[Note: we realize that the topic of abortion may be highly controversial among Buddhists, and we do not require readers to agree with this post, or any post we publish on Turning Wheel Media. Nevertheless, we feel this piece represents a valuable perspective, and we are grateful to the author for sharing it with us. Comments on this post may express strong disagreement, but may not attack the author. Any that do will be removed. Thank you.]
What Goes Into Having An Abortion
My father’s incest
My mother’s blindness and shame
Cosmo covers full of blonde and boobs
The man masturbating in an abandoned apartment building
Off the Uptown el,
My desperate attempt to hold on
To a decaying affair.
I could not stand to be left.
I was raised by Cosmo and Dad and 17 Magazine and 1981 years
Of Christian dogma to believe
My body was others’ property, I had no worth other than
What it could sexually provide.
Dumping ground for daddy rage.
To counter that, Our Bodies Our Selves.
A feminist fist with a voice behind it, shouting,
You must have compassion for yourself
I had the abortion.
(Training ground for bodhisattvas. Looks different
Than what all those men think, eh?)
Kate Niles is the award-winning author of The Basket Maker (a novel), The Book of John (novel), and Geographies of the Heart (poetry). She lives in Durango, CO, with her family.
This post appears as part of June’s series, “Sex, Gender, Power”: a systemic take on the Third Precept of Buddhist ethics. BPF’s year-long curriculum, The System Stinks, brings spiritual activists together to explore the Five Precepts on a collective, social level.