mayihaveacrumb: Story Time When I was a child, I knew a 9-yr-old girl. Let’s call her “Mallory.” I…


Story Time

When I was a child, I knew a 9-yr-old girl. Let’s call her “Mallory.” I met Mallory in group therapy. She’d been sexually abused and raped by her father in secret for years. Her mother only discovered the abuse when, at 9, she started menstruating and became pregnant.

Mallory was tiny, even for her age. I probably could’ve picked her up and tossed her. There was absolutely no chance, according to her pediatrician, that her pelvis could accommodate a pregnancy, let alone allow her to give birth. The pregnancy was terminated and she passed a partially-formed fetus.

Immediately, she and her mother - who were now alone and suddenly impoverished - were shunned by their rural Baptist church. People hung out of their cars to scream “whore” at Mallory as she walked home from school. Her mother was called a murderer. They got “anonymous” letters full of fire-and-brimstone scripture.

No one cared that Mallory had been impregnated by her father in the 4th grade. No one cared that her mother, a good housewife who thought everything was fine, was suddenly a working single mother who lived in the first place that would rent to her. In a time when those prayer circles and donation hats and casseroles were sorely needed, they were thrown out and treated like trash.

I would play with Mallory, even though I was a little older, and even went to her birthday sleepover. (I was the only one who came.) We would do each other’s makeup and break out our Barbies. And every little bit, she’d get quiet. Sometimes she’d start to cry. And she’d talk for a moment about how it felt to be raped, how the fetus looked, how she’d “ruined” everyone’s lives, how she wanted to die. Then she’d smile and go back to playing. I couldn’t do anything but listen.

When I hear ugly pro-life arguments, I see 9-year-old Mallory, in her room with plywood walls, playing with toys from her old life, telling me that she wished the people in cars would just run her over. Mallory isn’t a “hypothetical case” or a “ridiculous outlier.” She’s a person who had to live trauma after trauma in the name of “life.” She’s a person who was alive, and was made to feel like she shouldn’t be, in the name of “life.”

It’s ok to have personal, private feelings about abortion, even when it’s undeniably necessary. It’s ok to be sad that it had to happen. But it’s not ok to abuse the living in the name of “life.” It’s the worst oxymoron in our society. To believe that life is so important one day and so worthless the next.

At that point, it’s impossible to argue that the issue is “life.” If it were then all life would be equally sacred. At that point, it’s only about being “right,” being “better,” being loud and shocking and having something to prove. And while it may be loud and shocking, it’s not “right,” it’s not “better” and it only proves what kind of character the speaker really has.

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