Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why Don’t More Novels Depict Abortion as a Good Thing?

I was reading a few pages of the latest novel from my to-be-read stack this morning, when an interesting thought about abortion came to mind.

The book in question, “When in Doubt, Add Butter” by Beth Harbison, isn’t really all that well written, I’m sorry to say. The character’s thoughts and philosophies often contradict themselves and Harbison uses a lot of run-on sentences that muddle up the story’s flow.

(Incidentally, this critique is coming from someone who used to consider herself the queen of run-on sentences. Apparently, I’ve been deposed.)

Yet the last few pages presented some interesting philosophical thoughts to consider, including a few on abortion. Because, you see, the main character shares how she got pregnant at 17.

Her boyfriend was less than supportive and told her to “take care of it.” Yet, despite how scared and lost she felt, she kept the baby anyway.

Now I’m a bookworm. I read a lot of books every year. Modern fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, historical, mystery, chicklit… You name it and I’ve probably been there, read that.

Even so, I can’t say I’ve ever read a novel where abortion was referred to in glowing terms. Which is surprising, considering how the theme of unwanted pregnancies is hardly underused.

Almost always, if a character does get inconveniently pregnant, she ends up keeping the baby. If not, then she loses it through natural means instead of murder. In one case that comes to mind, she’s forced into a doctor’s hands by bad parents.

In fact, I can only think of a single book where a main character – or a character at all – came even close to thinking it a good thing. Sadly, I can’t remember the name of this novel, but I remember the heroine being forcibly given something to end her pregnancy and then doling out similar drugs to more willing women, feeling badly every time she did.

But why?

If abortion is such a beautiful option, a right women are supposed to claim regardless of whether we ever actually act on it or not, then why doesn’t our entertainment reflect such notions? Why don’t we depict our heroines as proudly or even casually walking up to their local abortion clinics fetus-bound and walking out free and happy?

Why isn’t it a commonplace feature in comedies and dramas alike?

Maybe it’s because abortion is such a decided horror that it takes a decidedly horrible person to even think about putting it out there as anything but what it really is.

Which is murder.

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