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January 29, 2007

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Patrick Rothwell

Does Charlene's "I've Never Been To Me" qualify? :-)

Susan

"Play It As It Lays" by Joan Didion would be a difficult, worthwhile addition.

Morning's Minion

The issue of abortion came up in "Battlestar Galactica" when the president instructed the military to abort the child of a female Cylon, whose father was human. The father was willing to risk his own life to defend his child. It was a very powerful episode.

BG has a habit of dealing with very controversial issues in a head-on way, including torture, suicide bombing, terrorism, fear-mongering, racism etc.

Todd

Going back about 20 years, there's Jonathan Carroll's Bones of the Moon.

Lickona

Wait for my graphic novel...
In the meantime, there's a Gwendolyn Brooks poem over at ye olde blog:
http://www.matthewlickona.com/blog/2007/01/poetry-corner-unborn-edition.html

monica

I didn't have time to read his whole entry (if there's more than what you've posted here), but I do know that Julie D at Happy Catholic blog mentioned (or reviewed) a writer named Katherine Valentine in one of her blog posts back in December. Valentine appears to have a pro-life theme going through one of her books.

monica

Dittoing "Play it as it Lays".

Black Johann

Tim Powers' "The Way Down the Hill" from his _Strange Itineraries_ collection.

Jeff Miller

St. Blog's own Kathryn Lively has an excellent novel that deals with abortion - Little Flowers

Paul

The best fiction I ever read about abortion was a short story titled, "The Prepersons" by Philip K. Dick in which children could be "aborted" up until the age of 8 when they became fully human by virtue of the ability to do basic mathematics. The story hit me so hard that it made me realize that abortion kills real human beings. I am surprised that pro-life groups do not hand off free copies of this story at every event.

The second fictional work that had a similar impact was, "The Thanatos Syndrome," which made me realize that we were following the same path as Pre-Nazi Germany and that we would probably be judged more harshly than they by history.

stuart chessman

Hugo von Hoffmansthal - noted German(Austrian)Catholic poet and writer who died in 1929 - wrote an opera libretto with an explicit (almost didactic) pro-life theme: Die Frau ohne Schatten. Richard Strauss composed the score. The magnificent production from 1966 used to be a highlight of the Meteropolitan Opera in NY. I can't recommend the current one.

Richard

"BG has a habit of dealing with very controversial issues in a head-on way, including torture, suicide bombing, terrorism, fear-mongering, racism etc."

And there was that other episode, second season, where pro-choice feminist President Roslin finally caves to pressure to ban abortion - albeit not before signing off on one final abortion.

A very striking scene on the journey is when Adama nods at the dry erase board behind Roslin's desk where she keeps a running (and dropping) count of how many humans are still alive.

"It's not often we see that number move in the other direction," he suggests.

Roslin is left without any easy reply.

maria horvath

There's a less-well known poem by Spike Milligan (1917-2002), the British comedian.

Some references below may need to be translated into American. "Wimpole Street" is a street in London where offices of high-priced private medical specialists are located. "Queens Counsel," as viewers of the wonderful Rumpole Series on PBS have learned, refers to senior members of the Bar. And Danny La Rue was a very funny and popular female impersonator.

UNTO US . . .

Somewhere at some time
They committed themselves to me
And so, I was!
Small, but I WAS!
Tiny, in shape
Lusting to live
I hung in my pulsing cave.
Soon they knew of me
My mother -- my father.
I had no say in my being
I lived on trust
And love
Tho' I couldn't think
Each part of me was saying
A silent "Wait for me
I will bring you love!"
I was taken
Blind, naked, defenseless
By the hand of one
Whose good name
Was graven on a brass plate
In Wimpole Street,
And dropped on the sterile floor
Of a foot-operated plastic waste bucket.
There was no Queens Counsel
To take my brief.
The cot I might have warmed
Stood in Harrod's shop window.
When my passing was told
My father smiled.
No grief filled my empty space.
My death was celebrated
With tickets to see Danny La Rue
Who was pretending to be a woman
Like my mother was.

~ Spike Milligan

stuart chessman

And of course there is the "Sword of Honour" trilogy of Evelyn Waugh, especially the final volume, "Unconditional Surrender." You can't get more pro - life on the abortion issuethan that. Although there are two different versions of the ending...

Jim McCullough

Tim Powers' haunting "The Way Down the Hill" is also in hardback, in NIGHT MOVES published by Subterranean Press.

ambrose

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. The home-method abortion kills April Wheeler. And there is the line from Frank Wheeler about how unnatural it is for a wife not to want to bear her husband's child.

Veronica

The link to Ayalet Waldman's words about her late term abortion was quite chilling. This was a woman who knew exactly what she was doing, who knew she was killing her child, and who didn't care and went ahead anyway. You can't be much worse than that, all in the name of a false "mercy".

