June 24, 2019

"When 'The Cider House Rules' was published, some of my younger friends and fellow feminists thought it was quaint that I’d written a historical novel about abortion."

"They meant: now that abortion rights were secure, now that Roe v. Wade was the law of the land. At the time, I tried to say this nicely: 'If you think Roe v. Wade is safe, you’re one of the reasons it isn’t.' Not surprisingly, my older women friends — women who were old enough to have had sex before 1973 — knew better than to imagine that Roe v. Wade would ever be safe. Men and women have to keep making the case for women’s reproductive rights; women have been making the case for years, but more men need to speak up. Of an unmarried woman or girl who got pregnant, people of my grandparents’ generation used to say: 'She is paying the piper.' Meaning, she deserves what she gets — namely, to give birth to a child. That cruelty is the abiding impetus behind the dishonestly named right-to-life movement. Pro-life always was (and remains) a marketing term. Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother."

From "The Long, Cruel History of the Anti-Abortion Crusade/Abortion opponents don’t care what happens to an unwanted child, and they’ve never cared about the mother" by the novelist John Irving (NYT).

146 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

Talk about beating your strawman to death.

Irving's supposed to be an elite writer, correct? And he writes hysterical bullshit like this?

wild chicken said...

"Pro-life" was marketing but "pro-choice" wasn't. Got it.

Wince said...

Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother."

Untrue statement: Like most people, pro-lifers are against people being killed by their parent after they're born.

Marvin Gaye is a good example.

Fernandistein said...

'She is paying the piper.'

Nowadays it's "He is paying the woman."

Humperdink said...

"'If you think Roe v. Wade is safe ......"

When the ruling comes from on high, against the wishes of a large portion of the electorate, it will never be safe. Thankfully.

Gahrie said...

"Pro-choice always was (and remains) a marketing term. Whatever the pro-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to a baby — not either before or after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about how abortion harms the mother."

gspencer said...

"people of my grandparents’ generation used to say: 'She is paying the piper.' Meaning, she deserves what she gets"

"Lets see. Accept personal responsibility or murder my child. Hmmmm. I'll take the easy way out."

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

What ST said.

How can a person whose lived his entire life and career choosing language carefully say something so obviously absurd as the “they don’t care about the baby once it is born” pantload? He should be embarrassed for conversing at the same level as the mouthbreathers on Tumblr and Reddit.

Milo Minderbinder said...

Both sides are all about marketing. Given our plummeting birth rate, shouldn't everyone focus on preserving life? Support parents from conception through a post-birth family paid leave program.

traditionalguy said...

She is right. Raising children is being imposed on the women...and on the men and finally the police and military who must try and protect the new people from easily being murdered for profit.

Quaestor said...

Irving's lampoon of the pro-life stance is almost... almost, but not quite, as bogus as this lampoon of pro-choice:

Feminists demand consequence-free sex — either they get to kill their babies or someone else foots the bill for Junior's existence.

Gahrie said...

She is paying the piper.' Meaning, she deserves what she gets — namely, to give birth to a child. That cruelty is the abiding impetus behind the dishonestly named right-to-life movement.

When exactly did giving birth become a cruel punishment inflicted on women by the Patriarchy?

Pro-life always was (and remains) a marketing term.

The pro-abortion crowd began playing word games long before the anti-abortion crowd.

Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born

Pro-life organizxations have developed programs to help pregnant women across the country, and their are no unwanted children...there are more people trying to adopt than babies available, which is why Americans adopt so many babies from overseas.

— and they’ve never cared about the mother."

Bullshit. We just care about the baby too. And by the way...where is any mention of the father and his interests?

GingerBeer said...

When has the Left ever accepted that those who with whom they disagree do so in good faith? Every issue the Left holds dear must have its Emmanuel Goldstein.

JZ said...

This is hysterical — and I don’t mean funny.

Two-eyed Jack said...

To me, the most glaring "marketing term" is the use of "reproductive rights" to mean the right
to eliminate offspring. Something like "a woman's termination rights" would at least line up with reality.

Lurker21 said...

I have hated John Irving (and Robin Williams) since Garp and not bothered with them since. At the time it was the worst movie I had ever seen.

Seeing Robin Williams all sweaty during one of his comedy specials, it was clear that he had psychological problems. It was also apparent that Irving had never gotten over high school wrestling. The man had limited life experience and even more limited imagination and was trying to stretch what he had further than it would go.

GatorNavy said...

I am ever so glad we have eloquent, erudite authors such as Irving to articulate falsehoods and folklore of the kill babies crowd.

narciso said...

I looked at all the British paper, not a one mentioned the mandated abortion

Fen said...

Men and women have to keep making the case for women’s reproductive rights; women have been making the case for years, but more men need to speak up.

LOL. Reminds me of the tone deaf feminist who posted on Facebook about respecting women's rights. In the very next response she put men's rights in scare quotes as if they were a joke.

I'll start speaking up for the reproductive rights of women when they start acknowledging that men have reproductive rights too.

Heartless Aztec said...

I have never gone back and re-read anything John Irving wrote after reading it the first time.

Not an oldster. said...

The anti-Catholicism in that article is telling...
If he weren't a best-selling (but critically unacclaimed) East Coast white man author of the past, no way does his bigotry get published. (He should have written about the complexities in his own multiple families' background, and not hidden behind his she'd make-believe characters.

Don't hate on the Catholics for their contributions to uplifting American society, Mr. Phillips Exeter (by adoption, nttawwt.)

Jessica said...

The idea that pro-life people don't care about the baby once it's born, or the mother at all .... It's such a demonstrable, tired lie. It's just a lazy slander masquerading as argument.

wendybar said...

