Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If These Walls Could Talk לו הקירות היו מדברים

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?


  1. I pretty much agree with everything you said. I just was not able to discern the reason for your insistance on calling it "pro-abortion" as opposed to the euphemism "pro-choice". It is both a political and a personal choice. Not having had to make the choice, I'll let the women decide if the word "very" or "very, very" belongs in there.

    Choosing to have an abortion isn't exactly like flipping a lever in a voting booth.

  2. Joe, I'm uncomfortable using a term that was coined in response to "pro-life", which movement I believe is hypocritical. They are anti-abortion, period. They are fixated on other people's embryos. I am pro-abortion. I actually believe that it is best for unplanned pregnancies to be terminated, period. It's better for women, and for society at large. Period.

  3. Why would anybody go see such a film? I've heard the new Sherlock Holms flick is great.

  4. Mollie Saferstein NewmanDecember 20, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    The last paragraph of your post is striking.
    Goals: 1.Use contraception; 2.If you have an abortion (which is up to nobody else but the pregnant woman), have it done cleanly; 3.There should be a law against having an unwanted child. Period.

  5. I understand and appreciate your rejection of "pro-choice", but only as a response to "pro-life." However, I totally disagree with your belief "that it is best for unplanned pregnancies to be terminated, period." There many many people in this world who lived, loved and benefited from one or two loving dedicated parents after carrying through an unplanned pregnancy. YYbYZhL

  6. Anonymous, I deliberated whether or not to publish your comment, but decided that as one who regularly comments on blogs, all comments that aren't downright offensive should be published. As to why anybody would go see "such a film", you'd have to be more specific, i.e., a film that's not Sherlock Holmes? A film with a social message? A film that depicts people bleeding profusely? The last two unfortunately often go together...

  7. YYbYZhL, while obviously many people have lived, loved, and benefited from one or two loving dedicated parents having carried through an unplanned pregnancy, I'd wager that millions more have themslves suffered and even harmed others as a result of having not been aborted. Sounds cold, but I don't know any other way to put it: Society pays a heavy price for unwanted children.

  8. You go, girl!!! I am with you!!

  9. Thanks, MB. I've been thinking about the right-wing caveat "...excepting [pregnancies resulting from] rape or incest." Quite magnanimous of the right-to-lifers, huh? A point we can all agree on, right? Well, no. First of all, a case of rape: Who determines that a rape has indeed occurred, and how? A woman seeks an abortion, claiming she was raped. Do we take her word for it? If not, does she have to have pressed charges? Been examined by a physician? How far do we go with this? How much s_it do we make her go through to "prove" she's "eligible" for our oh-so-generous exception? And incest? How exactly does that exemption coexist with the requirement for parental consent that the conservatives advocate?

    Going further, why does the embryo of a rapist not have the same "right to life" as any other? After all, it's just an innocent unborn baby; only God has the right to terminate a life. So did God tell the conservatives that the unborn child of a rapist is unworthy?

    Going in the other direction, if we're going to make exceptions, how about cases in which the pregnant woman is a victim of abuse? Suicidal? Abusive herself? Lives in hopeless, grinding poverty? How about those embryos? When we make these exceptions, aren’t we playing God? Aren’t we saying to desperate pregnant women, “You - yes; you - no.” If that’s not playing God, I don’t know what is.

    Whatever it is, it’s more control than any human(s) should have over any other human(s). Better to let the individual woman work it out with her own conscience and directly with her own God. If it’s wrong to kill an embryo, it’s a whole lot wronger to dictate what goes on in its mother’s womb and soul.

  10. I found your blog from I'mNotSorry.net. I saw that when it came out. The terrible fact is things have become so much worse for women in the States. President Obama has said nothing on the record level of anti-choice legislation raining down. He has thrown us under the bus to appease the Rethuglican party and the American Taliban.*

    The pro-choice side has let the right wing frame the issue for so long it's hard to tell what side they're on: "Oh, but abortion is such a hard decision", "Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare"; "It's such a tragic choice!" President Obama: "It should be between a woman, her doctor, and her pastor" (as if all of us are married, and Christians!).

    It should be safe, legal, FREE, and done whenever a woman wants. I don't give a rip if she uses it as birth control, if she wasn't using birth control, was drunk, whatever. I don't care. I'd rather she got an abortion tbh. The population is far too large as it is and too many people have children only to neglect them.

    *Christians. I'm sick of hearing "But we're not all like that!" and "Oh, those right-wingers aren't Real Christians". Start policing your fellow fanatics, and yes they are REAL Christians. You just don't like it because it makes you uncomfortable. Whenever someone says they're Christian, I automatically am on guard and assume they are a narrow-minded asshole until proven otherwise. Own it!

  11. Wow, PBG. As you can see, I posted your comment after editing. Thanks for writing in. I'm with ya 100%!

  12. My favortie bumper sticker: "Just Say No to Sex with Pro-Lifers" (I call them forced birthers or fetus huggers / humpers, but most people wouldn't get it).

    Totally agree about including boys in all this. The onus is always placed on girls and I'm sick of it. Give them as much information and birth control as they need without shame or apology. LMAO: I remember a skit from a comedy show: The Chappelle Show: At a high school assembly, the school did a sex ed. presentation: The principal and one of the teachers had sex in front of the school. That'll teach 'em!