By Dave Andrusko
We’ve only commented once on militant pro-abortion par excellence Jessica Valenti (“But that was then and this is now–‘Free Abortions on Demand Without Apology’”), but that would seem to be enough to figure out where she is coming from and who she is. In a word, Valenti argued that pro-abortionist feminists had become soft—so no more of this more “tailoring messages to the mainstream,” for her.
“Free Abortions on demand, baby” (so to speak).
So I confess I was rocked when a NRLC colleague linked me to a story at Christianity Today’s “her-meneutics,” written by Karen Swallow Prior. Prior alerted her readers to a post Valenti wrote in late October, titled “Sunday Sauce, Saving Me,” which appeared at “The Toast.”
I understand this is an entirely different forum than the unglued political harangues that you so often find at The Nation. Here Valenti is writing about the joy of food, the joy of cooking, and the joy that meals eaten together can bring to a family.
In this post, it’s about traditions—and how “I started cooking Sunday’s sauce after I had my daughter, Layla. I wanted to start our own family traditions and pass on old ones–anything that that would give her the kind of joyous, sensory-laden memories I had.”
But before long there is an abrupt turn to the great difficulty Valenti had in delivering Layla. “My pregnancy with Layla had nearly killed us both,” she writes. Not that she felt it was not worth it. She loves her daughter a great deal.
So the importance of passing down family traditions grew in importance “as I slowly accepted I couldn’t have more children.” And then, “I got pregnant,” Valenti writes,
“Sometimes plans and being responsible don’t work out the way you thought they would. I always thought women collapsing at bad news seemed a bit overwrought, but there I was on the bathroom floor. I cried because I was terrified–I still get the occasional post-traumatic symptom–but mostly I cried because I want so badly for Layla to be able to dance with someone to Buddy Holly on Sundays [as Valenti had done with her own sister as young girls].”
Even though you know that Valenti does go on to have an abortion, I very much want you to read the entire post. As harsh and as over-the-top as she is in demanding abortion on demand, clearly she deeply regrets the loss of that baby.
She demonstrates many of the symptoms of post-abortion syndrome, which (if this were said to her) doubtless would anger her no end.
In commenting on the post, Karen Swallow Prior writes
“Valenti never actually writes the word abortion in her post. After writing that word (so often) in regards to other people she seems to be incapable of ‘saying’ it out loud about herself. This doesn’t make her a coward, it makes her human and it leads to the second point that was always missing from her previous commentary about the issue, the despair.”
“No one gets off without some scarring – regardless of whether the abortion is ‘necessary’ in the eyes of the woman. Peace be upon Jessica Valenti because she’s obviously in pain about what happened to her and her family.”