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February 09 2012

(SPOILER) EW.com interview Joss Whedon about the latest events in Buffy season 9. A good read. And Mr Chambliss speaks here.

Well, I'd say it's definitely on -- don't think he would be taking time away from "The Avengers" for major industry press just to say "psych!" next month.
A good read indeed. I just think people are afraid for Buffy at this point and wonder when she'll get back to being her ol' Slayerific self again. I'm sure they want a sign of that sometime.
Does Juno really never say abortion?
It makes me a little too happy that Joss is talking about. Buffy. It warms my heart that this story means THAT much to him :)

And Andrew Chambliss is terrific. I love his take on Spike.
Gossi, it's hard to imagine Juno does not use the word, since she actually goes to an abortion clinic, but I haven't seen it lately so I guess anything's possible.
I don't think the word abortion is spoken in "Juno". I can't possibly see why the hell that's such a big deal. If the issue is to establish that Buffy or Juno or any 21st century woman in the western world has this choice available to them, HERP da freakin' DERP. No feces.

Which, by the way, I've seen "Juno". "Juno" is a movie I like. You, Season 9, are no "Juno".

Reading the Chambliss interview, I can't help but think... they talk about the rhetorical question of whether or not there is anything for Buffy after Slaying. The circumstances and the reasoning she uses feel like the answer they are running with is "no, as a matter of fact, there's not". Because she's never going to not be the Slayer, if that much hadn't become clear by now, so the reasoning she applies now will ALWAYS apply.
1)It sounds like Buffy is going to go through with the abortion.

2)Joss knows who the father is and the complications of the pregnancy plot and who the father is, is rooted in the Buffyverse.It's very comic booky and not normal but hopfully still relatable.
KoC, not really. They anticipated that problem by having her say, "its not being the slayer, it's me," or words to that effect. The implication being that it's her immaturity, not the slaying that's the problem.

[ edited by Squishy on 2012-02-09 02:07 ]
Juno not saying the word "abortion" is cowardly. Plain and simple. I really liked that movie but now knowing it doesn't even say the word, it has just gone down in my estimation greatly.

It does indeed sound like Buffy will go through with her abortion.
I loathe Juno. To me, it's one of the most unrealistic movies I've ever seen.

It's funny how a vampire slayer getting pregnant and considering an abortion is more relatable than Juno, but that is the magic that is Joss. :)
I never realized there was a vocabulary check before writing becomes brave. And for whatever its worth, "Juno" is still going to be a popular and memorable feature film long after people even remember that "Buffy" received comic continuation, and the fact of Buffy having an abortion is as obscure as electric Superman. So I wonder which will be considered the more culturally significant and representative of the issues related to unplanned pregnancy in the 21st century? Actually, I don't wonder; I already know.
I thought Buffy was going to get pregnant in S8. I also figured she would contemplate abortion. How many times have we heard Buffy in Act One of a story talk about how she didn't choose X, she's not ready, et cetera. In Act One, Buffy often does not do the heroic thing, and this issue is Act One of the pregnancy arc.

The interviewer asked, "Did you always know that she would be getting an abortion..?" We've only seen her *decide* to have an abortion. We haven't seen her get one. Many an Act One decision's reversed before the curtain falls. Joss's reply--"I donít think Buffy should have a baby. I donít think Buffy can take care of a baby. I agree with Buffy"--makes it sound like a done deal, but I recall something about trusting the tale, not the teller, and I heard that from the teller himself. I'll believe this plot development when and if I see it, not before.

I didn't think there was anything out of character for Buffy in first deciding to have an abortion, though I've seen nothing that makes me think it will be her final decision. In her life as a hero, she's never started out ready. It's never been the right time. She didn't choose, she was chosen, and it was unfair, unwanted and nearly unbearable.

How has she dealt? By being a mother. A mother to Willow, whom she nurtured from nerd to nerd-hero to goddess. Mother to Xander, who had too little parental direction on the journey from boy to man. She protected her birth family (and its magic addition) and created an ever larger "found" family. She nurtured an army of girls like her, so they wouldn't have to go through alone what she had to. I think it's in her to doubt she can do it, and then prove she can do it wonderfully. I'll wait and see.
I didn't think it was possible for me to respect Joss more but reading this interview makes me think even more of him as a human being who deeply cares about important stuff and isn't afraid to "go there".

I'll support Buffy no matter what decision she makes; imo, the decision to have an abortion is probably the right one for Buffy.
KoC, Juno isn't relevant anymore. I don't hear anyone talk about it. The film handled pregnancy terribly. Terrible development, no relatability, terrible script. Joss executive producing and Andrew Chambliss' writing is better than Diablo Cody's one passable script. My opinion of course. Just please don't go on Whedonesque and diss what might just be the best Buffy comic issue yet. If you don't like it, that's fine. But don't bash it just for the sake of it.
I agree very much with pointy that there is still some significant possibility that the planned abortion will not occur. Notice Joss's emphasis on the "decision" being the important thing. I think he chose his words very carefully, and he may well be trying to make us think it's a done deal when it's not.

