Can you imagine terminating, or accepting someone who did, 15 healthy pregnancies? Irene Vilar made that choice beginning as a student at Syracuse University while dating a much older professor, and her decisions are the basis for her new, and highly controversial memoir. She is now the mother of two young children.
The Washington Post writes:
That Irene Vilar embraces the role of motherhood is a grand incongruity, a mind-blower. She has just published a precariously nuanced, intellectually ambitious and unnervingly frank memoir titled “Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict.” In the book, Vilar writes about a “shameful” period in her life — before she became a mother — when she says she underwent 15 abortions in 15 years. What she now sees as her “nightmare” began with a teenage affair with a Syracuse University professor who was 34 years her senior.
The almost unimaginable claim — vetted by her publisher’s attorneys, who say they have been able to confirm all but two procedures done in now-defunct clinics — places Vilar at the outer extreme of the phenomenon of multiple abortions. It has also made her a sudden target of blogospheric vitriol and disapproval.
I haven’t yet read the book and am not sure I will. Not because I disapprove of her choice — it was legally hers to make, and ethically and morally hers to live with — but because the decision to end any pregnancy is deeply personal. There’s no doubt in my mind that Vilar chose to end the lives of 15 potential children. As much as her choice(s) may horrify many, if abortion is legal and a woman has the right to choose — the meaning of pro-choice — it leaves her free to make choices that many of us would abhor.
The First Amendment and the skills and passion of the ACLU are sacred ground for many. If the essential principle is freedom, what are its limits?