There was a video making it's rounds on FB last week of a young father outside of an Abortion clinic crying because HE had NO CHOICE in his girlfriends killing of his child. She murdered his baby that HE wanted. So glad she had her choice. I hope she can live with it. (and I hope he leaves her)

Not an oldster. said...

Over ... Rated ...
Over ... Rated ...

(It's a hockey chant that applies here.)

Over ... Rated

Fen said...

How can a person whose lived his entire life and career choosing language carefully say something so obviously absurd as the “they don’t care about the baby once it is born” pantload?

Probably because, on some level, he is aware that his position is monstrous. So he needs to paint "both sides" as monsters so he doesn't feel shame.

jerpod said...

You know what's a marketing term? Planned Parenthood.

n.n said...

Assumes facts not supported by evidence.

Pro-life. Pro-human rights. Reconciliation.

jerpod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

It's an idle academic interest, virtue signalling. No hard work.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

I used to own a biography of Canadian novelist Robertson Davies, a writer Irving admired immensely and considered a friend. (Davies, privately, was rather less enthusiastic about Irving's work.) Davies was opposed to abortion. He criticized it, not only in interviews but in his novels. Did Irving ever call out his friend for his "evil" views or did he stick to making up and railing against imaginary strawmen - those heartless anti-abortion people he never met?

Not an oldster. said...

Irving's hoping to get a Trump bump of his own in his book sales no doubt, with an assist from the NYT, already high on their digital sales spike pushing fake news under President Trump.

n.n said...

Talk about beating your strawman to death.

It's a straw clown posing as a a straw man, that bounces back at political congruent moments, and sustained with political myths.

MikeR said...

Mind-reading, and slander. Go away.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, feminists will learn to accept reasonable, common sense restrictions on abortion, or it’s Alabama everywhere.

Rory said...

"I have never gone back and re-read anything John Irving wrote after reading it the first time."

If you read two of his books, then you might as well have read the first one twice. It's a very limited world, and abortion is one of his chestnuts.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Ben Sasse shares the reality of the modern left.
The modern left are now positioning you, the basket of deplorable, as racist and anti-Semitic if you do not support abortion at any stage for any reason, on demand and paid for by the tax payer.

rhhardin said...

Stanley Cavell

...Conservatives on the abortion question sometimes say that liberals do not regard human embryos as human beings; liberals seem forced to agree. - But does one really believe such assertions? My feeling is that they cannot really be meant. Of course the words mean something; they are not spoken at random. In what spirit are such words said? ...

The most a liberal thinks is that abortion is a moral option, that the cost in human suffering is immeasurably greater without the option than with it, and that the state unwisely or tyrannically exercises its police powers when it attempts to close off this option. The time may have come when the option of abortion can only be attacked on the ground that the human embryo is a human being. (There was a time when it was generally attacked on the ground, and when it was true, that it was too great a risk to the mother's health.) The trouble with the ultimate attack is not merely that the argument that human embryos are human beings cannot finally be won, but that the statement that they are cannot fully be meant - which is not surprising if the argument against it is exactly as strong as the argument in its favor...This is not a matter of a lack of sincerity, but a matter of the lack of ways to express this sincerity. There is just one definite thing the conservative does not want done to this embryo, and nothing at all, or nothing more, he can want done for it. There is, however, something clear he wants and something he sees and something he feels. What he wants is for the embryo to be seen as a human being: he wants the internal relation between human embryos and human beings to strike you. He can see it this way, and demand this perception of you, because he sees that the human embryo is human (not a human; but human as opposed, say, to wolf); you can also say that it is a human in embryo. This is enough to be struck by to found a feeling of abhorrence at the idea that this life should be aborted. A person can understandably be blind to these perceptions. I claim not to be, and yet I claim to be a liberal on the issue of abortion - not merely tolerant of it but passionately in favor of its legalization, convinced that those who wish to oppose it legally are tyrannical and sentimental hypocrites. Evidently I abhor other things more than I do abortion. What these things are is anything but original, yet important to specify. Unjust laws, for example; in this case, ones that discriminate against the poor and the uneducated and the abandoned. And, for example, the facts of unwanted or neglected children. That legal abortion is an alternative to unjust laws and neglected children is a matter not of good logic but of bad institutions. If, for a start, society were so arranged that adopting a child were no more difficult to cause than having a child ... [list of social improvements to bad institutions]

The Claim of Reason p.372ff

JPS said...

"women have been making the case for years, but more men need to speak up."

I just checked with Pew Research, and today, "Men and women express similar views on abortion; 60% of women say it should be legal in all or most cases, as do 57% of men." (I don't think that apparent 3% difference is significant.)

I seem to recall that, at least in the 1990s, the most pro-choice demographic in the country was that of men, aged 18-38. I can only assume this was out of a high-minded concern for women's reproductive rights.

I had forgotten John Irving was still alive. I liked (didn't love) "The World According to Garp." Never read "The Cider House Rules" but thought the movie was awful (and Michael Caine was excellent).

jaydub said...

This is a non problem. Most feminists have a built in birth control mechanism that makes pregnancy impossible.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

The other side has no argument! It’s all marketing an insincerity cloaked in fake concern for those they really don’t care about.

We have all the facts and logic on our side and you need not listen to anyone opposed!

Copy, paste. Copy, paste. Copy, paste.

Fen said...

Of an unmarried woman or girl who got pregnant, people of my grandparents’ generation used to say: 'She is paying the piper.' Meaning, she deserves what she gets — namely, to give birth to a child. That cruelty is the abiding impetus -

Notice the dishonest language: women "get" pregnant, like catching a cold, it's not a risk they CHOSE to accept.

So yes, she's getting what she asked for:

1) She knew that intercourse carried the risk of pregnancy, yet she CHOSE to accept that risk

2) She knew that birth control is not 100% effective, yet she CHOSE to accept that risk too.