Whether or not he follows through, I must admit to being a little disappointed in what seems to be an instance of Joss making narrative decision more for political reasons than for the sake of Story. Maybe I'm naive in thinking that art should transcend politics, but I somehow feel a little cheated here, despite the fact that I otherwise thought it was a fantastic issue. I think I'd have preferred it if Joss hadn't felt the need to say he "agrees" with Buffy. It leaves me with the sense that I've been preached to, which is not something I'm looking for in a Buffy comic.
I never realized there was a vocabulary check before writing becomes brave.

If you can't even say the word then, yeah, I fail to see how the writing is "brave." When a large part of that movie deals with Juno contemplating an abortion it becomes quite obvious that it was a conscious move on the writer's part to avoid using the term. And thatís spineless.
It leaves me with the sense that I've been preached to...


"You're not wrong"

-- Xander Harris, "Lie to Me"

There is a distinct feeling, when couched in this press blitz, that this is more dogma than fiction until this part is over and done with. We'll have our Very Special Issue of "Buffy", Joss will have the golf-clapping adulation of his peers for his daring and insight, and then character-driven fiction may eventually resume. It's cloying to realize that Buffy's whole throughline in Season 9 has been contrived from the start to deliver this moment.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2012-02-09 03:11 ]
I rather find the constant impugning of Joss' motives as merely political rather than creative and character-driven to be cloying. To each their own, I suppose.

I'm aware I'm mis-using cloying. I'm just tired of it. My last comment on the matter.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2012-02-09 03:18 ]
Bix, he explicitly acknowledges his political stake in the story in the USA Today interview --

And he concedes there's a little bit of a political jab in the Buffy story line. It's not that women should be on one side or the other, he says, but that people have to make this decision and talk about it.

"It offends me that people who purport to be discussing a decision that is as crucial and painful as any a young woman has to make won't even say something that they think is going to make some people angry."


Unless you object to the writer's characterization of that as a "political jab", but I don't see how one could make a serious argument against the choice of term. Politics is alternately the art (or science) of the possible, or the art (or science) of who gets what, when, and how much -- so a story contrived to say that the way things oughtta be is that abortion should always merit discussion and that it's as good a choice as any other is a per se political motive.
KoC, he doesn't say "it's as good a choice as any other." Those are your words. However it is a safe and legal choice that thousands of women make every year in this country and he's right that making the choice to terminate a pregnancy is not shown as often in popular culture as making the choice to not terminate. Those are just facts, not political.

And who cares if it is political? It's his story (and Andrew's) to tell. Right?
The term is "little bit". Clearly Joss thought that the abortion story was a good way to tell part of the bigger story. To call that "contrived" is a little misleading. All stories are contrived.

And what Joss was objecting to, it seems to me, was that when a story was about whether a woman was going to have a baby or not, it is disingenuous not to actually face that option head on.
Here's the problem. Buffy has always been political. Always. There was never a day that it was anything but a feminist orientation to it. It may have failed in that goal from time to time, but it was ALWAYS there. This isn't somehow MORE dogmatic then the girls with power montage. Or misogynist cartoon being skinned alive. Or Faith is evil because she's had a rough life.

If someone doesn't agree with the politics, fine. But call it what it is. And it ISN'T a departure.
And who cares if it is political?


Quickly redrawn line is quickly redrawn.

He is right that making the choice to have an abortion isn't shown as often as making the choice not to. What doesn't seem to cross his or anyone else's mind is that that fact has its own verisimilitude -- the actual decision to have an abortion isn't as common as the decision not to. Why is that not relevant? Why do we need to contrive the first seven issues of the season around demonstrating that which is already commonly understood, that abortion is a legal choice? Write an op-ed, man. I didn't need a 7 issue contrivance to make this point and a lot of wasted foreshadowing that extends beyond Buffy (like Spike's foreshadowed father figure role going all the way back to his webcomic) to know that Buffy could get an abortion any old time she wants one.
I'm sorry, the question is "why can't he write an arc that deals with abortion?"

I don't read it for the politics, I read it for the emotions and there IS a story there. Would something else have been better? Maybe. Is there a lot of emotion and drama in what we're getting? Definitely.

And quick point of order, the word abortion does occur in Juno. I get Joss's point that these movies seem to soft peddle that decision process though.

