It’s not often I write a column I think is nearly a home run, but today’s column in the Arizona Daily Star is pretty darn close. It took hours of work and, honestly, I’m not sure I can write columns much longer. I’ve been doing some version of this type of work for 30 years, off and on, and I think I may be ready to just spend my time crocheting baby blankets and building my survivalist desert garden. But …
I got this email from a former newspaper publisher who was my boss long ago (and apparently has kept reading my freelance work), and it makes me rethink the yarn and yard-work plan (but only a tiny bit):
Never, never, never in your career have you written such a well-thought-out, well-researched and important piece as the one published in today’s Arizona Daily Star. … You have always shown courage as a journalist; yet this is the pinnacle of your bravery. … Your work epitomizes what the late New York Times sports columnist Walter “Red” Smith said about the craft: “Writing is easy. Just sit in front of a typewriter, open up a vein and bleed it out drop by drop.”
I’d forgotten about that pretty famous quote, and it really does describe how writing this column felt. It has to do with the abortion and the need for the pro-life movement to divorce the GOP if they are to prove themselves more than just pro-birth. There’s data and details and all manner of important things, but it starts like this —-
I’ve held a friend’s hand as she recalled the story of her early abortion and expressed relief that she wouldn’t be tied to her volatile, underemployed, erratic boyfriend forever because of a child. And even though I’m anti-abortion, I, too, was grateful she wasn’t trapped with that man.
I’ve listened as another friend wept, “That was my grandbaby,” in one sentence and said, “But he’s my son” in the next, ashamed to be grateful that her 19-year-old son’s almost 17-year-old girlfriend got an abortion because the girl was afraid her father would press charges against her boyfriend. Due to sexual offender laws in that state, the young man would have been on “the list” for life, despite the sex being consensual, because our broken legal system can’t discern between pedophiles and college freshmen with their high school girlfriends. And even though I’m anti-abortion, I found myself grateful as well. Continue reading here.