A Tale from the Front Lines of the Abortion Wars | Mark Sullivan | Catholic World Report
A new book tells the story of a life lived fighting abortion.
“The time may come when we date the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet system from the appearance of Gulag,” wrote a German reviewer of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation. It may sound crazy, but the time may also come when we date the end of legalized abortion in the United States from the publication of Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars by Monica Migliorino Miller (Saint Benedict Press, 2012).
I recently began reading the abridged version of Gulag, and I was stuck by Solzhenitsyn’s descriptions of the injustice and the powerlessness of the people in communist Russia—in particular, by how fittingly his descriptions of the power structures of the Soviet system could be applied to the institutions that promote and protect legalized abortion in this country. I thought it would make an interesting story, so I requested a review copy of Abandoned. I thought it would make a good point of departure to talk about Solzhenitsyn.
I’ve never read a whole book about abortion. I’m a “good” pro-lifer who will on occasion pass out pro-life voting guides to his friends. I have a pro-life bumper sticker on my car, and I’ve been to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. a few times. I thought I knew all I needed to know about abortion, and that if I learned anything more, I’d just get more upset and frustrated. At least that is what I thought until I read Abandoned.
I couldn’t put it down. It wasn’t what I expected. It is not an abstract book of philosophy, biology, ethics, politics, or theology—even though Miller has her doctorate in theology and teaches at Madonna University in Michigan. It’s not a rehash of the same old pro-life rhetoric or arguments. This is the story of Miller’s involvement in the pro-life movement in Chicago and Milwaukee from 1976 to 1993. Her activities were controversial and sometimes shocking, but she never tells the reader what to do or think. The reader is forced to face the ugly truth of abortion and then decide what he is going to do about it.
Miller has her undergraduate degree in theater. She knows drama. She knows how to build scenes and hold the reader’s attention. She kept a journal during her years of pro-life work, so in writing this book, she was able to recreate scenes and conversations that give you the “you are there” feel.
I keep thinking, “This book would make a great movie.” It is the classic story of the underdog fighting the big bad bureaucracy to save the innocent. It would be America’s version of Schindler’s List, or Erin Brockovich with more modest clothing. It may be a tough sell, but I’m hoping a pro-life movie director will give it a try.