I truly hope she regrets her abortion one day, otherwise she's in for a very bad place in the afterlife.

Scherza

One of the reasons I love watching Battlestar Galactica is that it, like so many other shows and books in the sci-fi/fantasy genres, is able to present an unflinching look at real issues.

It doesn't make the answers to the questions easy or simple...and I think the show's writers do a darn good job of not pushing one view or another.

Kevin Jones

Andre Dubus' short story "Miranda over the Valley"(?) drives home the pain and emotional disconnect a post-abortive woman goes through.

Haven't there been a few anti-abortion horror stories, like unborn ghosts haunting others?

I have an image in my mind of an abortionist checking into a Bates' Motel in a crime-ridden area. The clerk assures him that he'll be as safe as a babe in her mother's womb. It feels like the opening to a slasher flick.

Maclin Horton

Abortion figures prominently, and negatively, in one of John Cheever's more well-known stories. Unfortunately I can't remember for sure which one. "The Enormous Radio," maybe?

Sarah

A scifi short story whose author I do not remember allowed abortion up to age 5, at which time the child was emancipated and taken away from the parents to live in his or her own apartment ... the mother aborted her boy the day before he was going away, because he wouldn't miss her.

Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" is a haunting tale of an (alternative scientific capability) present through the eyes of a human nonperson.

Dorian Speed

Yes, it's "The Enormous Radio."

Bill

The reason that this issue will not play is that biology does not support it and the issue is too polarized. Therefore, people look at it differently.

Now on torture there is plenty of art on the subject because it is very real and sinful. But First Things will not get into that since it bailed out on the issue and avoided it while Protestant Evangelicals boldly criticized President Bush on the inhuman torture fostered by his administration.

And then Neuhaus tried to support torture in a backhanded way by writing that the abuse does not take away the use. Mind boggling.

Matthew Fish

Andre Dubus's "Miranda Over the Valley" is the best story on abortion I know of. "Hills Like White Elephants" is number two.

Sandra Miesel

I ditto on "Way Down the Hill" which isn't obviously about abortion so the reader gets his message unaware.

Fred Saberhagen (another Catholic sf writer)wrote a prolife, anti-sexual revolution novel called LOVE CONQUERS ALL but it's too didactic.

The heroine of Poul Anderson's THE STARS ARE ALSO FIRE rejects abortion and acknowledges the humanity of a baby she loses to miscarriage.

An unwed mother in Jerry Pournelle's novel JANISSARIES rejects abortion as a solution. A reviewer refused to believe that any woman in that situation wouldn't abort.

Leslie

I would strongly suggest "Body Art," a short story in A. S. Byatt's collection The Little Black Book of Stories.

An affirmative nod to Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which, though not about abortion, very much concerns life issues.

don westervill

I think the scarcity of poetry and prose is due to the unspeakable nature of abortion. Giving words to the sin will expose the act for what it really really is, and I think it frightens us in both its enormity and our complicity. Millions upon millions of walking- wounded who have participated at every level of abortion, yet are silent. But the silence is screaming...deafening us all into a passive response.
I spoke with a friend, who had written poetry many years ago, but had abandoned the effort. She had abruptly left the church at the same time. She confided that after her first aborton, she wanted to die also. She developed a desire to punish herself, as society would not even consider her act of transgression anything but a celebrated "choice." She punished herself by giving up her painting and drawing, her poetry and word-craft; these things of beauty, she no longer felt capable of bringing into the world... Anyway, under cover of anonymity, she gave me the following short poems:


Moon-glint
light my tears
Smile on me stars,
Night-fog
ease the burn with cool mist.

God is Love
Love is to forgive
Love God forgive me.

Sunbeam
play with him in the Love God's heaven.

&

The chimes do not sound - glitter
they clank and rattle
and racous-voiced signal the wind.

water runs, a siren, a home-run.

I lie in bed,
thousands of miles away from myself.
I lie, toss.

a light, a poem-book, the radio.

Eyes heavy,
how blessed would be the wake-less sleep
Re-membering dismembering.

&

These daylight raids
need no night for cover.
These lawless days.
My guilt requires no warrant - it plunges in,
knife sharp
knife guilt cutting my sanity.
Opening wounds, breaking windows to my soul,
though the door opens easily enough.
The sin - exposed
Raw
of the unborn child I bleed.
I have no defense.

frankxx

Walter Miller's Canticle for Leibowitz stresses prolife themes throughout, especially book 3.

What a great poem from Spike Milligan.

Anon

How about "Horton Hears a Who!"? A person's a person, no matter how small.

Melody

The fiction of Dean Koontz has a surprisingly pro-life message. I am thinking of "One Door From Heaven" as an example. One of the protagonists is a young handicapped girl whose stepfather thinks she would be better off dead. Physically or mentally challenged people play major parts in many of his books: always the focus is against a utilitarian view of human life.