[ edited by azzers on 2012-02-09 03:59 ]
There's no reason he can't -- he has the right to use his fiction as a policy paper, but I don't see a reason not to call it as much when he does. Issue #7, if she goes ahead with the abortion, will be the very first archetypal "Very Special Episode" trope we've gotten out of... well, the whole Buffyverse, really. Yay?

The only "reason" he can't would be commercial, and that will probably factor on down the line other than Issue #7 rubbernecking, but if he doesn't care and Dark Horse doesn't care, that's no problem either.
Bring your own fucking subtext, I guess. Gotta love Joss and his wonderful stories. As per usual the comments here tend to tell a lot more about the person making the comments (myself included of course) than about the actual story. :)

I love the story we are being told. I find it real and poignant and utterly engrossing. I too think this is probably the best issue of both seasons so far. My heart broke with Buffy's on this decision and Spike's unspokenness and unrequitedness makes me cry.

I also loved the suicide bomber episodes of BSG and and any other shows that show political issues turned slightly so we get to see a different perspective from the safe white bread we are usually fed.

As always and with love, YMMV.
I dunno... I just can't agree. If that's the case and I have foreknowledge that Willow became gay because Joss was sick of shows having people come out and flipping back (I think it was in a commentary but it might have been an interview), then that whole arc becomes a "very special episode."

I think most arcs come from wanting to address a certain topic and making it organic to the characters and I just don't see this as all that different.

[ edited by azzers on 2012-02-09 03:59 ]
I don't understand why anyone is surprised that Joss has added an issue that he considers important to his story. I think an abortion is the best thing for Buffy at this point in her life and I'm very happy that Joss is giving women who have had to make this difficult decision a voice (the voice of his hero, no less).

...when I signed up for Whedonesque (after years of trying!) this week, I didn't think my first post would be about abortion. I'll never stop being surprised ;)
It is remarkable that most of the commentary on the abortion issue in this thread and all of the ( later 5 or so) related ones are done by *male* posters. Not that they don't have the right to vent their opinions, or that their opinions don't matter, but it is remarkable nonetheless. Tells me a heck of a lot about subjective vs the objective PoV here.
I've always figured men and women have a more or less equal stake in this subject, not because they both can give birth but rather because they both must successfully manage to be born, and while we all who are discussing may have managed to find our way into existence and are therefore personally clear of the issue, we sort of owe our input on behalf of those twisting in the wind in the future. In touch with my inner zygote.
For the record, dorotea, I have girl parts but I do agree with the sentiment of your post. :) It is remarkable.
KoC, can you objectively imagine your body being violently opened via your most intimate passage, scraped by stainless steel tools and bled , while you being unconscious? Just curious.
Yes, yes, men are eeeevil, thanks.

Dorotea, as a matter of fact I can. Who gives a crap, though? Just curious. What is that little thought exercise meant to prove?

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2012-02-09 05:00 ]
Did not mean to imply men are evil. I love men. They are the source of my endless and perpetual entertainment and joy. But. You are not us. Period. Grow a pair of ovaries or eat your bolonia when it comes to reproductive issues. No offense.
In touch with your inner zygote, sure, but surely not your inner womb.

Simply put, a woman's* body is not property of the people, by the people, and for the people.


*Or more accurately, individuals possessing uteri.

[ edited by Emmie on 2012-02-09 05:07 ]
Nor is her child's, would be my answer. Which is a pretty nice three sentence recap of the entire abortion debate, I suppose.
I wonder if this is the kind of discussion Joss wanted us to be having.
King, I completely agree with Dorotea and Emmie.

And no one here is saying men are evil.
To be honest, Dorotea I've been discussing Joss's right to tell the story he wants to tell. That it deals with this topic is incidental. So the only thing I find remarkable at the moment is that my chromosomes somehow ended up a topic of conversation.

Don't we play the ball here?
@azzers Aww! I can throw you a fragment of X chromosome of mine if you like. Kidding here. I don't think Joss went all the way into this trouble just to tell us that he is pro-choice. His pro-choice-ness played a role - but it was only part of the deal. Still...

(with contempt) But what else could I expect from a bunch of low-rent, no-account hoodlums like you? Hoodlums, yes, I mean you and your friends, your whole sex, throw 'em in the sea for all I care, throw 'em in and wait for the bubbles, men with your groping and spitting all groin no brain three billion of you passing around the same worn-out urge. Men! With your ... sales!
Is it just me or has Buffy not *always* been political ... in the sense that it is a deliberately, self-proclaimed, feminist narrative, that dealt consciously (and constantly) with issues of female empowerment, oppressive patriarchy, etc.? Was there no "political" implication in the Larry storyline? The Willow and Tara storyline? Were any of those storylines less valid or human because the writers had a political ideology that informed their stories?