She risked pregnancy to engage in sex. Why is she not responsible for the reproductive choices she made? If you gamble at the track and lose the rent money, does your landlord waive your rent for that month?

Alexander said...

One of those "Republicans don't understand Democrats / Democrats don't understand Republicans" think pieces is going around. One of the data points was that the more educated a liberal was, the less they understood conservatives / Republicans. This seems like an apt illustration.

It requires a lot of self-deception not to notice Catholic / Evangelical support for foster care, adoption, and the countless smaller ministries focused on exactly these things.

Marc said...

Mors et vita duello....

Fen said...

The most a liberal thinks is that abortion is a moral option, that the cost in human suffering is immeasurably greater without the option than with it -

This is how badly abortion has crippled the morality of it's supporters.

Who gave you the right to determine when someone else's suffering justified ending their life?

Fucking authoritarian busybodies have their nose in everyone else's life to avoid looking at their own.

I'm with Lincoln - those who support slavery should feel the whip on their backs, those who support abortion should feel the scissors inserted into their skulls.

AvoCat said...

The slaveowners used to ask, Who is going to feed and house all of these slaves, if they are freed? You abolitionists?

It was a poor argument in favor of slavery.

Avocat

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Can't "elite" publications at least come up with fresh bullshit? Bullshit that at least attests to above-average intelligence and some level of craft? That isn't stale, shit-tier college-student-level polemic from the '60s and '70s, recycled and recognizable as recently published only by the supersaturation of hysteria?

I know I'm repeating myself here, but the stupidity and rank crudity of the propaganda being churned out by the usual suspects continues to blow me away. (As does our hostess's opinion that this caliber of writing isn't "trashy".)

Not an oldster. said...

In the post war years, America could afford to support women bearing children out of wedlock because such situations were rare, adoptions common, and families of the pregnant stepped up to provide support.

Somehow, this now translates to a demand -- here by a 77 year old, urginv men to get on board too, for society to support consequence free sex, with the offspring not seen as sacred but disposable.

Thankfully, old Irving I'd not in the majority. Wait to have sex until you can prevent conception, or afford to bear the consequences. Life is not a pretty, post war America novel.

21st century American women have the tools to prevent unwanted conception when they have sex. Responsible men should lay with these types, and not talk a naive unprepared woman into sex, with legal abortion as his "avoid responsibility" card.

If you read what he is really saying, it is a sick attitude that gives women little agency in managing their sex desires without legal abortion.

So surprised this one made it past the allegedly woke feminists, the recent appointees to the NYT editorial department for equal representation.

Not an oldster. said...

(Somebody must have or have had a personal relationship with author Irving to slip this one in...)

Paul Mac said...

Fascinating how weak the arguments have gotten when you have to resort to the idea that those who disagree must be insincere. Sounds desperate and rather pathetic.

We have adopted one and would love to take care of more, know many others who would jump at the chance as well. Each amazing life has so much opportunity and potential.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Pro-life always was (and remains) a marketing term. Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother."

With literally millions of people on waiting lists to adopt children, pro-abortion advocates advertise their cluelessness and their propensity to smear opponents. As with everything Progressives rail against, this skank is projecting hard. THEY don’t care about the baby. THEY gleefully approve of ripping a living thing limb from limb. The same people active enough to call themselves “pro-life” are the ones working hard to place babies with loving adoptive parents. There aren’t enough American babies to satisfy demand. Adopting parents are often forced to take foreign babies.

Yes, let’s have an open and honest debate about those “unwanted” children.

tim maguire said...

Cider House Rules, the evolution of a pro-life person into an abortionist, without articulating a single reason why someone might be against abortion. Was it a surprise that the "pro-lifer" became an abortionist simply because a friend of his needed an abortion? Yeah, that was a serious analysis of a serious topic.

Rocketeer said...

John Irving is a hack, and anyone who disagrees is a dull Philistine.

Sebastian said...

"to give birth to a child. That cruelty"

There's the vileness of the abortionists in a nutshell.

Look, if I could actually vote on the matter, as I think the Constitution, you know, like, that written thingy more than 100 years old, allows, considering it says nothing about the matter, so that it should be left to states, I probably would support a short period of non-criminalization in early pregnancy.

But the way pro-abortion activists defend it is an utter outrage.

Nancy said...

I have a friend who declares that the 3 month embryo isn't a human being, it's a fish. I wonder how she'd feel about cooking and eating it.

buwaya said...

I used to like John Irving.

What he cites, and hates, is peasant wisdom.

Otto said...

Hey Ann speaking about concern for women, how about a post on Nadler shamelessly calling Hope Hicks Ms Lewandowski.
BTW Hope did a great job at that hearing of how the Russian Collusion meme was a hoax https://thefederalist.com/2019/06/24/hope-hickss-testimony-destroyed-trump-russia-collusion-narrative/

daskol said...

I was really moved by Irving's books, in particular Garp, Owen Meany and Cider House Rules, and read and reread them. In high school, they seemed really deep. By the time I was just a little older, like a lot of what I had enjoyed in high school, they seemed really a bit silly. Specifically, it seemed like Irving had a lovely way with words and telling a story, and the moral sophistication of a precocious high school kid.

daskol said...

Oh, and I liked and was disturbed by the Hotel New Hampshire too, the incest one. He just kills off characters sometimes when it's easier for them than dealing with the consequences of their actions.

Laslo Spatula said...

Being purposely a provocateur here:

It is assumed in such statements that the Pro-Life person is supposed to care about the mother.

Why?

Sure, it feels good, but:

If you believe the unborn child is an innocent human being, then whet the mother is doing is no different than a mentally-unstable person holding a gun to a hostage's head.

