Back in the day, there was a Disney-sponsored “See If You Can Draw” contest in the back of the comic books. You were to draw the picture provided, send it in, and they would tell you if you had talent. This opportunity was brought to my attention by my big brother. There were two pictures to choose from, Donald Duck and Micky Mouse. I chose D. Duck. It was done in four steps. It wasn’t as much about skill as eye/hand coordination and following instructions. I was about seven, but if I remember correctly, you drew a half-oval for the head, then the beak going from the bottom of the oval and circling back, and two elongated ovals for eyes; each step executed in one line. I guess the idea was to inspire kids to seek a career in soul-deadening assembly-line animation. After a few tries I had it down. So my brother asked me to draw an apple, then a light bulb—telling me that I should duplicate on paper exactly what I saw. I did. Impressed, he marched me downstairs, stood me in front of our mother, and proclaimed: “Diane can draw.” This was exciting news. Every parent likes to hear that their child has a gift. She said: “Draw me!”
I panicked. Apples and light bulbs were one thing, my mother was another. Sometimes when kids feel insecure, they revert to younger behavior. I reverted to younger drawing. I drew a circle for her head, dots for eyes, a line for a mouth; it was a stick figure. I showed it to her and her face fell. “I thought you said she could draw,” she said with a scowl. My brother said “She can!” She told me to try again. My brother told me to do it like I did before, duplicate on paper exactly what I saw. So I did. I worked for quite a while and handed it over. Her eyes flew open. “Oh my God, do I really have that many wrinkles? And so dark?” I told her the pencil was dark, and it was. It was a number two pencil, soft lead, good for shading and hair but not detail. Brother explained the nuance of hard and soft leads. Then she uttered the four words that say Mommy Means Business: “Get me my purse.” He fetched it. She gave him money and said: “Get the kid some pencils.”
He ran to the store and came back with numbers three and four, the hardest leads, sharpened them for me, and I started again. With the memory of her being so upset about facial lines fresh in my mind, I did some editing. Finished, I handed it to her. She looked at me, smiled, and said: “It’s not like I don’t have any wrinkles, dear. Make it more realistic.” Brave woman. I added some lines and crow’s feet. She said it was a good likeness, that indeed I could draw. “Make it more realistic.” She rose above vanity for the sake of educating her child. She took a bird’s eye view.
In literature taking a bird’s eye view refers to using the omniscient narrator, the voice in a story that is outside the story but knows everything about the characters and events. In news reporting taking a bird’s eye view means covering issues from a discreet distance. At least that’s the way it used to be, alas it’s gone the way of the dodo bird. Now the mainstream press publishes manifestos of its own making on the front page and newscasters roll their eyes on TV, all the while hiding behind the persona of the objective journalist of yore. This ersatz bird’s eye view has distorted the abortion debate from the beginning. First it presented as fact the idea that abortion is a social good because it allows for educational attainment, labor force participation, and higher earnings. But as Grace Emily Stark points out in “Birth Control’s Failed Promises” (Human Life Review, Spring 2022), abortion and hormonal contraception are actually only good for accommodating women’s bodies to the male-normative workforce and educational institutions. Why not embrace concepts like flexible work and class schedules, reasonable childcare costs, paid maternity and paternity leave, and the acceptance of resume gaps? In other words, make society pregnancy friendly. Why isn’t this bird’s eye view presented as an objective and reasonable alternative?
An “abortion is morally benign” witticism is currently circulating. I first heard it in a social setting some months back, suggesting it’s being promoted on pro-abortion social media, and again this past February during a television round-table discussion moderated by Fox’s Shannon Bream. Male Republicans and a female Democrat were the participants. The subject was the overturning of Roe. The men held that the reinstating of state’s rights was more democratic; the woman was agitated to the point of being distraught at the failure of prolifers to grasp the objective truth in the aforementioned “abortion is morally benign” witticism, which is (drum roll please): “If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one!” Duh. Well then, if you don’t like bank robbery, not robbing one will suffice. Anything deeper is none of my business. Sounds like an aptitude test for being a guard at Auschwitz.
Kamala Harris spoke to abortion-rights advocates on February 24 about a Texas lawsuit challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Mifepristone for use as an abortion pill. In her signature condescending tone, she asserted that this was an assault on science and medicine itself, insisting “those who would attack this process and the ability of the FDA to make these decisions ought to look in their own medicine cabinets to figure out whether they’re prepared to say that those medications that they need to alleviate suffering and to prolong the quality of life should no longer be available to them.” Take that, you backward prolifers. According to Bloomberg News, however, the lawsuit, filed in federal court by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, “claims that the FDA fast-tracked the 2000 approval of the drug called mifepristone using a process intended to authorize treatments for life-threatening illnesses—and did so without sufficient scientific evidence in favor of approval.” Yes, the drug can also be used to treat things like Cushing’s syndrome and type 2 diabetes, which can be life threatening, but pregnancy in itself is not a life threatening disease. Instead of bringing pro-abortion rhetoric into the medicine cabinet, how about acknowledging that when the FDA assessed this abortion pill in 2000, it did impose restrictions on it due to safety concerns—for instance, patients had to visit a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital to use it. But in 2021, during the pandemic, and once Biden took office, the FDA lifted the in-person rule (nytimes.com March 8, 2023, Emily Bazelon, Staff Writer, NYT Magazine). So, we have yet another victim of Covid politics. And other things that also matter are not being addressed. Such as the likelihood that chemical abortion will happen much more often than before. The pills for it will just come in the mail—and even if that’s thwarted by law, how will the law be enforced? And with a big increase in use, what happens to the accuracy of statistics concerning “serious complications?”
This abortion pill regimen is actually done in two parts; the mifepristone kills the baby, a second pill, misoprostol, flushes it from the uterus by causing cramping and bleeding. This is something women and girls are going to do when they are home and alone. She’ll be in the bathroom. Tile is slippery when wet. Blood is slippery, and there may be a lot of it. This is no walk in the park, despite the mindless cheerleading. Establish a buddy system? Who is she going to ask, the boyfriend? That’s sexy! Don’t you think even husbands would be queasy about it? A girlfriend then. It’s one thing to drop a friend off at a clinic, but to be there after she’s swallowed the second pill and wait for a baby to be expelled? And if the world gets so callous that the ritual is turned into movie night and the girls make popcorn and laugh about it, what affect will that have on our already violent society? Did the FDA bureaucracy factor these things into their “safety assessment” when they stamped abortion pills APPROVED?
Abortion culture succeeded in being accepted as the incontestable expert in matters of social good, morality, and science by hijacking the omniscient narrator and taking refuge in it. Put the wrinkles back in.