Throughout my childhood, I was molested by my father. He suffered neglect and abuse in his own childhood, and his service in World War II added to his demons. All that led to drinking, and alcoholism fueled his abusive behavior.
He never had sexual intercourse with me, which is the dictionary definition of incest, but his abuse nonetheless left lasting negative effects in my life. Years of therapy and what my shrink calls a “extreme predisposition to empathy” resulted in forgiving my dad years ago, even though he went to his grave denying he ever sexually abused me and disowned me for saying that he did.
Normally, I don’t think much about this history. But the recent rush by eight states to pass highly restrictive abortion bills — including two in Alabama and Missouri with the unnecessarily cruel twist of no rape or incest exceptions — has brought it all to the forefront again. I keep thinking: What if my father had impregnated me? What would I do? Read the rest of my Sunday Arizona Daily Star column here.