After Two Abortions “It wasn’t over, of course”
By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. There is still time to register for the National Right to Life convention June 28 -30 and to reserve a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. Just go to www.nrlconvention.org.
The unintended irony is enough to knock your socks off. The New York Times is hysterically, irrationally, monomaniacally pro-abortion, yet some of the first-person accounts of having an abortion that appear in columns such as “Lives” are incredibly powerful and revealing.
Why? For starters, where they appear—in the house organ for the Abortion Industry and its multitude of defenders. But more important is that these accounts, often based on events that took place years ago and which still hurt, ripple with regret, even if the writer in the end more or less comes to the politically correct conclusion.
Lucy Ferriss is a writer in residence at Trinity College, we’re told, and her account is headlined, “Facing My Second Unwanted Pregnancy.” As a “well educated, liberal, feminist and rational to a fault,” Ferriss tries to reconcile being ‘rational to a fault’ and wondering aloud how she could possibly have been so stupid.
At first, she means by this becoming unintentionally pregnant twice in two years, once by a husband she didn’t love and then by an older boyfriend. But she also means, at some level, how could she not have anticipated what she would feel after that first abortion—“I failed to anticipate the grief I would undergo in the aftermath. Nightmares stalked my sleep.”
Stupidity, part three, for Ferriss was being “too stupid and obstinate to take advantage of the abortion services we had all worked so hard to make legal and safe.” Pardon? For reasons that are painfully obvious to us, less so to her, Ferriss decides to induce a “miscarriage.”
Why? “Miscarriage seemed more natural than an abortion, like something that just happened to you, not something you chose.”
So she consulted her “New Age friend Nancy and asked her for ‘the recipe.’ Nancy had told me that there was a way to induce miscarriage using herbs.”
The brew is awful (the tea “tasted like hot mud”) and clearly extremely dangerous to Ferriss, but she drinks it anyway. It’s foolproof, her friend tells her, adding “though one woman she knew took three more months to miscarry. ‘But it wasn’t alive in her,’ Nancy said. ‘It hadn’t been alive for awhile.’”
This is taking place during her Christmas visit home, Ferriss writes,
“where everyone consoled me on my divorce and wanted to know about my exciting new life in Manhattan. I avoided the nuts and eggnog and slipped away to my room to make and drink the tea. I was drinking death, I told myself. I felt death working its way through my stomach, into my veins. No one knew what these herbs really did. If they killed me as well as the fetus I was carrying, maybe that was the consequence I needed to face.”
Why? Because “Who was stupid enough to get pregnant twice in as many years?”
Clearly in anger and denial and quasi-suicidal, she writes letters (in her journal) to everyone, including her ex-husband and current boyfriend, saying, “This brew might kill me, I confessed in the letters, and I was sorry, and I loved them.”
A week later (at Nancy’s instruction) she stops ingesting the tea, “comes to her senses” and lines up an abortion. Afterwards the abortionist squeezes her hand, “It’s O.K. now,” he says. It’s over.”
Considering this is the New York Times, you half-expect Ferriss to say something along the lines of “Indeed it was. Luckily, I saw the light.”
But she doesn’t because “It wasn’t over, of course.” She ends her recollection with this.
“Deep in my throat, all these years later, I still taste that tea. Its remembered tang is the sour end of regret, the underside of choice. Like Stephen Crane’s desert creature, I find myself savoring it, ‘because it is bitter, and because it is my heart.’”
She knows she will carry that “taste” for the rest of her life. She has made multiple excuses for how she “got” into the situation of being pregnant in consecutive years and for getting sidetracked into taking a bunch of herbs that could have taken both her life and her baby’s life rather than taking advantage “of the abortion services we had all worked so hard to make legal and safe.”
But while Ferriss has concluded the emotional residue of having had two abortions was worth it, she does not deny that it exists. Indeed, what does it say that her latest novel is titled, “The Lost Daughter”?
You can read Ferriss’s account at www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/magazine/facing-my-second-unwanted-pregnancy.html?_r=1