Posted on March 30, 2015
Sister Apple? Oh, Brother!
Abortion harms the living, too
In an attempt to reverse a decades-long decline for their cause, pro-abortion activists have decided to become more strident. Gone is their defensive “safe, legal and rare” rhetoric, replaced by the more confrontational slogan, “Abortion on demand, without apology!” Rather than concede that abortion is undesirable, they hope to destigmatize it by speaking about it more openly. It is from this perspective that the obligatorily three-named activist Mary Walling Blackburn has written an online children’s book called Sister Apple, Sister Pig.
The main character is a three-year-old named Lee, who is left conspicuously gender-neutral by the author’s strenuous avoidance of pronouns (e.g., “Lee’s uncle asks Lee if Lee would like to read a book.”). Lee’s parents have told the toddler about a sister who had been aborted a couple years earlier. They couldn’t admit to killing her, of course, so they’ve encouraged Lee to perceive her as a “happy ghost” who can assume any form. This grotesque indiscretion is the kind of thing that self-congratulatory liberals like to call “honesty,” even though it requires them to lie.
Lee points to an apple in a tree and asks if it is his sister. Papa replies, “If you would like the apple to be your sister … But, the winter is long and you would have to eat her.” Lee says, “Nah! The apple is not my sister!” The two of them walk over to a pigpen, where Lee shouts, “The pig is my sister!” Papa says, “If you would like the pig to be your sister, be my guest! But … will you eat her fried, stewed, or baked?!” Lee decides, “No, the pig is not my sister!”
When they arrive at a pond, Lee asks, “Does my sister live here?” Ever determined to portray reality as a matter of individual choice, Papa asks, “Do you want her to?” Lee, wanting a more conclusive answer, says, “Well, she used to live in Mama and doesn’t anymore. She doesn’t live with us.” Papa confirms this, but without further explanation, as if the happy ghost sister might have simply left of her own accord.
“I’m not sad that my sister is a ghost!” says Lee, before launching into a Malthusian diatribe to justify the sister’s killing on utilitarian grounds. “If you kept my sister, you would be tired, sad and mad! … Because we would be wild and loud and we would fight. Mama would be scared that she could not buy enough food for us. Mama might not have time to read to me, to paint with me, to play with me, to talk with me.” Papa agrees, adding, “Maybe you will have another sister when there is more time, and there is more money.”
One wonders why, instead of “another” sister, Papa doesn’t promise Lee that the happy ghost sister will return in the form of the family’s next child. If Lee could make the sister be an apple or a pig, then turning her into a new sister or brother ought to be child’s play, so to speak. By suggesting “another” sister, Papa tacitly admits that the first one is gone forever.
Before long, Lee will learn to put two and two together and figure out that the sister is dead, that it was Mama and Papa who had her killed, and that their excuse for doing so is that they lacked the resources to care for both her and Lee. Sister had to die because Lee needed her food. For those scoring at home, Lee is now a genderless believer in ghost-pigs who harbors thoughts of cannibalism, and will soon develop an eating disorder driven by survivor’s guilt. It doesn’t really matter, because Lee’s only importance is as a means of demonstrating the parents’ shameless embrace of their abortion.
In the preface, Blackburn writes, “Masochists, look elsewhere; between these pages you will not find the “luxury of grief,” culpability’s sharp sting or salty guilt.” What suffices for a dedication reads, “To Little Friends, earthly and unworldly” – the unworldly ones being dead, of course. Excuse them if they don’t feel honored by the recognition.
Those who are culpable for abortion must not be made to feel the sharp sting or salty guilt of their culpability. No, they’re supposed to wear their culpability smugly, like one of those “I had an abortion” tee-shirts that Planned Parenthood tries to sell. If a surviving sibling is made to suffer as a result, so be it. After all, what’s the sacrifice of another child?
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