It would be nice for everyone to be saved, but if the police have to shoot the person with the gun to save the innocent being, we accept that as a better outcome in a field of bad possibilities.

What I find interesting about this scenario is that both sides can claim it for their own (for different reasons, of course).

You're welcome.

I am Laslo.

stever said...

With Roe in place, the "avoid responsibility" card became part of the calculus for young men of my age. If anything that increased the chances of an unplanned pregnancy and lessened the chances that males would be responsible -- either before sex and subsequently.

An unplanned pregnancy leading to marriage is not ideal obviously but its not the only way things can go wrong.

Char Char Binks said...

Abortion, then as now, is mostly about abusers forcing women to kill an inconvenient person. Consider Justice Nathalie Lieven

daskol said...

That's like the flipside of the forced abortion in the UK: no side can claim that one.

Pillage Idiot said...

The term "reproductive rights" is positively Orwellian. Any foreign-born speaker would take it to mean exactly the opposite of the meaning implied by the pro-abortion crowd.

Reproductive rights should literally mean your right to reproduce. China interferes with the actual reproductive rights of Chinese women. You are only allowed to produce one child.

The abortion controversy in the US is a debate over termination rights. Talk about marketing - the pro-abortion crowd has inverted language.

They don't even need marketing to make the inverted language part of the lexicon, since the major media, Hollywood, the social media companies, and the teacher's unions all back Leftist causes.

rcocean said...

Irving lost his fast ball as a novelist, so he turned to politics. It was an easy way to sell books.

rcocean said...

Last time I looked Roe V. Wade was the law of the land, and there's zero evidence that it will be overturned anytime soon. Yet, Liberals continue to march and blather like the Religious Right is taking over America. They're like some senile old person who keeps telling the same story over and over and over again.

daskol said...

It does seem like Irving, in a bid for relevance, is trying to out-woke the woke kids.

Tina848 said...

I guess all those Children's Homes run by Catholic Charities are not real. Or the Birthright assistance centers, or the Mennonite Children's homes (I live in Southeastern PA), or Bethany Christian Services, or Lutheran Home for Children. Who runs the orphanages around the world - religious organizations. Who provides Charity Medical Care - Catholic Hospitals, Baptist Hospitals, I can go on. I did not even begin listing the Evangelical organizations who help babies and children, there are sooo many. Just a disingenuous argument.

Jake said...

I enjoyed the World According to Garp. All I remember from Cider House Rules was the film that came after. Wasn't the Michael Caine character an ether addict or something?

Birches said...

Boomers always go back to how society existed before birth control was widely available if abortion were more restricted. This assumes facts not in evidence. Doesn't Ted Cruz want to legalize OTC birth control?

Ken B said...

The abortion “debate” is a sham used by both parties to whip up their bases. The status quo will not change dramatically no matter who wins or who appoints whom.

policraticus said...

As the proud father of three unwanted children, whom my wife and I joyously adopted, John Irving and his bullshit argument can fuck off.

No one is better off dead. No one.

No one's life is made better by killing the innocent. That is a lie. Easier? Maybe. In the short run, at least. But if the cost of your happiness and success is the life of someone else, what does that mean?? You would think a novelist of Irving's caliber would be more inquisitive.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

After reading about the state imposed forced abortion in the UK yesterday, conducted under the usual Orwellian term that wicked, evil-loving libs utilize- pro-choice - this democrat party member popping his fusty mildewed celebrity out of the primordial slime to croak up a few foul imprecations to support the cult of baby killers.
Perfect timing.

policraticus said...

I should add that we thank God every day that our children's birth parents didn't listen to people like John Irving. Both mother's were pressured to abort the fetuses inside them, the fetuses that would become Will, Owen and Gabi, our dear children. Thank God they had the courage and the love to care for them for 9 months and then endure childbirth in order to give them a chance. Without them Will wouldn't be reading a grade level ahead of his class, he wouldn't love throwing the football in perfect spirals, Owen, his twin brother wouldn't be a math wiz who loves riding bikes and being on the boat, Gabby wouldn't be playing the violin, and the ukulele, she wouldn't be drawing and painting and singing her way through the house... they would all just been dead. Like millions of others. So, once again I say, fuck off, John Irving.

stever said...

^ this

Rick said...

Pro-life always was (and remains) a marketing term.

We'll make them change to anti-abortion when the left gives up its marketing term and labels itself pro-abortion.

DarkHelmet said...

There is something fundamentally twisted in Irving and he knows it. Hence the attempts to justify the unjustifiable.

Rick said...

they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother."

Remember this when left wingers whine that others don't respect them or their arguments.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Laslo: "It would be nice for everyone to be saved, but if the police have to shoot the person with the gun to save the innocent being, we accept that as a better outcome in a field of bad possibilities.

What I find interesting about this scenario is that both sides can claim it for their own (for different reasons, of course)."
****************

Pro-life preferred outcome: metaphorically shoot the mother, and save the baby.

Pro-choice preferred outcome: actually KILL the baby, and save the mother.

Not the same at all.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Here is a column in the NYT that illustrates the major point of Buwaya Puti's constant refrain about the Hidden Power behind the curtain controlling things. One day, an actual event occurs which exposes the deceit and dishonesty of a lib policy plank like baby-killing, and the very next day some vile piece-of-shit celebrity author who is popular with smug lib pseudointellectuals pens a self-congratulatory rallying cry to rouse support for the baby-killers.

cubanbob said...

The most a liberal thinks is that abortion is a moral option, that the cost in human suffering is immeasurably greater without the option than with it - "

Another form of euthanasia. Why not euthanize the poor? Think of all the suffering that would be eliminated.

SeanF said...

