Jeanne Phillips, the daughter of Pauline "Abigail Van Buren" Phillips, deserves a lot of praise. In a recent "Dear Abby" column of hers Ms. Phillips stated the clear, simple truth of abortion. She makes it clear that the choice to have an abortion belongs only to the pregnant woman and no one else. In this March 21st column, a self-described "pro life" woman writes to say that she regrets supporting her daughter's decision to terminate a pregnancy. Sympathetic yet firm, Jeanne Phillips replies thus:
The decision about whether or not to terminate the pregnancy wasn't yours to make; it was your daughter's. Being pro-life, you have your own convictions, but you acted as a loving parent should -- you supported your child."So?" some of you might be saying, "What's special about this? She's just giving some sound advice as always. Why should this be worthy of special notice?"
Well, in a perfect country, this wouldn't be worthy of any sort of extra interest... but we don't live in a perfect country. We live in a country where straightforward, honest facts about abortion are hidden behind Taliban-inspired legislative terrorism designed to frighten women and girls into going through childbirth. Childbirth is, in many parts of the world, still the leading cause of death for adolescent girls. It should not be a procedure that any woman be FORCED to go through.
And yet the American media tends to try and pretend that abortion doesn't exist. Even Hollywood, that town of "limousine liberal," biscotti-munching, botox-squirting, hippie-billionaire, Democratic pit of brimstone.... tends to take a surprisingly anti-choice view of abortion.
More past the broken fluorescent condom.
Pauline Philips was best known by her pen name "Abigail Van Buren" and made her advice column "Dear Abby" world-famous.
Philips considered herself politically liberal and personally conservative. She was also a social conservative when her column first started running in newspapers in 1956. She disapproved of couples living together before marriage, considered women who wanted a divorce "faintly ridiculous" and proposed a "code of conduct" for women where "husband and children (came) first."
To Philips' great credit, her views had evolved by the nineties. By then Philips acknowledged that divorce was necessary because sometimes marriages didn't work. She also went easier on unmarried couples, stated her belief that gays were born that way and couldn't be "changed," and was quite tolerant towards the trans population.
Still "Dear Abby" tended to steer clear of abortion. Philips could hardly be blamed for giving this topic a wide berth. Her audience was usually older and conservative. Also, more importantly, anti-abortion domestic terrorists like "Army of God" are quite powerful and have made their doctor-killing intentions quite clear .. especially in the nineties when over half the clinics in the USA were experiencing violence. There has been a drop-off nowadays but still over 20% of abortion clinics a year in the US experience some form of severe violence (bullets through the window, make-shift explosive devices in the mail, etc.) and the numbers rise dramatically (close to seventy percent) if the definition of violence includes punching, shoving of doctors and patients, thrown bottles, etc. Pauline Philips, already an elderly woman before she retired from writing her column, understandably wanted to remove herself from any sort of firing line.
"Dear Abby" is a mainstream media source of social commentary and advice. It runs in about 1,400 major newspapers nation-wide including the loathsome, conservative "Stuart News" that is my South Florida town's local paper. In between glowing reports of Allen West fundraiser barbecues and Thomas Sowell's printed flatulence talking about why Obama is a traitor because he isn't threatening enough nuclear hellfire towards North Korea (or something).... I was surprised to see this lovely, clear drop of sanity in the "Dear Abby" column.
In an American culture where the anti-choice Judd Apatow movie "Knocked Up" remains a classic while the great nineties pro-choice comedy "Citizen Ruth" is barely found on "Netflix" the importance of keeping the pro-choice voice in mainstream media cannot be underestimated.
Please write to Jeanne Philips here to express your support and approval for her March 21st advice. No doubt she has already received a bunch of hate mail from the devastatingly effective anti-choice crowd and Philips needs to know that she gave the right advice.