life. Just say the words, don’t think about whether they are true or not.
Looking for abuse? Go and stand by the side of the road and watch the women going in hurried along by the convenience of their families and friends. Watch them coming out broken by the ‘medical’ and ‘spiritual’ care within.
In this critical and rare moment of taking the voices and lives of women seriously, of holding men accountable for the way they behave and the power they wield, why not go the distance and completely discredit the lie of abortion? It may be another generation of lost children and wounded mothers before we get this moment back.