AvoCat: The slaveowners used to ask, Who is going to feed and house all of these slaves, if they are freed? You abolitionists?

It was a poor argument in favor of slavery.


It's an even poorer argument in favor of abortion, because the live birth rate did not go down after Roe v. Wade, so there's no reason to presume it would go up if Roe were overturned.

readering said...

Just returned from vacation in UK and France. This debate does not exist there. Why? No right wing evangelical movement and no political power for RC Church. Not that many folks aren't anti-abortion. Proper outrage over new UK judicial ruling. But politics not warped by preachers and prelates.

Fernandistein said...

This problem has to get solved in my lifetime. I don't know of a person or a city that has solved it:

"The brain consumes half of a child's energy"

Down with brains!

jaydub said...

"Just returned from vacation in UK and France. This debate does not exist there. Why?"

I lived there for five years and I'll tell you why: most European countries have abortion laws that restrict abortion on demand to the first trimester. Later abortions are primarily granted based on health concerns for the mother. No European countries permit partial birth abortions or even abortions in the third trimester unless the life of the mother is involved. The problem with abortion in the US is that all reasoning has been sacrificed on the alter of Planned Parenthood. To be blunt, all my European friends thought US abortion practices were barbaric.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Not the same at all."

Exactly.

Clarity.

I am Laslo.

Anonymous said...

Policraticus reported on his three adopted children.

Here is a report on my two. Bethany Christian Services spent a ton of time and money on arranging the two adoptions. I think they proved to me that they care about both the birthmother and her child.

My older child is mentally and physically handicapped. He is 32 and now lives in a group home. He is cheery almost all the time and the staff love him. We get comments all the time from strangers that seeing him enjoy the simplest things brightens their day. He loves things that move automatically, like elevator doors and windshield wipers. And he loves music. We are members of a big church and we sit in the front row. We regularly have people who sit farther back come and tell us how seeing his enthusiasm for life encourages them.

My younger child, a daughter, was born to a woman from a fairly unstable family and was apparently having a series of relationships as short as one night after a party. The birthmother had a level-headed sister who talked her into going to Bethany Christian Services--this time. The agency counseled her extensively during the pregnancy. It really took strength on the birthmother's part to go through the delivery and to participate in picking out an adoptive family for her child. The birthmother went on to develop better life skills. I credit Bethany Christian Services for turning her life around.

My daughter did not have a completely smooth adolescence but now, at age 25, she is working with autistic children as her full-time job and is using her award-winning artistic talents in art classes for handicapped kids. My daughter is now an entrepreneur--she dreamed up the idea for an art class, found a location, wrote the curriculum, set the price, recruited participants, and got enough response she has hired two others to help out. She is doing such a good job that one of the mothers said she should start a non-profit agency so the mother can direct grants to her. One day I got this phone call, "Dad, do you know how to start a 501 C 3?"

So, abortion advocates, you are extremely short-sighted. Life is good.

mccullough said...

Irving’s novels are preachy. He beats the drum constantly. So the Op-Ed is consistent with his work.

I feel bad for Irving. His contemporaries are Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, and Thomas Pynchon. Those guys are writers. Not preachers.


Irving’s New England WASP outlook is trite.

mccullough said...

The Pro-choice movement is the mother of the Anti-Vaxxer movement.

Rick said...

But politics not warped by preachers and prelates.

I'm shocked to see left wingers invent a fantasy world to justify blaming everything on people they hate. That's so unlike them.

narciso said...

I didnt see any headlines in le Figaro, I doubt le mondeo would mention it.

hombre said...

Let’s see, “pro-life” is a “marketing term,” but “reproductive rights” is an accurate descriptor. Got that?

The “reproductive right” in question is for women to have unprotected sex with men they prefer not to parent with and to maim and destroy any resulting human life. The only thing that has been reproduced is 60 million deaths by woman.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

readering said...
Just returned from vacation in UK and France.


Too bad you didn't actually bother to look up France's abortion restrictions:

vailability: On request

Gestational limit: 12 weeks

Conditions: The woman must claim to be in a "state of distress" because of her pregnancy. After 12 weeks, abortions are allowed only if the pregnancy poses a grave danger to the woman's health or there is a risk the child will suffer from a severe illness recognised as incurable. If this is the case, two doctors must confirm the risk to the health of the woman or foetus.

A pregnant girl under the age of 16 may ask for an abortion without consulting her parents first. But she has to be accompanied by an adult of her choice.
Conscientious objection allows professionals to decline involvement in procedures, but they must inform the patient without delay.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Feminists threw a hissy fit when Texas passed a law restricting abortion to 20 weeks and under. It is common in the "enlightened" European countries readering so admires to have a 12 week and under restriction.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

readering: "Just returned from vacation in UK and France. This debate does not exist there. Why?"

Hey, guys, Angle-Dyne here. I'm taking another vacation in Europe for a month or so this fall, so when I come back everybody feel free to ask me for expert explanations on matters European. I've gone there often on vacation, after all, visiting some people of the European persuasion, so be assured that I know what I'm talking about.

"...politics not warped by preachers and prelates."

Your simple-minded understanding of the reasons for the contentiousness of the abortion issue in your own country hardly recommends you as a knowledgeable source on such matters in other countries.

jaydub answers readering: "I lived there for five years and I'll tell you why...most European countries have abortion laws that restrict abortion on demand to the first trimester...To be blunt, all my European friends thought US abortion practices were barbaric."

All pseuds know that the U.S. would be as liberal and sophisticated as European countries in these (as well as other) matters, if not for the powerful theocrats that plague our public square. Everybody knows that pro-choice proponents in this country are an underfunded, marginalized constituency that has never trafficked in unbending extremist positions, never been unwilling to reach a reasonable centrist compromise, and never, ever demonized its opponents. Bloody theocrats ruin everything for the thoughtful, reasonable people in this country.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Can't "elite" publications at least come up with fresh bullshit? Bullshit that at least attests to above-average intelligence and some level of craft? That isn't stale, shit-tier college-student-level polemic from the '60s and '70s, recycled and recognizable as recently published only by the supersaturation of hysteria?

