Trent and Lizzie's Right to Die question put in my mind another question: what enabled that legislation to pass? Forty years ago, suicide legislation was unthinkable, but then a judicial decision got the ball rolling. When Roe v. Wade was decreed, I remember as a young boy several commentators decrying the decision, saying it would lead to death legislation, and that soon we'd be legalizing suicide and murder. Liberals and feminists belittled the idea calling it alarmist and insane and insisting that dissenters just wanted to keep women "barefoot and pregnant". I wonder if they still say that?
Anyway, it reminded me of a little piece I wrote about ten years after Roe v. Wade. I wrote the logic for extending abortion rights to the fourth trimester a la Swift. It's strikingly similar to Right to Die logic, and I thought I'd share it with you. Something tells me we're not all that far from my fiction becoming reality.
My friend Marge was frazzled after the unplanned birth of her son. She had wrestled with the prospect of abortion, decided against it, and now, two months later, all she feared came true. The baby cried incessantly and stretched finances to the limit, she bickered with her boyfriend, and sex was nonexistent. In short, the baby exhausted her and turned her world upside down.
Luckily, I was there to offer a modern, common sense solution: kill the baby. Of course, she was surprised, but I reassured her. Here is what I told her:
“Don’t be so surprised, Marge. Your trouble is that you’re thinking of your baby as a person, but it isn’t...yet. It can’t walk, or talk, or think...it doesn’t even have any teeth in its head! It’s just an overripe fetus. Aside from size and strength, it is absolutely no different than when it was in the womb. In the womb, it had its own blood supply. Its cells, brainwaves, heartbeat, even its gender were all distinct and different from yours. It was just as unique an organism before birth as after, so why have qualms about post-partum abortion?”
“You need to remember that a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body. That fetus depended on your body totally for its life in the womb, and on that basis, it was considered a part of your body and your rights to kill it remained intact. Well, nothing has changed except that it is outside the womb and now depends even more on your body for its life. It is a cinch that it makes ten times the claim on your body than it ever did when it was in the womb. You can’t whisk off to the store anymore, and even mundane tasks like cleaning the house have become an all-day affair. Add to this the fact that this fetus is nothing but a wedge between you and your boyfriend. Yes, every day that overripe fetus flagrantly violates your rights to your own body, and with no apology! You enjoyed total rights to your body before birth, but let a fetus use its lungs once, and your rights go out the window. Now is your chance to stand against such unconstitutionality.”
“Just consider it from the perspective of the fetus, Marge. Do you want it to suffer? Your finances are anything but ample, and every day you and your boyfriend resent it more. You will not be able to make it with that fetus. It will go hungry and naked, and perhaps you, or more likely, your boyfriend will start beating it to take out his frustration. Is that what you want? Do you want it to suffer? Think of its future in this overpopulated, polluted, crime-ridden world. Do you want it to go through all that? Where is your compassion? It’s no secret that children in your socio-economic strata have a high incidence of drug abuse and criminal activity. Is that what you want? Do you want your fetus to contribute to the misery of the world or to become a victim of it? Or what about yourself? Do you want to add to your own suffering, which is what will surely happen if you keep this fetus? You can stop all this suffering from happening.”
“Now listen, Marge. There are doctors in America who perform third trimester abortions. I’m sure we can convince one of them to perform a fourth trimester abortion, because Marge, you have a right to good health care. Trust me, it’s much better that you waited until after birth to abort this fetus. Do you know what they would have done before it was born? They would have hacked it to bits with a blade, or sucked it to shreds with a vaccum, or burned it to death with saline solution, or perhaps even let it starve if it happened to accidentally exit the birth canal...all with no anesthesia. But take heart, Marge, with today’s modern medicine, your fetus will fall peacefully to death. No blood or gore, just quiet and peace in a fully insured and accredited, antiseptic environment. And it’s much safer for you too, Marge. Did you know that about .5% of all pre-partum abortions end in death for the mother? That’s several woman dying every day from pre-partum abortion. And I’m sure they’ll have mental health counselors there should you need them, but I doubt you will. The sense of relief will just overwhelm you, because you’ll have your old life back again, and you and your boyfriend can start repairing the damage the fetus caused. But before we begin our search, you should fill out this organ donor card for your fetus. Just imagine...your fetus could provide a new heart, or liver, or kidneys to some poor suffering child! New life could emerge from your unfortunate circumstances. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? This is a win-win situation, Marge.”
Marge looked at her son who lay whimpering in her arms, and with a glisten in her eyes, she hugged the tiny body to her breast, cooing to him in gentle tones. In an instant, he slept peacefully, and when one of her tears wetted his forehead, she kissed it away and whispered “I love you” over and over as she slowly rocked him back and forth.
Huh. Some people just won’t listen to reason.