"I have this ghost now..."

In her book The Right to Live, abortion opponent New Zealander Marilyn Pryor wrote the following:
A sad but fascinating account is recorded in The Ambivalence of Abortion. It was written by New York journalist, Linda Bird Francke after she had interviewed me and women of all ages who had lived through the abortion experience. Their comments, so openly reported in Miss Francke’s book cast a new light into a world which for most people remains closed behind a door marked “confidential”.

Miss Francke’s understanding had a basis in her own abortion which she told about in the columns of the New York Times in 1976 under the pseudonym Jane Doe. She described her feelings as she waited to go into the operating theatre. “I began to panic,” she said. “Suddenly the rhetoric, the abortion marches I’d walked in, the telegrams sent to Albany to counteract the Friends of the Foetus, the Zero Population Growth buttons I’d worn, peeled away, and I was all alone with my microscopic baby. There were just the two of us there, and soon, because it was more convenient for me and my husband, there would be one again.”

“How could it be,” she asked, “that I, who am so neurotic about life that I step over bugs rather than on them, who spends hours planting flowers and vegetables in the spring even though we rent out the house and never see them, who makes sure the children are vaccinated and innoculated and filled with Vitamin C, could so arbitrarily decide that this life shouldn’t be?”

“It’s not a life,” my husband had argued, more to convince himself than me. “It’s a bunch of cells smaller than my fingernail.” But any woman who has had children knows that certain feeling in her taut, swollen breasts, and that slight but constant ache in her uterus that signals the arrival of a life.” She went on to say, “Though I would march myself into blisters for a woman’s right to exercise the option of motherhood, I discovered there, in the waiting room that I was not the modern woman I thought I was.”

Miss Francke ended her sad little story by saying, “. . . it certainly does make more sense not to be having a baby right now — we say that to each other all the time. But I have this ghost now. A very little ghost that only appears when I’m seeing something beautiful, like the full moon on the ocean last weekend. And the baby waves at me. And I wave back at the baby. “Of course, we have room,” I cry to the ghost. “Of course we do.”