I know I'm repeating myself here, but the stupidity and rank crudity of the propaganda being churned out by the usual suspects continues to blow me away. (As does our hostess's opinion that this caliber of writing isn't "trashy".)


Yes. This precisely. Irvin's screed is such two-digit IQ parroted nonsense, which is what I think bothers me the most about it. The sheer amateur incompetent thinking; the repetition of claims which are easily debunked by anyone with a tablespoon of intellectual curiosity and honesty. And this from an Important Man of Letters.



blnelson2 said...

To the person who said: "When the ruling comes from on high, against the wishes of a large portion of the electorate, it will never be safe. Thankfully." I would reply: 1. Be careful what you wish for - rulings of which you approve aren't safe then either. And when no ruling is "safe," we are no longer living under the rule of law, but one where any "majority" gang can arbitrarily impose its will on the minority. Believe me, you don't want to live under such a system (however, today because of opinions like yours, we are perilously close to that) and if you do there are about 150+ countries you can move to and live under such tyrannical majority rule; 2. Opinions like yours are the reason we were not supposed to be (and still aren't totally) a "democracy" (pure majority rule). Thankfully.

To the pro-abortionists: In matters of economics, the left masterfully uses moral arguments against the rightists' factual arguments. I don't understand why the left does not do the same for personal matters. The left has ceded the moral high ground to the anti-abortionists by allowing them to label themselves "pro-life" when they are neither "pro" the life of the pregnant woman, nor "pro" the fetus who is not a live person pre-birth. And by calling themselves (pro-abortionists) as pro-choice, as though the woman is making a choice between her life and that of an unborn fetus. Of course there is a choice to be made, but to label the issue one of such a choice, grants moral equivalency to the issue and again allows the anti-abortionists the moral high road. And by allowing them to continually term abortion as murder, killing, etc. None of those terms apply to an unborn fetus (and as they have recently tried to call it, the refusal to provide extraordinary methods to revive an already born dead baby, or one unable to survive is not "killing it"). Something that must be connected to a host body to survive is called a parasite, and that is in fact (like it or not) what a fetus is until the moment the umbilical cord is cut.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Troll bait much?

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Pants: The sheer amateur incompetent thinking; the repetition of claims which are easily debunked by anyone with a tablespoon of intellectual curiosity and honesty. And this from an Important Man of Letters.

Back in my student days I spent many procrastinating hours in the library perusing Soviet propaganda put out for internal public consumption, both the kitschy PSA-poster stuff, and some "op-ed" type writings of PTB-approved academics and intellectuals (i.e., good-thinking mediocrities, or less-than-mediocrities). Remember nothing but that it was dreary, stupid stuff, that any writer of real merit or intellectual distinction would have been ashamed to produce.

Hadn't thought about that material for decades, but lately I seem to be reminded of it every time I turn around.

fivewheels said...

"more men need to speak up"

Ahem. Haven't I been told by feminists, repeatedly and quite forcefully, that men shouldn't even be allowed to have an opinion on abortion, much less express one?

narciso said...


that's not an accident, a-d

https://www.city-journal.org/eugene-lyons-the-red-decade

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Jeff Brokaw: Troll bait much?

Meh. Troll fail. This "blnelson2" fellow is a competent enough mindless parrot, but we're not really wanting for mindless parrots around here.

We'll just have to soldier on without the higher quality trolls we keep hoping for around here.

n.n said...

Fetus is a technical term of art used by technicians and abortionists. Does a physician refer to a baby as "fetus" in the mother and father's presence? Does an abortionist in order to dissociate from the practice of terminating a human life?

As for Choice, not even abortionists recognize an open-ended opportunity for pregnancy control. Although, there are advocates and activists hoping and dreaming of progressing age discrimination, summary judgments, and cruel and unusual punishment to birth and beyond.

Pro-Choice is a quasi-religion, or code of ethics, that is selective, opportunistic, and PC, not limited to age discrimination, and rationalizing summary judgments, and cruel and unusual punishment. In the context of reproductive rights, Pro-Choice is two, perhaps three choices, too late. Then there is #CecileTheCannibal

DKWalser said...

The most a liberal thinks is that abortion is a moral option, that the cost in human suffering is immeasurably greater without the option than with it -

This is how badly abortion has crippled the morality of it's supporters.

Who gave you the right to determine when someone else's suffering justified ending their life?


This is not a good summary of the pro-abortion position. The argument is NOT that the child, if born, will have such a miserable life that we are justified in killing it in utero. The argument is that the prospective mother's life would be made worse by carrying the pregnancy to term and that preventing that result justifies killing the child. The 'harm' to the woman of continuing the pregnancy overcomes any right the child might have to life.

It's a utilitarian argument. Just as we permit the killing of a criminal under certain narrow circumstances, the pro-abortion crowd insists we should also allow the killing of the unborn. It should be seen as a form of justifiable homicide.

It's important to get the argument right because it helps to see the weakness of the argument. The woman's 'right to a better life' outweighs the child's 'right to any life'? Stated properly, the absurdity of the pro-abortion argument becomes clear.

MadTownGuy said...

Alexander said...

"One of those "Republicans don't understand Democrats / Democrats don't understand Republicans" think pieces is going around. One of the data points was that the more educated a liberal was, the less they understood conservatives / Republicans. This seems like an apt illustration.

