Nail meet hammer!

Two weeks ago the Detroit News published a remarkable series of articles, “Empty Arms/Empty Hearts,” on the social management of the unwed pregnant during the baby snatch era. Reporter Marney Rich Keenan relied heavily on the narratives of Detroit-area women much as Ann Fessler did nationally in The Girls Who Went Away. You can access the entire series from this point, and then hit the various links on the right to read all.

Reponses to the series appeared in the News on December 27. They are not nice. Except for 2 letters, one from a snatchered nmom Susan Schnirring and the other from CUB’s Region 3 Director, Mary Ross, the letters charge Keenan and The News with pushing….you guessed it…abortion! So what if abortion has nothing to do with the women featured in the article? Can we expect any less from chattering anti-abortion busybodies who view every mention of “adoption” as an awesome opportunity to exploit their pet bete noir; any criticism of how it operates as “anti-adoption”?

Bastardette, of course, should have seen it coming. Having misspent 2 weeks of her youth each summer luxuriating on the beach at Gratiot Inn on Lake Huron, however, I thought a little better of Michiganders. Nonetheless, ruffling the feathers of the Golden Goose isn’t something that MSM does every day. In retrospect, why should Michiganders be any different than say South Dakotans or Mary Ann Kuharski when it comes to the yin and yang of abortion and adoption?

Transgressive mothers dissatisfied with their lot obviously are of the same ilk as that other recent troublemaker, ART trophy, Katrina Clark. Ungrateful, whiney, entitled, selfish, clueless birthmothers (Scott & Jamie Bahr) who speak out are culpubable sluts (Larry Gillis) who should celebrate not mourn their donation to the gene pool. How dare you voice an opinion about yourself! Shut up! Crawl back into your hole–and cover it up while you’re at it! And those snotty anonytons they “gave life to” should be grateful, too. (Suzanne Calvano). Dad’s aren’t even rated.

According to these chatterers, coerced abortion is the real problem, not coerced adoption which after all has a happy ending–for somebody. No “real woman,” of course, would ever undertake an abortion willingly. Abortion, for these snoops, never has a happy ending. That coercion in both instances denies female agency and is always wrong escapes these know-it-alls. To them the end is always more important than the means. Female agency doesn’t mean squat. Women are stupid.

Come to think of it, I did see it coming. Bastardette has sat through enough legislative hearings, read enough editorials, and listened to enough evangelical folderol and adoption “theology” to know that we always lose when these people claptrap their way into the statehouse and fly their baybee banners. They know nothing about adoption, but since when has that stopped them from spreading their factoids into every nook and cranny of the brains of legislators and newspaper readers? These frauds like to say they “sympathize” with adoptees who want their identities. They like to say they “commiserate” with birthparents who “believe” that they were treated poorly. But the sun goes down on us. These refugees from the loony bin have to “save the baybees” from the likes of us selfish uppity bastards and desperate housewhores without whom there would be no adoption to start with. We should just “get on with it” and tend our picket fences. We should sacrifice our genealogies, histories, and rights–make ourselves invisible–so the wingnuts can doze comfortably behind their Do Not Disturb signs.

Break out your hammers! Pry those signs off their doors! These are OUR lives, not their imaginary mythologies that keep them warm at night.

The letters are short enough to re-publish here, but I’ll make you look at them yourself. As always you need the full effect.

Go here to write see how to send a Letter to the Editor. Marney Rich Keenan can be reached at [email protected].


  1. Marley,
    lots of us mothers wrote supportive letters to the Detroit News, regarding Keenan’s series. It was the News’ decision to turn the situation into a forum for anti-abortionists and motherhaters. If anything, the letters prove that so-called prolifers do not ‘love” the mothers they are so fond of claiming to help in the ‘”crisis pregnancy centers.”

  2. Kuharski is a riot.

    And the NCFA is correct, adoption is too difficult. Too difficult, and too expensive, with lifelong costs not only for the surrendering mother but often for her husband and subsequent children.

    All of America needs to understand the costs involved, period.

    Alllison Quets ebubng a case in point.

    If the adoption industry can coerce a 40 year old engineer who got pregnant via IVF (or egg donation, as some have said) they can coerce anyone. No one is immune. No one is safe from these people.

  3. If anything, the letters prove that so-called prolifers do not ‘love” the mothers they are so fond of claiming to help in the ‘”crisis pregnancy centers.”

    Surely, they hate us mothers in all the pleasure taken in consigning us to a lifetime of punishment, and hate adoptees by shoving the “be grateful you weren’t aborted” rhetoric in their faces on a daily basis. What ignorance they espouse. And the stupid public swallows it all. Shame on the Detroit News for selectively publishing this spit against mothers and adoptees that they have through their letters section.

  4. I’ve believed for a long time that the anti-aborts feel as benovolent toward us as they do towards Bill Clinton–unless we can be a notch on their conversion belt. And then it’s only relative. We’re another of their means to an end who need to go away afterwards.

    I figured that a lot of supportive mail was sent to the Detroit News. Perhaps another letters section could be dedicated to those letters. Should I hold my breath? Despite that, though, I thought the series was outstanding.

    Kidnap–glad you enjoyed Mary Ann Kuharski. I have a tape of her at an anti-abortion conference you’d love. And she’s a former NCFA board member.

  5. 35 years ago, a woman with whom I was madly in love became pregnant. She denied I was the father, but I doubted her denial. Although she was 19, her parents convinced her to fly to New York for an abortion.

    The forces that led to her abortion were the same that led other young women in her position to place their children for adoption. The only difference was that her god-fearing parents could afford to send her to New York and avoid the embarrassment of an unmarried, pregnant daughter living in their home.

  6. Kidnap, I have to agree the adoption is difficult and expensive. So is IVF. If you can persuade all the infertile women in the world that they don’t need children, both could be eliminated.

    Also, while I support the right of any women to abort her child, I can’t help thinking that if given a choice the child might prefer to be born. If anyone decides that they don’t really like life after all, they could always end it themselves.

  7. Marley,

    I’m one of the people who wrote a letter to the editor. They chopped half my letter out, but I did point out in it that I grieve for these mothers and what they had to go through. It is true I’ve never personally experienced it myself, but I know people who have. So, I resent your implication that we know nothing of what we are talking about. I’m not going to say that every person who says they are pro-life has good things to say about mothers who find themselves in these situations. That is true of any issue, no matter which side you support and it is sad. However, I can tell you from personal experience that I do not think any of these women are stupid and I can’t even for one minute begin to imagine the pain they must have gone through. The author of those articles did suggest, by continuing to refer to “legislation prior to 1973”, that somehow if abortion had been available to these women, it would have been a better alternative. That is what the letter writers were responding to. You may not be aware of this, but the same author had written an article several months prior in support of abortion. It was not well received by many readers. This series of articles about forced adoption was her follow-up to that article. So, there was a very real, no matter how subtle, link to the whole issue of abortion and its lack of availability to these women.

    I think her series was very well written and heartfelt. It is a horrible thing what happened to these women. You can deny that I empathize with these women, but I do empathize and I do wish there was some way I could change the situation for them. All that probably means nothing to some people, but I want you to know that there are some of us pro-life people out here (the majority in fact) who are working hard to try to make lives better for these women so they don’t feel that abortion is their only option.

    The best we can all do is work to change laws, to educate people, and to raise awareness of the very real issues facing women today and how we can help them not feel that they have no other choices, but forced adoption or forced abortion. Believe it or not, many women do feel pressured or forced into getting an abortion. If you talk to women that have been in this situation (and I have), you will find that their lives have not been any easier because they had this “choice”.

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