I don't understand why people think this is so different.

Personally, I love Joss even more after reading this interview. I think Buffy's situation, reaction, and ultimate decision in this issue are all emotional, relatable, and damn good storytelling. I'm more invested in the comics right now than I've been in ages.
I've been quote-fu'd. Anyhow, I agree it's probably just part of the deal. I long ago came to terms with Joss wanting to tell a a story with impact over making political points. I think he looks for an easy to relate to story that matters and then tells it.
Buffy is Joss' baby, but would Buffy actually do this? I feel like season 9 has taken Buffy back years so far. I respect they want to give her normal problems, but she was leading an army of girls, thousands at her command--she can handle a baby. Sure, this gives a unique perspective, there has never been a pop culture icon who went through with an abortion, but does Buffy need to be that woman? Buffy is the strongest woman in the history of pop culture and they are giving her an abortion? At least Blair Waldorf got a car wreck to get her out of raising a child. It would have been so interesting to see how Buffy handled motherhood. It's very hard to see Buffy acting like a selfish teenager. All of that being said, however, I do believe in Joss and I think in the end he will do something beautiful and honest. I just want to start recognizing me hero.
I'm very happy that they addressed abortion but I'm still not convinced that she will go through with it. Maybe she just hesitates for a bit (decides to wait just a bit longer)and has a miscarriage when she loses her arm?

Overall, this was a nice interview but it felt like Joss was picking his words carefully.
KoC and dorotea, I'm tired of you two fighting here. You've been warned before about it. Consider yourselves suspended for a day or two.
I agree that Buffy is a very strong woman, but I don't believe that abortion is a 'weak' choice. Actually, I think she's doing a very brave thing.
It's very hard to see Buffy acting like a selfish teenager.

I think that's an unfortunate way to characterize a woman in her twenties dealing honestly and forthrightly with the difficult practical and emotional realities of an unexpected and unplanned pregnancy.
I wish Buffy wouldn't have to face such a traumatic moment in her life; but it is what it is, and however things unfold, I'm with my Buffy, all the way.
Buffy is the strongest woman in the history of pop culture and they are giving her an abortion?

I haven't read any issue of season 9 yet, but from the looks of the panels I have seen, getting an abortion doesn't look like an easy decision for her. I have no idea why she makes that choice, but I can imagine a few reasons that would show strength, not weakness or selfishness.

Anyway, judging from the reactions on a fan site, I can see why Joss would think it's an important topic.
It's not simply a "Very Special Issue" (what a dismissive characterization that is) when Joss decides to write about something that millions of women face in their lifetimes: an unwanted pregnancy. Buffy has previously dealt with numerous serious situations particular to young women, as well as those that only The Chosen One & their ilk have to confront.

Calling it "A Very Special Buffy" attempts to reduce this storyline to "A Problem Play" - but Joss writes about what he cares about, and this is something he cares about. He has never hesitated to throw The Difficult at Buffy, in the interests of conflict, character development, and making stories relevant to his readers' lives. As many have already noted, he's always been clear that his concerns, both political & otherwise, are going to inform his story choices.

What I find surprising in these discussions - in this thread & others - is the general implication that abortion is chosen only by those that are young & unformed, relatively messed up or confused, and unready to have the children they will of course ultimately have. That choosing to have an abortion is primarily expressive of selfishness or cowardice, and not a valid life choice of childlessness in the face of fertility.

It isn't only immaturity that makes women choose to have abortions - it may be a decision to never rear children. It was in my case, and I don't think I am unique. I've known plenty like me.

Men who don't want to have children and still want to have potentially-pregnancy-producing sex are uniquely situated to make that choice more easily - but just as women who want the same thing are frequently left to take full responsibility for birth control, they often have to deal (alone) and within their bodies with the consequences of: broken condoms, birth control pills that provide inadequate protection, spermicidal foam that fails to work effectively, etc., etc. (This doesn't even mention the consequences of rape and other such circumstances beyond their control, such as poor access to birth control, money issues, etc...)

Abortion may be seen as "wishing it away" but I see mine as completely valid life choices, given that I was obviously rather fertile, birth control methods are both faulty and limited, and yet I had close to zero desire to be a mother. I wasn't ever going "to be ready", and not only was abortion legal (and still is, knock on wood for my sisters), if you don't believe that life begins at conception, it's not much of an ethical or moral consideration to terminate a fetus a few weeks after conception. At least, it wasn't for me.

This may be controversial as well, but I was never tortured by my abortions, it wasn't an earth-shattering choice for me, and while I took it seriously, I never regretted them, and never considered bearing or giving birth to a baby I did not want.