It requires a lot of self-deception not to notice Catholic / Evangelical support for foster care, adoption, and the countless smaller ministries focused on exactly these things.
"

This. I would add post-abortion counseling ministries to the list and the generosity of individuals who take single moms into their homes while they search for suitable/affordable housing. It happens, even without the aegis of a larger organization. Sometimes it doesn't take a village.

Impudent Warwick said...

It’s reminiscent of the presidential candidate who shuddered in horror at the thought of his daughter being “punished with a baby.” The left views an unplanned pregnancy as a punishment to be evaded, while simultaneously singing the praises of single mothers. It almost seems like cynical pandering to a core constituency.

n.n said...

Europeans are liberal, but, ironically, less liberal than Americans of the same ideological bent, who are committed to a progressive process.

narciso said...

moloch loses a round:


https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/thousands-sign-petition-against-uk-forced-abortion-decision-91649

Greg Hlatky said...

Pro-choice advocates only care about a dead baby.

n.n said...

moloch loses a round... abortion

Progress.

Skippy Tisdale said...

"From "The Long, Cruel History of the Anti-Abortion Crusade/Abortion opponents don’t care what happens to an unwanted child, and they’ve never cared about the mother" by the novelist John Irving (NYT)."

Utter. Bullshit.

narciso said...

as far as the british press, it's like the Malabar front, it never happened,

narciso said...

Doubleunplusgood:
https://www.lifenews.com/2019/06/24/appeals-court-overturns-judges-ruling-forcing-mentally-disabled-woman-to-have-abortion/

Not an oldster. said...

Calculate in too the costs of human suffering in a society where life is cheap, and society condones the death of "parasites" unable to exist independently of others...


Iirc, we didn't tolerate a society back in the pre-Roe days where 5year olds caught in gangs' crossfire were acceptable collateral damage to society, where people kidnapped and cut open pregnant women for their babies, or where we tolerated mentally I'll rich kids from killing their classmates and kindergarteners.


It starts with nonchalance in societies where we are complicit in authorizing as "medical care", mother's killing their soon-to-be offspring. We need to criminalize these practices for the providers, not stamp them with society's approval.


We want to live in a better world where life is valued more than just sex, where sex and motherhood is celebrated joyfully, and where we slay the type of biological ignorance Irving writes of in his historical fiction...

Can we collectively build that society?

Yes We Can!

MayBee said...

It's interesting, but the fact that the abortionist had to ether himself is a detail in the book that has stuck with me.

Gahrie said...

Something that must be connected to a host body to survive is called a parasite, and that is in fact (like it or not) what a fetus is until the moment the umbilical cord is cut.

So what, if any, difference is there between a fetus with an uncut umbilical cord in its mother's belly and a fetus with an uncut umbilical cord on its mother's belly?

Clyde said...

More fiction from a novelist.

Gahrie said...

Something that must be connected to a host body to survive is called a parasite, and that is in fact (like it or not) what a fetus is until the moment the umbilical cord is cut.

Can a fetus lying on its mother's stomach with an uncut umbilical cord still be aborted? If not why not?

hombre said...

Funny how NYT handles divergent comments when they publish them. If you are savaged by the illogical hivemind, those comments however uncivil and stupid are published. Your responses are not.

Mediaswine!

Not an oldster. said...

Nevermind reporting, the NYT cannot even opine honestly anymore.

n.n said...

appeals-court-overturns-judges-ruling-forcing-mentally-disabled-woman-to-have-abortion

Pro-Choice, zero. Human rights, one. Progress.

Ambrose said...

"Yes NYT, I'd like to take advantage of the pro choice exception to your "mansplaining" rules please."

rhhardin said...

The pro-life side doesn't realize that they have to make the case that a fetus is a human being. The language doesn't support that. You can't just assert it and get anywhere against the other side.

n.n said...

A fetus is a technical term of art used my technicians and abortionists to obfuscate human evolution and progress age discrimination under the semantic plays of social justice and quasi-science. Most people do not adopt the Twilight faith, Pro-Choice quasi-religion, and ideological bent of post-normal science.

YoungHegelian said...

@rhhardin,

The pro-life side doesn't realize that they have to make the case that a fetus is a human being

As if there's a shortage of books & articles in moral philosophy or theology that do exactly that.

Just because your limited reading list of linguistic philosophers don't make those arguments doesn't mean no one does.

Like every other moral issue, there remains foundational disagreements. But that's not because the pro-life side refuses to argue its moral assumptions.

rhhardin said...

You think with words. You can't escape it. The difference between "human" and "a human" is important enough to establish itself in common language.

You have to do violence to demand they be the same.

It used to be that abortion was illegal because the operation was too dangerous for the woman. That's no longer true so you can't win the anti-abortion argument that way.

Second choice is claiming that a fetus is a human being. You can't win that one, however much you might like to. Remember you're using the argument on somebody who doesn't believe it.

rhhardin said...

My own position is that the evolutionary inclination of people to protect what's cute is worth preserving, and you'll get a nice compromise at the point in pregnancy that the fetus can be made cute enough to get half the votes on the matter. That then will be the line.

You needn't establish that it's a human being, just that it's cute.

daskol said...

It's interesting, but the fact that the abortionist had to ether himself is a detail in the book that has stuck with me.

He ether'd himself to death, by accident.

YoungHegelian said...

@rhhardin,

You think with words. You can't escape it.

No. A huge foundational assumption of linguistic philosophy, but an assumption none the less. We communicate with words, but we do not necessarily think with them. If I imagine the color "orange" or imagine a theme from a Bach cello suite, is that linguistic? All propositions are thoughts, but not all thoughts are propositional. There are good reasons why most of the philosophy in the history of philosophy is not linguistic philosophy, and it's not because it's all "wrong".

