Cruel Orthodoxy

Amid the clamor that followed the President’s Supreme Court nominee announcement, several individuals close to Judge Amy Coney Barrett provided a reasoned assessment of her character and temperament. She received high praise. Her acceptance speech reflected humility and respect for the seat she hopes to fill.

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When I first heard her speak, I was impressed by her sincerity, especially as she talked about her beautiful family of nine (she and her husband and their 7 children). Her most heartwarming statement (in my humble opinion) was:  Our children are my greatest joy. Barrett likened her family to the nine justices who make up the Supreme Court.

Here’s a woman who esteems children, affirming offspring as a source of joy– great joy! And therein (again, in my humble opinion) lies the cause for dissonance and caterwauling in response to her nomination. Politicians and news chatterers issued standard talking points, bemoaning the nomination.

Given the prevailing elitist orthodoxy, Judge Barrett is an unacceptable choice, because … women’s rights, doncha know?! (See my previous post, Sacramental Bonds.)

If you happened to watch this week’s Presidential debate, you might have heard the Democratic nominee’s assertion that abortion is on the ballot. With the frenzied certainty of Chicken Little thrashing about, stoking fear over sky-is-falling impending doom, these dogma-driven alarmists offer catastrophic news! Roe – their most treasured sacrament – is threatened!

Hysteria is rarely warranted. Calm reflection, on the other hand, is always desirable.

Midway through the lockdown, a World Magazine article caught my eye. Editor Marvin Olasky presented 2½ provocative books on abortion which relates details from In Necessity and Sorrow:  Life and Death in an Abortion Hospital (1976), a book written by deceased (1996) author Magda Denes. Editor Olasky adds an advisory to warn unsuspecting readers:  the descriptions Denes provides are brutally honest but profoundly disturbing.

Though I was unfamiliar with Denes and her writing, I wasn’t inclined to purchase the book from Amazon where new copies sell for almost $1,000! Instead, I found a brief one-paragraph synopsis in Kirkus Review archives. They quote an emotional after-word in which Dr. Denes questions whether “any human life on earth is superfluous except by pretense.”

Looking further, I found Commentary had reprinted excerpts. These excerpts are graphic; the author self-describes as “a proabortionist with a bad secular conscience.” If you’re looking for a light, uplifting read, this isn’t it. Writing in first-person, Dr. Denes supplies vivid images and haunting details reflective of her own abortion as well as procedures in an abortion hospital where she conducted research for her book. She sought insight on “… how people involved in the performing of legal abortions feel about the work they do.”

The excerpted narrative I read was both repulsive and significant. The descriptions drawn by Dr. Denes (a psychoanalyst) rolled around in my mind until a sonnet formed.

A Sonnet: In Necessity and Sorrow

It’s a difficult sonnet … I quoted passages from her book, re-ordering her statements poetically. Except for the closing couplet, the raw, agonizing phrases belong to Dr. Denes. An amazingly resilient woman (who survived the Nazi holocaust), Dr. Denes pulled back the curtain and said: THIS!  This is abortion.

It is grim, awful, barbaric. We dismiss her words and the mind-numbing facts at our peril.


2 thoughts on “Cruel Orthodoxy

    1. Ach! So sorry! I stopped using that phone app (as well as the desktop one) because of similar frustrations! Thanks for reading and keeping in touch!

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