In a disturbing first-person narrative, writer Alexandra King penned an op/ed for the Santa Barbara Independent on Saturday where she argues for abortion, even admitting she used it multiple times for birth control, claiming she had no other birth control options.
King’s piece, entitled “My Illegal Abortion: A Shout About a Near-Death Experience,” is meant to detail the seemingly tragic circumstances in which she claims to have had no choice but to obtain an illegal abortion in 1968. She begins by detailing her family background, explaining that her father was “a senator in the Virgin Islands Senate, a Princeton alumnus, a hunter, and he was from a family of American royalty (the wealthy Alexanders of Kentucky). He was not just a Republican but also a Nazi sympathizer, a white supremacist who hated Jews, blacks, women, and worst of all, the poor (the “Have Nots” = anyone who was not white, wealthy, and old money).”
Her mother, a Broadway actress, she says, was a compassionate woman, a humanitarian that “took in abandoned children and animals and gave them food, money, comfort. She was also a Republican, but a humanitarian Republican.”
Her family foundation is the basis for her desperation when she was a 17-year-old, engaged to a man eight years her senior, and suddenly pregnant. Her fiancé dumped her upon learning of the pregnancy. She writes:
My heart was broken, and I didn’t know how I would care for a child alone and go to college. Afraid to tell my father (who would undoubtedly shoot the guy), my mother took me to the southern island of Grenada where I could have an abortion secretly.
It is here where her story veers off course, and her attempts to make abortion a sympathetic cause might alienate even some pro-choicers who do not see abortion as an appropriate form of birth control, as King does. She explains the trip to the illicit abortion facility where she sat with several other women, who were mostly poor not able to afford children. She adds, “They could not afford birth control, which was a fairly new thing.”
She describes her abortion and its aftermath, spending two days in the hotel bathtub “bleeding and miscarrying” after the doctor administered the saline solution to kill her baby. “It was excruciating,” she says. And she details her near death experience afterwards, as she bled uncontrollably for days, often losing consciousness, forcing her mother to tell her father about the abortion.
He went insane with rage. But going to the hospital was not an option. It would not only mean destroying his political career but they would go to jail, and our family would be broken up.
As usual a fight ensued. My father put me in an ice bath to bring the temperature down. My mother then dragged me back to bed and covered me with blankets. Then my father returned and put me back into the ice bath. Mother returned and put me back in bed. This went on for almost two days. No one knew what to do, and no one dared call for medical assistance because of the dire consequences of being found out. Nonetheless, I was young and healthy and made it through. I went to college, grew up, got married, and had a beautiful son.
Her apparent attitude of “It sucked, but I got over it” is further displayed as she then almost glorifies legal abortion. While it’s clear that King had a tragic home life with her parents, her rationale that it should justify legal abortion falls flat. Her parents endangered her life as much as a hack doctor, clearly, by not getting her medical care. But that’s not the way King concludes her episode. It was to be the first of many abortions for her, she writes:
Happily, abortion became legal soon after that, so I never had to experience that kind of near-death experience again, because I had several abortions after that. I am one of those unfortunate few who never found a form of birth control that wasn’t life threatening for me. I had three surgeries to take an IUD out. I am severely allergic to latex, so condoms and diaphragms do not work; I got blood clots with the pill, had toxic shock from the sponge, and there were no patches, nova rings, or injections when I was of childbirth age. And, abstinence is not an option when married.
While the accusation that people use abortion as birth control is one heard often in pro-life camps, most never actually hear of women who would do such a thing. Generally, abortion advocates present abortion as a “human rights” issue (conveniently ignoring the in-utero human) that abortion advocates see as a hallmark of being free to live their lives as they want. But King casually presents abortion as her form of birth control, saying she was “happ[y]” when it became legal.
While few women broadcast using abortion as birth control, the Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care reports that, “Just over half (51%) of abortion patients surveyed in the USA reported using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant (Table 3).” That means, of course, that the other 49 percent of women surveyed who had abortions were not using any sort of contraceptive and chose death for an innocent human being rather than choosing to give birth and placing the baby for adoption.
Whatever the reason women use to justify abortion — as birth control or otherwise — women like King say its fully justified, even if it means taking multiple lives. But she concludes most of us can’t understand. She says:
My personal feeling is that those opposed to abortion have never experienced an illegal abortion, or they would think twice about condemning it. And of course, the rich have many more options than the poor. I understand the viewpoint that killing an unborn child is wrong, but killing a fully grown woman is worse.
Read that last line again. King admits understanding the view that abortion is killing an unborn child, but her argument is simply that without legal abortion, it might kill the mother, and that’s worse than killing a preborn human.
Of course, she misses the most important point: A woman chooses to kill her child, but the child has no say in the matter. When a woman submits to an abortion, there is a 100 percent guarantee someone will die. And deliberately taking a human life is always a terrible choice. The idea that it is somehow okay to do so as a method of birth control, as King argues, is an appalling commentary on the culture of death permeating our society.
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