The Contradictions Aren’t Addressed

Have you seen the New York magazine’s article, The New Underground Abortion Railroad: Destination NYC? It’s meant to be a fluffy, warm-the-cockles-of-yer-liberal-progressive-heart story, a sort of abortion advocate pat-self-on-back memo, about a group of abortion advocates who provide overnight housing for girls and women seeking late-term abortions. But the contradictions come through in glaring technicolor.

Consider this paragraph giving a brief description of the group’s origins. Don’t miss that last sentence and its concluding parenthetical note:

Five years ago, Catherine Megill, a then-23-year-old counselor at a Manhattan abortion clinic, heard about a patient who couldn’t afford a hotel and was going to be sleeping on the street unless someone offered her a couch. Megill offered, and later she began asking friends to do the same. By mid-2001, her project had a name, Haven, and a half-dozen volunteers. It now has about 100 members and is the only group of its kind in the country. “You’ve heard of ‘armchair liberalism,’ ” goes the recruiting pitch. “But have you given any thought to ‘futon liberalism’?” Some 2,000 women have late-term abortions in New York City every year. This year, Haven members have opened their homes to 125 of them (including a 10-year-old).

Ten year old?! Late-term abortion?! Would this possibly involve a failure to report statutory rape? Perhaps someone did report the rape, and that’s why the little girl was there. The article doesn’t say anything more about it. But the article strongly gives the notion of a “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy among Haven volunteers. It also gives the strong impression that most clients want anonymity and secrecy.

There are more contradictions.

Late-term abortion is serious, hard-core. At 24 weeks, a fetus is at the same stage of development as those gruesome images shown on pro-lifers’ protest placards. “The last woman I hosted showed me her sonogram,” says Jennifer, a 26-year-old host who lives in Carroll Gardens. “Then she pointed out that the fetus was a boy. God! I didn’t know what to say.”

Every once in a while, after hosting a guest, I have bad dreams about sick babies. I have to remind myself that my dreams are just dreams, and that they’re less important than my guests’ realities.

I can only guess that both these Haven volunteers’ reactions are nothing more than their consciences trying to force on their reason the reality of what is happening. The author of the article at least voluntarily stifles that stirring of conscience for rationalization.

She’s right about one thing, though. Late term abortion is serious business. As is all abortion. We would do well to explore and exploit these existential contradictions so that the light of truth can expose the evil act that abortion is.

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