As a member of From Left to Write we don't do book reviews, we write a post, drawing inspiration from the book. I debated over what to write about in this post as the book inspired so many different thoughts and feelings.
Finally I decided that I wanted to write about abortion. In the book Martha faces abortion as one of the options in dealing with finding out the child she is carrying has Down Syndrome. There was a paragraph in the book that bothered me.
Martha and her husband John, at this point still don't know that the baby has Down Syndrome and they are dining in a restaurant and the conversation comes up what would happen if this baby was less than perfect. Her husband John says, "The worst-case scenario is that you might have to have an abortion, and that's a long shot. Everything is going to be fine." What she replies is what bothers me, "I might have to have an abortion? Since when do you decide what I have to do with my body?" Then she says, "What we've talked about is that I am pro-choice. That means I decide whether or not I'd abort a baby with a birth defect. You steer clear of this one, John-boy. It is not your call!"
Two things bother me:
1. She invited this man into her body to plant his seed and when the baby is born she expects this man to make decisions that involve this baby 50/50. Yet he has no choice, no call in deciding if the baby should be aborted simply because she is the one carrying it? It is her body that is housing the baby for 9 months so he has no say until the baby is born? He has no say in whether or not he wants HIS child's life to be taken?
2. Why do women want to allow a man the chance to "wash his hands" of a child that is to be aborted? If the child is born you can bet the woman will move Heaven and Earth to try to get this man to help support the child financially. Yet when a women gets pregnant, the awful choice of taking a life is left solely up to her? The man is not involved? The man is absolved of all guilt? Seems to me the man gets off pretty easy!
I'm not pro-choice, but to me the argument that women have used about how it's their body and their right to make a choice about what they do with their body ends when you invite a man into your body and you create a child together. Now I'm not talking about situations of rape or incest or any other situation that is not consensual, that's a whole different ball of wax. I'm talking about two people, a man and a woman having sex, making a baby, on purpose or not. They both have a right to decide what happens to that baby; both before and after the birth.
Martha and John chose to have their baby regardless and are richer and happier for it. Would everyone be able to handle a child that had Down Syndrome? No. I don't know if I could have handled it. I'm glad I never had to make that decision, but if it had come to my deciding that, I don't believe that it would have been fair to tell the father to "steer clear, it's not your call."