This weekend, the consistent life publication Life Matters Journal is hosting a “blogfest” in response to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s “AbortionMatters blog carnival”. While clearly responding to a polemical position, this is not about perpetuating divides but attempting to bridge them: demonstrating that it is not only possible but indeed more consistent to be both pro-woman and pro-life, that concerns for universal human dignity and protection of the vulnerable underlie and connect a host of “issues” that are artificially separated and polarized in the political sphere, that “#LifeMatters rings truer, more profoundly, and with greater resonance to all humanity than the demand for violence.”
In that spirit, I offer a paragraph from Khaled Hosseini’s 2007 novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, set in Afghanistan’s tumultuous recent decades, that has haunted my mind since I read the book last month. As a bibliophile, this was one of those golden experiences where I come to a passage that stops me in my tracks, one that I have to read over several times, attentively, just to let it sink in.
Without wanting to give any more of a spoiler than necessary, the context for this passage is that one of the novel’s protagonists is considering self-aborting a child whose father she does not love, out of fear that she might not be able to love the child. Hosseini’s incisive parallel here speaks for itself.
It wasn’t the fear of bleeding to death that made her drop the spoke, or even the idea that the act was damnable – which she suspected it was. Laila dropped the spoke because she could not accept what the Mujahideen readily had: that sometimes in war innocent life had to be taken. Her war was against Rasheed. The baby was blameless. And there had been enough killing already. Laila had seen enough killing of innocents caught in the cross fire of enemies.