(And by the way, none of the men involved wanted to have children at that time, either - and interestingly, none - that I've kept in touch with - ever wanted to have them.)

There are a lot of misconceptions about abortions, the women who have them, why women have them, and what it means to them afterwards - there are a host of different motives and reactions, but my stated position and experience is not popular. I thought it was time to hear from someone who never wanted children, and was never agonized about her decision, either pre- or post-abortions.

(Re the above: "the actual decision to have an abortion isn't as common as the decision not to."

Though we know that many more women give birth than terminate pregnancy, we do not and cannot know how many unwanted and unplanned pregnancies go which way. This is more germaine to this conversation than how many altogether go to term, as there are obviously a host of welcome pregnancies included in the birth statistics. The fact that there is a low percentage of abortions as compared to live births is hardly relevant; and the large number of chosen births does not make an abortion storyline more "contrived" or have less "verisimilitude".)


ETF: typo

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2012-02-09 20:35 ]
Yeah, going by the interview it really does seem that the abortion is a done deal. I do hope Joss will give Buffy more then a 1 issue decision.
And i can't help but feel that Buffy is being made to suffer needlessly yet again just to make a point. Losing her mother in such a traumatic way(imo made the most impact because it seemed so normal,real), fighting a hellgod to save her sister, being forced to save and guide a group of girls, leading an army...
I kind of wish she would get a break and find at the very least some happyness. It's those moments of joy that give us strength to fight harder through the darkness. It seems so long ago since Buffy's genuinely been happy.

I agree with Wood, i do believe that Buffy can do it. It would be hard,frustrating and her son/daughter(most likely) would have the biggest mark on it's head that the baddies will try to come after. But i believe Buffy has the will and the support to do it.
Very well-said, QuoterGal. Thank you for giving us a sorely needed perspective from a woman who's actually been there. :)
Adding my thanks to QuoterGal, for sharing your experience and your lucidity in doing so.
Ditto, Quotergal, thank you.
If I quote QuoterGal, will the internet explode like it does if you google Google?
Regarding Juno, joss is wrong* - it's mentioned 3 times directly, and Juno's step mum suggests it without mentioning word.

JUNO
Yes, hello, I need to procure a hasty
abortion?... What was that? I'm sorry,
I'm on my hamburger phone and it's
kind of awkward to talk on. It's
really more of a novelty than a
functional appliance.

Sidebar: I own that hamburger phone.

JUNO
Better? Okay, good. Yeah, as I said,
I need an abortion, two... sixteen...
Um, it was approximately two months
and four days ago that I had the
sex. That's a guestimate. Okay, next
Saturday? Great.

LEAH
Well, are you going to go to
Havenbrooke or Women Now for the
abortion? You need a note from your
parents for Havenbrooke.

* It's possible they cut around it for the US release.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-02-09 14:30 ]
I think this was a wonderful issue. Buffy HAS always been political. She was one of the first empowered feminist icons of the modern era (if you can call the 90s modern.) She did not run around in short-shorts and/or a bustier and she was a symbol of female empowerment breaking out of the patriarchal mode. Had the actual show progressed past Season 7, I have no doubt this issue would have been dealt with on the TV series. As a feminist icon, how could an issue extremely relevant to woman's rights not be explored?

And it IS and issue of women's rights. Inner zygote is not a thing. A single cell, or even a hundred cells are not sentient. Until a fetus has a basically developed brain, something that doesn't happen for several months into a pregnancy, its basically a growth... tissue created by the body that multiply over time. And I am not being cavalier about this, I am just stating the scientific realities of fetal development.

The fact is, I am a male. Should I have a wife, girlfriend, one-night-stand, etc. get pregnant, I personally would not want her to get an abortion because I want to be a dad someday and would not want to miss the opportunity.

That said, in terms of the biological work a father and mother do in regards to creating that child are incomparable. A male puts in maybe 20 to 45 minutes - sometimes less, rarely more - into creating a life. A female puts in 9 months. During that time her body is irrevocably changed. She risks a number of illnesses that can even possibly lead to death. As far as I know, very few males have died from having an orgasm and its after effects.

What men want has no place in this debate. Its a female issue that I believe should be dealt with and decided by females. No woman has the right to tell a man whether on not he can have a vasectomy - which is the only close comparison available.

As for whether the decision is brave or not, I think Buffy is extremely brave. Having an abortion is not an easy decision. Its neither wrong nor right, its just hard, and her being mature enough to see that perhaps she is not in the right place in her life to raise a child is extremely mature and responsible. My heart goes out to her because you can tell she DOES want this baby, but she knows that right now, she is not in a place where she can do best by a child.

