ONCE UPON A TIME there was a beautiful young married couple named Ken and Barbie. They had two children named Ken Jr. and Barbarella. Ken was a lawyer, in a very successful private practice. Barbie was…what else…a soccer mom with her monster SUV to ferry her kids around for music lessons and soccer practice.
They lived a perfect life, and their kids were progressing toward an equally perfect life. Ken Jr. was only in the first grade, but he was already planning to join his father’s law firm after graduation from Yale law school, following in his father’s footsteps. Barbarella had her eye on a boy in her third grade class whose stockbroker father was teaching him to manage his own stock portfolio at home on his computer.
So life was proceeding smoothly and they should have lived happily ever after…
Barbie suddenly discovered that she was pregnant.
Now, Ken and Barbie were faithful members of a church, and their church disapproved of abortion. So, Ken and Barbie disapproved of abortion. Well, Barbie did. Ken wasn’t so sure. And when he found out she was pregnant, he was not pleased. They had been taking careful precautions to avoid another pregnancy. They already had a perfect family. Another member might spoil that perfection.
So Ken suggested that maybe Barbie should consider an abortion.
Barbie was aghast! Their pastor had thundered that abortion was murder. She reminded Ken of the grisly pictures the church had posted, of the mangled bodies from late-term abortions. Ken reminded her that the fetus was currently the size of a pinhead, and could be removed in five minutes with a simple surgical procedure. She was unmoved.
She told Ken that she simply chose NOT to have an abortion.
DISCUSSION BREAK: Is Barbie’s decision not to have an abortion good or bad? Most people would say that it is her decision to make. Nobody else, not even her husband should be able to tell her what to do, even if her health is threatened by having the baby. Let me restate that: If her doctor says, “Barbie, if you have this baby, you will die,” it is still her decision, and her decision alone. Neither her husband nor her children nor anyone else can make this decision for her. She has to decide…my life or the baby’s. Even the most ardent pro-choicer would agree with this. Surely she should discuss it with her husband and anybody else she wishes to consult. But in the end, it’s her choice. Good or bad is irrelevant. It is simply nobody else’s business.
Back to the story…
So Barbie sleeps on it for a few nights, and…she changes her mind. But Ken has been thinking about it too, and he has decided she is right. They should have the baby. He starts fantasizing about handing out cigars at the office. So now he tries to talk her out of an abortion! Again, she is undaunted. It is her decision to make.
FINAL DISCUSSION: Is Barbie’s decision to have an abortion good or bad? I think it is exactly the same as before. But, a significant number of people in this country would say that her decision is bad regardless of her personal circumstances. Even if her life would be endangered! Even if she were poor or unemployed and could not pay for obstetric care or the costs of raising a child. They would applaud her right to choose not to have an abortion, and vehemently defend her right to make that choice. But they would criticize any other choice. For them the right to choose is only valid if she makes the choice that they approve of…which is of course, no choice at all.