Saturday, January 2, 2010


I'm almost half way through a book titled Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict by Irene Vilar and it's one of the weirdest books I've ever read. This isn't an assignment for school or anything, I just happened to see it at Barnes & Noble recently and given my past employment at an abortion clinic, I was interested in what an "abortion addict" looked like.
The MD from the clinic said his practice was a "private OBGYN practice that also offered abortion services," which technically it was, but his description was really a form of denial. 97% of his patients came in for abortions. We did later term procedures too: up to 22 weeks which was the maximum the state of Wisconsin allowed at the time.
We had very few repeat patients. I remember one woman who had come in a total of seven times for abortions by the time the office closed and when we did the ultrasounds she was always farther along than was indicated by the first date of her last menstrual period (which is the most common way to determine length of pregnancy until an ultrasound confirms the age of the fetus) so her procedures were generally more complicated than the a simple D&C (dilation and curettage which is the medical procedure we call "abortion" up to 14 weeks.) One woman I knew who was not a patient at the office at the time was roughly 36 years old and had had a total of ten abortions. It's tough to come in to work every day and go through the harassment we all went through by protesters in front of the office and try to remain non-judgemental of women who sought multiple procedures. At least it was hard for me to remain neutral about it. But the law of the land is abortion on demand and I agree with it in large part.
According to the inside flap of this book, by the end of it, Irene is going to have 15 abortions, all fathered by the same man. 15 seems like a big number to me. Although I have to give her credit for having the courage to talk about that, much less write a book about it for the whole world to read.
I'm on page 109 of 222 and it's a story of her addiction to this man, not to abortions. Addiction to a sick relationship I can understand, but addiction to abortion is somewhat of a misnomer. It's about the control this man several decades older than she wields over her, not some sick need for her to get pregnant and go in for multiple surgical procedures. There's not a lot of dialog and that bothers me because I like plot more so than character development; this isn't really even character development but the re-telling of the story of control and submission in their relationship.
I'm not endorsing or criticizing the book and I'm trying not to endorse or criticize her choices either.

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