Buffy had an amazing mom. I think that if she feels that she may not be able to live up to that standard she will never forgive herself for bringing a life into the world who did not have everything she had. I can sympathize.
I agree with Tennyoelf. Buffy hasn't had the abortion yet. I believe she'll decide on keeping her baby only to have Simone come in and taking away Buffy's decision (ex. shooting her?) ending with Buffy losing her child.
gossi, I don't believe Joss' issue was that it wasn't brought up. I'm fairly sure The Secret Life brings it up sixteen times an episode, but it was the way it was dealt. It's a little story beat. It wasn't a real reflective decision. Granted he's not infallible and the film does say the word, but I don't think that's the point he was making. (He cites Friday Night Lights. How that show handled it is what he's after. Juno was never going to end with an abortion. Neither is a show on ABCF).
There are a lot of people on this thread suggesting that it would be better if Buffy had the choice taken away from her by having a miscarriage. I find that odd.

Also, the question of whether she should have the abortion or not is not just about whether she can personally cope with raising a baby, it's about the kind of life that child would have as the offspring of someone who is a warrior and often a target.

I like this quote from the last line of Chambliss's interview "Unrequited love is always more fun than requited love."
Buffy has never been "about" politics. It's about good and evil, female empowerment, family, love, friendship, and responsibility. These are universal themes that transcend one's political views on particular issues.

I personally am pro-choice, and as a general matter, I loved this issue, especially the focus on the characters and their emotional journeys. I don't have any problem with Buffy considering the possibility of having an abortion, though I tend to agree with those who say that actually going through with is out of character for her.

My principal gripe with this issue is that Joss seems to have made Buffy a mouthpiece to articulate his views on a politically divisive issue. I might not have even noticed it, except that he went out of his way in the EW interview to announce that he "agrees" with Buffy's choice, and that it was important for her to make the right decision.

It just seems a tad officious for Joss to use Buffy as a vehicle to tell me what's "right," especially on a subject as personal, and as divisive, as abortion. I think the focus should be on telling an emotionally resonant and satisfying story, while leaving value judgments to the reader.

On a related note, I remain skeptical that she will actually follow through on this decision. There are simply too many dramatic opportunities that would be missed by terminating the pregnancy, and Joss's interview seems worded carefully to avoid any definitive statement that this is a done deal, even though it also seems designed to make us think it's a done deal.

She may change her mind, but that seems fairly unlikely given Joss's negative comments about Juno. More likely, circumstances beyond her control will intervene and prevent a successful abortion.

Again, overall, I thought it was a terrific issue, notwithstanding my complaint above.
Iīm pro-life and i loved the issue; i try not to be closed-minded, both sides have far more valid points than they sometimes want or can admit. And i think that no matter your position on the debate, the debate itself is necesary and welcome; i also think this makes perfectly sense dramatically and makes for a good story, not an excuse to get polemic issues to debate.
To pick up on something doubleshiny said above - I have seen the comment on some websites discussing this that Buffy shouldn't abort, but instead go ahead and further down the line she should be shot and miscarry. If ever there's a reason why Buffy is addressing abortion, this be it.

As for Buffy never being political - it's called "Buffy The Vampire Slayer". It was put together in 1992 as a movie -- around the time 48% of people in San Francisco said being gay was morally wrong. Interesting time. If you go back to the original interviews when Buffy TV was in production, Joss was saying things like he wanted the show to make people see women as "heroes, not heroic". That he wanted to create an icon. Through the show and comics her and her friends have fought wars, lead armies, experimented in drugs magic, had gay sex for fun, slept around, had gay relationships.

In 2010, a Gallup poll of Americans said 43% of Americans believe being gay is morally wrong. That's the lowest percentage point they've ever polled in America.

Somebody said in the other thread Buffy The Vampire Slayer shouldn't touch abortion as it would alienate the audience. That half the audience would find it morally wrong.

So we better shoot Willow, and have her recover not gay any more, nor wanting to do magic. That would be the most humane option, and it would offend the least amount of people. Right?

[ edited by gossi on 2012-02-09 18:58 ]
Besides how great this issue was (Chambliss and Jeanty did a fantastic job), my personal feelings on Joss and this interview just took me to a higher level of understanding.

I honestly believe he wasn't trying to preach to us or push his views on us. This is just his opinion on a subject matter and I applaud him for shedding some light on an issue women are constantly whispering about behind closed doors.

And no I don't think he's using Buffy as a way to promote his view. He's telling her story. This is what the man does, tells stories about real issues in life that happen to women and people everyday. We all have our opinions on the matter lets respect his instead of bashing a beautifully written/drawn issue because we don't agree.