Atlantic

I wish one by Neil Gaiman had been written. He said in an interview, "There was a Sandman story I wanted to write, which would have been a heartbreaker, and would have been about the dreams and hopes of an unborn baby, who was, for whatever reason, never going to be born. I didn't write it because I could imagine it being thrust in front of some pregnant teenager who didn't want to be pregnant to make her change her mind about what she was going to do."

I was so disappointed in him.

Atlantic

I wish one by Neil Gaiman had been written. He said in an interview, "There was a Sandman story I wanted to write, which would have been a heartbreaker, and would have been about the dreams and hopes of an unborn baby, who was, for whatever reason, never going to be born. I didn't write it because I could imagine it being thrust in front of some pregnant teenager who didn't want to be pregnant to make her change her mind about what she was going to do."

I was so disappointed in him.

John Farrell

Years ago (meaning back in the mid 70s) Harlan Ellison wrote a fascinating, creepy story (possibly a hugo nominee--every year the guy was being nominated for several stories) about a man who goes into the tunnels under a futuristic city where he encounters the survivors of abortions...fetuses flushed into the sewers...that somehow survived and evolved.

I was never a fan of Ellison overall, but that story struck me as the first I ever read treating of abortion.

Ken

Harlan Ellison wrote a fascinating, creepy story (possibly a hugo nominee--every year the guy was being nominated for several stories) about a man who goes into the tunnels under a futuristic city where he encounters the survivors of abortions...fetuses flushed into the sewers...that somehow survived and evolved.

The title was "Croatoan". And somebody did a comics adaptation of it during the Eighties B&W comics boom-and-bust. That's all I remember.

Donald R.McClarey

"The reason that this issue will not play is that biology does not support it"

What in the world does that mean?

Andrea Harris

Science fiction writer Andre Norton had a short fantasy story, "The Toads of Grimmerdale," about a woman who is raped by invaders and who finds herself pregnant, but refuses to rid herself of the child.

There's actually a lot of prolife fiction around. In fact, I can't really think of any good fiction (as opposed to superficial, shallow fiction) that has a positive outlook on abortion or on any other fast 'n' easy "cure" for difficult situations. Fiction, which is about "real" characters a human being created out of his or her own thoughts and dreams -- writers often talk about their books as "their children" -- if it is any good, is prolife in its very being. (Though some really bad novels and stories can be described as abortions, or maybe miscarriages.)

anon

There is a Neil Gaiman story about abortion, actually. It's called "Mouse," and it's in the anthology _Smoke and Mirrors_. It may not be pro-life exactly, but it's very creepy in a quiet way.

TheYeomanFarmer

An excellent pro-life novel is "Emily's Hope," by Catholic writer Ellen Gable.

Tim LaHaye's novel "Black Friday" is a young adult thriller that goes inside the abortion industry, with the protagonists uncovering all kind of horrors. I haven't read it, but saw an excellent review on a pro-life website.

bearing

Several of Margaret Atwood's novels have abortion themes. The treatment isn't pro-life exactly --- it's more a subtext of abortion is troubling and creepy. Although they don't offer a definite conclusion of "abortion is bad," they challenge the "just a choice/not a big deal/good for women" mentality.

I think they can start the young feminist mind headed in the right direction, because Atwood is firmly classified as a feminist writer, and yet her treatment of abortion (and motherhood generally) is clearly unsettled with the choice-choice-choice line. I have no idea what Atwood herself would say about her own abortion politics, but there's nothing positive about abortion in her novels.

Eileen R

bearing, Atwood is vehemently pro-choice. Just goes to show that it's hard for any fiction to present abortion completely positively.

David Deavel

Jeff Koloze, a community college English prof has done a number of papers about pro-life related literature collected in the University Faculty for Life proceedings. I've heard he has a book coming out, but I don't know when or who's publishing it.

Mimi

For pure fluff, I've often found Danielle Steele's books to be ProLife as well - I've not read any since the early 90s, but I remember Daddy and the one about the Titanic particuarly being ProLife.

Rosa

The Waldman piece is astonishing in the way it captures the adolescent mind(set) and only gets crazier when juxtaposed with the well-known risible piece on why she wished her kids could get out of the way so she pay homage more often to her husband's, shall we say, member?

What if you substituted the premise of Why I Have a Slave. Her piece might go, "Hey, sorry, but I'm overwhelmed and to be who I want to be I need a slave. Slave. There I said it. Slave. Another life forfeited so I could have mine."

Jendi

It's been awhile since I read it, but Orson Scott Card's "Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eumenides_in_the_Fourth_Floor_Lavatory) might fit the bill. A man is haunted by fetus-like creatures because of the callous way he treats his female lovers.

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