Katie Anthony

Some musings on a NYT anti-abortion piece you may have missed

David Brooks’ New York Times piece that railed against abortion is crippled by one obvious fact. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

 

 

To: David Brooks

From: Me. A Non-Imaginary Human Woman

Re: Your piece on the value of the right of women to have late-term abortions

Dear David Brooks,

You wrote in a newspaper that reaches more than half a million readers every day and at least five times that number on the weekend:

Last week I watched as our senators voted down the Republican bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Our people hung together. Only three Democrats voted with the other side. Yet as I was watching I kept wondering: How much is our position on late-term abortions hurting us? How many progressive priorities are we giving up just so we can have our way on this one?

I’ve never cried after reading one of your op-eds before.

Once I stress-ate an entire box of Kraft mac.

Another time I might have texted a friend with three straight lines of stabbing emojis.

But I never actually cried before. Until this one. Ya got me, Brooks. You got me into wet work. And for that, and that alone, my hat’s off to you.

For every other thing you have done since you began writing this horrifying collection of not-even-thinly-veiled sexist assumptions about the value of women, the power of women, and the worth of a person who might need an abortion, my hat is on. It is on like the 1997 movie Spawn.

 

Spawn (1997 New Line Cinema)

This is a still from the movie spawn
so in this pic
you’re the green-eyed guy
chillin
probably having some kind of seasonal bisque
at eleven madison park
and i’m the red-eyed yoda monster behind you
who is about to use my body to hold your face down
in your subtlely autumnal bisque
until you stop fighting me
because it’s important that you understand
that what i do with my body
matters
yes i am furious
no i am not going to drown you in soup

Read this next sentence as slowly as you can…

You have no idea what you are talking about.

Oh, you can Wikipedia the history of Roe v Wade for 19 stanzas and a haiku, Pumpkin, but you will still have no idea what you are talking about.

You can ponder, as innocently as a child with his hand in his neighbor’s lunch box who doesn’t understand how smart people could ever be hungry, the quantitative value of abortion rights, because after all, they really only affect women, and not even the good ones, and shouldn’t we be focusing on priorities that affect men, too? But no matter how wide-eyed and intellectually curious you try to appear as you construct an argument that my right to control my own body is costing you too much (and also that I’m really practically hysterical about the whole thing and I should really just calm down because really, only about 20 states would outlaw abortion outright), you will have no idea what you are talking about.

Quick question! If 20 states in our union tried to pass a law mandating that after you have sex, you must take off work and pay to travel to an out-of-state clinic surrounded by screaming protestors, in order to pay thousands of dollars for a medical procedure that will take a number of days to complete, would that be chicken and biscuits for you? Would you be easy-peasy-fresh-n-squeezy on that? Or would you kick up a bit of a fuss about your right to reasonable access to health care to manage conditions that are – literally – common – as – fuck.

Please take a moment to understand the breathtaking audacity with which you have just dismissed the autonomy of 50.8% of Americans.

You have no idea what you are talking about, but you seem to be quite sure that my life is the result of an act of generosity that is overdue for a rollback.

You have no idea how much responsibility women bear when pregnant. But you know who does have a fucking idea? We do. We’re the ones who change what we eat, what we drink, how we sleep, where we stand when the microwave is running. We change our schedules to do the blood draws and the pelvic exams and the chromosomal testing that will be our first opportunity to make life-and-death choices on behalf of this thing that we haven’t seen yet, and which we take for granted exists at all. How dare you. You have no idea what you are talking about.

You have no idea how much women give up when they have children. But you know who does? We do. We give up so much for these fucking babies. We give up our health because having babies is not a risk-free endeavour. We give up pain-free backs and scar-free organs. We give up money. We give up professional advancement.

We give up respect and value among people like you, who seem very happy to blame our biology for the fact that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on tax reform or health care or immigration policies.

Here is a good impression of your article:

Q: Who could we possibly blame for the current state of gridlock and political terror?
A: Blame the sluts!

You have no fucking idea how devastating it is to have to make the choice to carry a wanted but unviable pregnancy for a torturous months-long sentence or to end it, brutally but quickly. How dare you.

You have no idea how it feels, you gasbag prince of America, to read a column that reduces your entire life to an adorable little thought exercise.

BTW, what are your other dinner-table icebreakers? “If you had to choose between maintaining slavery and the current state of education, which would you choose? I think I’d probably choose slavery. After all, those schools would be in much better repair, don’t you think?” – Next week, by David Brooks of the New York Times!

 

 

 

Most oppression isn’t evil; it’s convenient, and it’s selfish, and it’s lazy. All, coincidentally, words that I would use to describe your career, and the shameful way you rush from the room on a fake phone call from a friend who “had an accident” whenever you have a chance to point your microphone in the direction of empathy. You don’t amplify the voice of empathy, if you even hear it. I’d like to think that nobody has ever explained to you the nature of oppression. Most oppression doesn’t march in the streets. Most oppression steps aside to make way for the parade.

Because it’s convenient and selfish and lazy for you to forget to include women in your definition of person.

That’s why I cried when I read your hateful little ponderance, your nonsensical false-equivalency treatise, your alternative-fact-based-quandary:

I understand that our donors (though not necessarily our voters) want to preserve a woman’s right to choose through all nine months of her pregnancy.

But do we want late-term abortion so much that we are willing to tolerate President Trump?

Do we want it so much that we give up our chance at congressional majorities?

Do we want it so much that we see our agendas on poverty, immigration, income equality and racial justice thwarted and defeated?

Should we have late-term abortions… or literally everything else we want?

Should we listen to these shrill harpies who can’t let go of their irrational fear of being brutalised by unregulated abortion doctors…or should we all shit in gold-plated toilets with open borders and no taxes and free Invisalign for all!

I cried because when I read your foul, humiliating article, all I heard was this:

You aren’t worth your rights.

You aren’t worth your life.

You aren’t worth the fight.

That’s what you wrote. About me.

I don’t have any hope that this little blog post will find your eyes, and even if it did, I wouldn’t expect you to take me seriously. I am, after all, one of those breeders. These words, after all, emanated from my body, the body that made me a mother by choice, and the body you’re helpfully willing to barter away on my behalf. Ah, progress. How far we’ve come.

Rethink your priorities. Ask yourself, what does America most need right now? And then give America what she most needs right now: one less voice that doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

Sincerely,

A Non-Imaginary Human Woman.

 

PS: Please don’t forget me. Even though I was born with a uterus and you weren’t, the space in my head sounds like the space in yours. I have a brain and a heart and a spine, like you. I’m worried, like you. I love things, like you do. I once lived in New York, too. We might have gone to the same Pret-a-Manger. If we had, do you think you might remember that I exist? That if I got pregnant today, my career, the same one you have by the way, would stumble, maybe fatally? Please imagine what it would be like if you had sex once and had to stop writing full-time to raise a child. Please imagine a one-night stand, and then that week-long cross-country trip to the clinic. Please don’t forget it would cost me more than it costs you, no matter what I chose to do. Please remember me.

 

Katie Anthony weaves her beautifully bent prose at KatyKatiKate, and she’d very much like you to support her on Patreon so you can patronise her all day long.

Katie Anthony

Katie Anthony is a writer in Seattle, Washington. Her work has appeared in CNN.com, Bust, and Scary Mommy. Katie writes about feminism, family, and other f-words at KatyKatiKate.com, and co-hosts the Larj Media podcast Mouthy/Messy/Mandatory with Ronit Feinglass Plank. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mouthy-messy-mandatory/id1313163555?mt=2 FB: www.facebook.com/katykatikate Twitter: @yokatykatikate

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