We have a month to reflect until issue 7 hits the stands and until that time we can only wait to see what happens and what lies in store. I believe in Joss and I know he won't steer me wrong, he never has.
I haven't kept up with the comics in the ongoing series (as far as buying all the issues) but I've heard about and read some of the plot details along the way. It seems to me that since Buffy has always been not just a slayer but a young woman who always wanted to have a "normal" life apart from slaying, it makes sense this would come into play. I almost feel as though it was inevitable; her trying to balance as has been said above, her duties with personal life happenings. And this is one of the biggest she's ever had to make a decision about. I'll most certainly catch up with the series at some point and read how it all played out. I'm very intrigued by how the decision she makes will inform how the series continues.
After years of watching all things Joss Whedon, I have learned this: "Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain" ~D'HOFFRYN. What would be more painful than having Buffy to have the choice of keeping her child stripped away from her? Hence my opinion she'll miscarry. Overall, yes, I will always be pro-life for myself, no, I will not and do not hold others to my beliefs, but when it comes down to it, it's Buffy. And I love Buffy, so I'll always be on her side.
Buffy is always been about the hard choices of life, the dificulties of life, the hardship of life... A bunch of people trying to be happy in a messy world. Unwanted pregnancy and abortion is a part of life, and moreso, of the hardships of life. Its a perfectly fit thing to be on Buffy.
Thanks, peepitys-all who liked my post.

I thought I'd mention - I don't have a horse in the "What Buffy Should Do" race - I don't have any position on it, as 1) it's a question of story, and it's not me telling the story, and 2) even if Buffy were a real person, one can't decide this question for another.

In some ways, as an audience member, I think it would be more interesting to see Buffy with a child than either aborting or miscarrying, but depending on how it's handled, any outcome may give good story. Time will tell...

I do know this - Joss is right that lately, and more and more, the abortion option is not as freely discussed or shown in mass media entertainment as it was even 20 years ago. And people are *much* more shocked when I tell my story *now* than at the time(s). They're even shocked when I don't tell my backstory & just mention that I never wanted children, as if that's unthinkable & unmentionable, or something in me is embarrassingly broken.

It's a choice, and that's a real thing, not just words. Some people want to be parents, and some people don't, but like atheism - religious belief, like child-rearing being the norm - people preferring not to bear & raise children get strong pressure to 1) have kids and 2) not discuss it if they choose not to.

Bugger that.


ETF: fat finger fall-out

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2012-02-09 21:01 ]
Joss' interview(s) struck a chord long kept silent within me and brought tears to my eyes.

I confess I've been reading these comments with a great deal of unease and have struggled with my desire to finally give voice to my own experiences. Because, you see, after reading through every single one of these comments in the various threads about the development in Buffy Season 9 #6, especially after reading these comments, I somehow still feel the need to justify my decision to have an abortion. I never realized how much the sense of shame affected me, but these discussions the last few days have helped bring these feelings into better focus. It's comments by certain menfolk who seem to have an answer to and argument for why it's absolutely wrong for a woman in any circumstance to choose to have an abortion that stoke the flames of shame. To further reduce Joss'/Buffy's decision to what you call a PR stunt is disgustingly dismissive, self-righteous, pompous... I'll stop there. You're fortunate you will never be put in a position to make that decision, and until you are you simply couldn't understand all the considerations that come into play when you have to face an unexpected, unwanted pregnancy.

I wanted to thank QuoterGal for so unapologetically and sincerely relating her experience. I think I would have stayed silent had I not read your post first. She wrote:

What I find surprising in these discussions - in this thread & others - is the general implication that abortion is chosen only by those that are young & unformed, relatively messed up or confused, and unready to have the children they will of course ultimately have. That choosing to have an abortion is primarily expressive of selfishness or cowardice, and not a valid life choice of childlessness in the face of fertility.

My own experience is probably a good counterpoint to QuoterGal's position. Like Buffy, I was in my early 20s, working a low-paying job (even though I had graduated from a reputable college), and going it alone. In spite of the care I took, birth control failed me. Disapproving, unsupportive parents and an absent boyfriend (military) completed the picture. Unlike QuoterGal, I loved kids, still do, look forward to being blessed with a few rugrats of my own some day. I'm sure anyone who knew me back then and knows me now would have said it was "out of character" for me to have chosen to have an abortion. But, given the circumstances at the time, the extent to which I examined and re-examined every option available to me, the lengths it took to come to terms with my decision and get to where I am now, I believe I made the right choice...for me. My then boyfriend now husband and I do look back and wonder "what if" sometimes. But, that's just it; I could "what if" until the cows came home. There are no absolutes, and basing a decision as difficult as carrying an unwanted pregnancy to full term on what ifs instead of facing the reality of the situation (factoring in the multitude of considerations such as maturity, financial ability, stability) is completely irresponsible.

