By Sarah Terzo
Christina Dunigan wrote about a 2009 article entitled “Why I Decided Against a Late-Term Abortion,” by Alice Eve Cohen. Unfortunately, Cohen’s article is no longer on the site. However, I think Dunigan’s post is valuable and I’m going to reproduce it with her permission.
Cohen didn’t think she could get pregnant. Doctors had told her not to even try, because they were sure that she’d not be able to carry past six months. So when she discovered, at six months, that she was pregnant, she freaked out, to the point of considering suicide.
Instead of sending her for psychiatric care, “an abortion specialist” made an appointment for her to get the unexpected baby snuffed at Tiller’s Wichita abortion mill as a “life of the mother” case.
The baby’s father didn’t think he could stay with her if he did that.
“Me? Oh, Jesus … a lot of different things,” Michael answered. “I’ve seen Alice in the throes of this terrible unhappiness, and I don’t recognize her. I’ve been politically in favor of choice, but uncommitted on the personal side — it’s been an abstraction. But now that this is suddenly so real, all I can think is that there’s a baby. Our baby. My baby. And I can’t stand the thought of this baby being aborted. So If Alice has an abortion, I won’t go to Wichita with her. And I might not be here when she gets back. I’ll have my own unbearable sorrow about losing this baby, about endorsing this decision. But I don’t want Alice to kill herself. So she should do what she needs to do.”
Cohen doesn’t really get it:
For the past ten years, this turning point moment in our relationship — Michael acknowledging my right to choose, but telling me he might leave me if I had the abortion — has remained a largely unspoken but crucial shared memory, equal parts rift and bridge between us.
Somehow it seems to diminish him in her eyes that it would have devastated him to have his child put to death. That he loved the child unconditionally is, in her eyes, a big problem. What redeemed him was that he “acknowledg[ed]” her “right to choose” whether the baby would live or die.
As if he had any way of stopping her.
When Cohen wrote a book about, among other things, contemplating abortion, she let her 9-year-old daughter read it. The daughter was okay with it, “Because I know how it turns out.” As if a child would say anything else! What’s she going to say?
It took the wisdom of our child, confident in her parents’ love, to clarify this truth — that exercising freedom of choice is nothing to be ashamed of.
Maybe she wasn’t so much confident of her parents’ love as she was aware of the fact that to even tacitly question mom’s “right to choose” would destroy whatever fragile, conditional love her mother had for her.
And note the author’s tone about the whole thing. No hint of a chill running up and down her spine over how close she came to killing this child. Just a smug satisfaction that in having the baby, rather than killing her, she “exercis[ed] freedom of choice”.
At least the child has one parent who values her inherently and unconditionally, and not merely as the product of a “choice”.
And the fact that the child’s value to her is only in having been “chosen”, and not in merely being, really is something Ms. Cohen should be ashamed of.