I saw a disturbing film yesterday on the topic of abortion, called If These Walls Could Talk. Yet it wasn’t disturbing in the way you might assume. For those who haven’t seen it, I’ll give a synopsis:
The screenplay is actually written as a trilogy, with each story taking place in a different era, all featuring protagonists who find themselves pregnant and not wanting to be:
Claire is a widow in the 1950s who in desperation opts for a back-alley abortion after which she hemorrages and presumably dies.
Barbara is a 40-something mom of four in the 1970s. Her youngest is eight, she has just begun college, and she discovers she’s pregnant. She considers abortion, then decides to continue the pregnancy.
Chris is a college student in the 1990s who agonizes and then goes through with an abortion. [spoiler] Just as the physician is finishing the procedure, a psycho gunman bursts into the clinic and shoots the physician.
What disturbed me about the film wasn’t the fact that Claire’s kitchen looks like a scene from the Manson family as she sinks to the floor, the telephone hanging off the hook as she tries unsuccessfully to summon an ambulance. Rather, what I found disturbing is the horror of conservative backlash: The only character who had access to a safe, legal abortion without getting mobbed or firebombed was the 1970s one. If These Walls Could Talk reflects the fact that our society passed through a blip of progressiveness that lasted about a decade, a fact with which there’s no arguing regardless of one's stance on the matter.
Moreover, I refuse to use the euphemisms “pro-life” and "pro-choice”. I’m an Abortion Advocate, i.e., I believe that all three women should've aborted. As testified to by the hundreds of testimonies at I'mNotSorry.net, not all women who find themselves pregnant against their wishes agonize over it; nor do I believe that having an abortion necessarily affects a woman negatively and / or for a long period of time. For that I'm grateful for the character in the middle segment who admits to having felt relieved after aborting. Hard for me to believe that relief isn't the Number One sensation felt by a woman after undergoing a safe, legal abortion. No, it will not haunt you for the rest of your days, and this needs to be heard.
Finally, I’m tired of hearing that abortion is a “very, very personal decision”. This statement has lost its meaning, if indeed it ever had any. Every decision, whether vanilla versus chocolate or whether to donate a kidney, is personal. Abortion is nothing if not political; everyone, whether pro- or anti-, must agree on this.
Veering a little off-topic here, can anyone explain to me why back-alley abortionists can't take the extra minute to wash their hands and disinfect their instruments? It's not as if it adds to their overhead. What motivates this pond scum? Money? You’ve already been paid. What skin is it off your back to swab some alcohol onto the speculum? The abortionist in the 1950s segment of If These Walls Could Talk was the one who deserved to be shot. Where are all the indignant anti-abortion voices when it comes to him and his ilk -- and they still must exist: The state of Wyoming has not a single legal abortion provider. Who do you suppose is performing abortions in Wyoming?