Monday, February 27, 2006

South Dakota Abortion Ban Proceeding

Well, that didn't take long. Justice Alito, the swing vote on the U. S. Supreme Court has barely got his diplomas and family portrait unpacked in his new office, when along come some I-dare-you-to-stop-me legislation from South Dakota. This particular law, if it does become law, may get slapped down before it reaches the Supremes. But it surely seems like it's a sign of things to come.

I've long resisted coming down on one side or the other of the abortion issue, much preferring to cling to the nice, cushy fence rail. This is one of those mercifully few issues where our American standards of liberty are in direct conflict with our nation's deep-rooted Christian values. On the one hand, one's own body should surely be inviolate, so far as the state is concerned, unless you're actually incarcerated. On the other, I heartily seconded Michelle Catalano's incredulous disgust at a guest op-ed that appeared in the NYT a couple of years ago, wherein a "mother" nonchantly aborted two of her unborn triplets, so as not to have to give up her urban hipster lifestyle. Peering into such a moral void nauseates me, like unexpectedly biting down on a rotten part of a fruit.

Anyway, your First Things tie-in. Here's a poem from several years ago, no link:

Extra place set at your mind's table
like Ezekiel's empty glass, clean spoon.

Hands that never pointed out the moon,
laid the baby in the Christmas stable,

dried dishes. Voice that doesn't call
downstairs that he or she will be there

soon. In steam behind a bathroom door,
no one puts on makeup, leaves a towel

for you to find. No hairdryer.
No C in French. No midnight curfew,

no slamming door, no not-speaking-to.
When was it you began to hear

silence? They don't tell you
about that voice, clear, insistent, steady

as a heartbeat, asking, How weren't you ready?
-- Sally Thomas, "Choice"

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