Second choice is claiming that a fetus is a human being. You can't win that one, however much you might like to. Remember you're using the argument on somebody who doesn't believe it.

Every "argument" is with someone who doesn't believe your premises, otherwise there'd be no need for argumentation. Minds & hearts can be changed. The first step in avoiding argumentative "violence" is the assumption of charity towards your opponent's views. To state that after over 2000 years, the anti-abortion side has not made its claims coherently fails at charity in a spectacular fashion.

ken in tx said...

Every Christian denomination that I know of, especially those that actively appose abortion, support programs for adoption and care of unwed mothers. Liberty University has a special program to help unwed mothers graduate on time and find adoptive parents for their babies.

Unknown said...

Almost perfect birth control exists, making the spectre of unwanted children something that mostly happens to impulsive or drunk people. Just because some children have indifferent parents does not mean that murdering a baby is ok. If anything, people who become casual about abortion (ie, using it as a form of birth control--if you have had more than one that is what you are doing) also are likely to abandon or harm their children. Finally, conservatives have always been in the forefront of providing care for unwanted children.

And, such rants by such as Irving absolutely do not make pro-life people feel bad.

DEEBEE said...

Let’s stipulate that anti-abortion or “pro-life” do not give an eff about the woman and the child. Neither does this “reproductive rights — so I can ignore the humanity of the ball of cells” bitch. For sure not the protoplasm and not for the women who are in a quandary. Onwards ho

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have three adopted children, and have at times been part of what one might loosely call "the adoption community." Not the infertility couples seeking a child - though I think that is wonderful - but the "rescuing" group that takes in the disabled or unpopular children. I have been hearing the vile accusation that prolife people do not care about children after they are born for decades now. It's so easy to say, and feel good about how righteous you are Mr. Irving.

rhhardin said...

"You think with words. You can't escape it."

No. A huge foundational assumption of linguistic philosophy, but an assumption none the less.


Enlightenment philosophy works by paralyzing ordinary language so that its problems have no ordinary solutions. Hyperbolic doubt. How do I know it's a ball of wax, the object chosen so that there's no ordinary interest in it. If you ask how I know it's a Robin, I say the red breast, the call, the song, pulling up worms. Hyperbolic doubt does not infect the world.

Enlightenment philosophy you see is subject to lit. crit. It uses literary effects and they can be analyzed.

Yet it thinks it is just thinking and then communicating. It's actually tied up in a text from the start.

Just so with "It must be that it's a human being from the start." Why must it?

rhhardin said...

With all these valuable babies for adoptive parents, why are we not using young women as breeding animals right away?

You have to explain that if you believe your own arguments. The inconvenience to the girls surely does not outweigh the value of a human life, right?

rhhardin said...

The way out of the fly bottle is that we learn to be a human. A human has lots of things he has to be able to do.

Owing to evolutionary necessity, we want to care for anything cute, and are wired to see cute. So we agree to treat a newborn as a human; indeed that's how he learns to be a human. It all works out.

The instinct to care for what is cute is worth preserving, so make your fetus as cute as you can, and at some point in the pregnancy there will be a majority vote for cuteness, and that will be the political cutoff point.

Is this hard?

rhhardin said...

The battle of two competing make-believe infinite values is never going to work. Go instead with what actually happens.

pdug said...

That's a misapprehension of the meaning of "pay the piper". Typically its

"He who pays the piper calls the tune" the person with the purse strings gets to make the decisions

Though I guess there is another meaning: its not a PUNISHMENT per se: it means she had her fun, but all fun comes with its built in necessary cost. You want a piper to play for you? You have to pay the cost.

Michael The Magnificent said...

My birth mother, 15 years old and pregnant at the time, was well cared for at a home for unwed mothers in Wauwatosa back in 1963, thanks to Lutheran Social Services.

My adoptive parents were extensively vetted, including snap inspections over a period of many months, with the adoption being arranged by Lutheran Social Services.

A similar process was repeated for my sister's birth mother by Lutheran Social Services.
John Irving can go screw his ignorant self.

Gahrie said...

With all these valuable babies for adoptive parents, why are we not using young women as breeding animals right away?

You have to explain that if you believe your own arguments. The inconvenience to the girls surely does not outweigh the value of a human life, right?


You seriously can't tell the difference from protecting human life and forcing women to produce human life?

Kirk Parker said...

When rhhardin stays in his lane, he has many interesting things to say. He also sometimes notices things that others don't, again with interesting results.

But please, rhh, please give up the conceit that linguistic philosophy provides some great insight into the real world of how people actually live in interact with each other.

rhhardin said...

Language is like eyeglass frames. You don't notice them when you look at stuff. But they shape everything.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

YH: Like every other moral issue, there remains foundational disagreements. But that's not because the pro-life side refuses to argue its moral assumptions.

It isn't that serious (implying charitable) debaters on either side don't argue their foundational moral assumptions. It's that the public debate has been for the most part 50 years of people yelling slogans at each other while holding the foundational sociological assumption that the other side is really completely on board with their side's foundational moral premises, but are just being bad-faith shits about it all.

(From my viewpoint as a mildly "pro-choice" person who would be happy with European-style restrictions/compromises, the pro-choice side is by far the bigger villain in this regard.)

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Kirk Parker: When rhhardin stays in his lane, he has many interesting things to say. He also sometimes notices things that others don't, again with interesting results.

But please, rhh, please give up the conceit that linguistic philosophy provides some great insight into the real world of how people actually live in interact with each other.


I'm afraid that once he gets going there's no stopping him, and he's never been known to engage with the counterarguments to whatever shiny concept is riveting his attention at the moment. Best just to let him wear himself out when he gets like that.

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Unknown said...

I was told many times

recently by Dilbert

that men can have no opinion on abortion

unless its the right one?