Strange that I should feel compelled to talk about the topic for the first time on Whedonesque, but there you have it. Thanks, Joss, for helping me find my voice and the courage to look back on what, for me, was a painful and difficult decision.

Edited: typos.

[ edited by Mistress of Peyn on 2012-02-09 21:50 ]
"It's a choice, and that's a real thing, not just words. Some people want to be parents, and some people don't, but like atheism - religious belief, like child-rearing being the norm - people preferring not to bear & raise children get strong pressure to 1) have kids and 2) not discuss it if they choose not to."

Could not have said that any better myself.

Something else that I tend to think gets forgotten these days when this subject is discussed is that we are living in a world that already has a population that it cannot sustain for much longer. Humanity as a species is already out of control. The pressure to have children when you don't want them seems almost ridiculous when there are too many people walking about already.

Now I don't know if population numbers should really be a consideration when debating abortion or not. I'd imagine to some that making a decision about a potential life based on how many people are consuming the planet's resources already might sound cold. It probably is. But for me at least, it would be something to think about.
Re: the possibility of Buffy being shot by Simone and miscarrying down the line -- I like that idea because I think it would make for an interesting story and it would carry on the theme of destroying the seed having consequences. As hpgwbtvs said, it would make for the story with the most pain -- which has been a fairly consistent maxim in Whedonverse storytelling.

I realize you could interpret such a plot as sending the message that it's taking the choice out of Buffy's hand. Unfortunately I think we're at the stage with this issue where people are no longer seeing the story and are just focusing on the political subtext.

Having said this if the abortion does go through, Joss is promising that won't be the end of this particular story and that also makes me happy.

Incidentally, I'm pro-choice.
Jackal - I realise where you were coming from. I wasn't meaning to single you out on that one - I've just seen it floated elsewhere less as a story decision and more as a 'this is less bad than abortion' idea, and my thought process is roughly 'Really?'.

Mistress of Peyn - you shouldn't feel any level of shame. Society constructs the environment where people can't talk about these issues, and we build society. People should talk about it. And art, too. Much like I hope being gay is one day considered the big deal it isn't, I hope abortion is something people can one day have rational conversations about. Even if they don't agree with it. Which, by the way, everybody at Whedonesque has managed well.
Didn't think you were singling me out, Gossi -- just wanted to make my position clear for people who may have seen my post yesterday and don't know me.
Mistress of Peyn, thanks for sharing your story, and I'm glad if my post helped you write, even a teeny bit. I hope you do get to have all the children your heart desires. My own pregnancies spanned ages 16-29, and ceased abruptly once I'd found the cervical cap, may its glories be praised.

I do have to say one very wee thing re:

"Unlike QuoterGal, I loved kids..."

I love kids myself, and I tend to get along with them very well, doing that auntie thing & getting down with the heavy-duty play. I just didn't see myself raising 'em fulltime, given everything else I was doing, and what I wanted to do - and I don't think it serves children to have a part-time or half-assed parent. I already saw too many of them about.

You weren't to have known, based on what I'd written, but I thought I'd clarify. I'm actually a pretty loving, mommy kindof person, which, believe it or not, is partly what informed my choice not to have children.

I've been told - many times - how selfish I was for choosing not to have children, but I think it's far more selfish to rear children without thinking about it first, or considering their impact, or fully committing to their well-being, and I think that that's quite common, and more socially acceptable than childlessness. Most people assume that our not being parents can only be because I or my partner couldn't, and not that we didn't want to, for a cornucopia of reasons.

Five Horizons, population was actually a factor for me, in a way: I did, for a brief time, before I terminated one of my pregnancies, consider bearing a child & putting it up for adoption for people who could not have them, but I decided that the world was already overflowing with unwanted children, and I did not need to add any of mine.
QuoterGal, once again, thank you for your great posts.

[ edited by Effulgent on 2012-02-09 22:11 ]
That would most likely be my concern too, QuoterGal. How many of the kids living miserable lives in crowded, second rate foster care today had biological parents who had thought that someone out there would want and care for their child. Too many, it would seem.
QuoterGal, I just went back and read your original post a second time, and I really should have said, Unlike QuoterGal, I always knew I wanted kids and still look forward to being blessed with a few rugrats.... In my haste and without thinking, I went ahead and made an assumption that has no basis in reality. I apologize, especially if my offhand comment implied there was anything wrong with your choice not to have children or your decision was rooted in a dislike of children.

Your revelation that "I just didn't see myself raising 'em fulltime, given everything else I was doing, and what I wanted to do - and I don't think it serves children to have a part-time or half-assed parent," echoes one of my own considerations at the time and seems to be a factor in Buffy's decision. And, I certainly think your following point is a good one: "I think it's far more selfish to rear children without thinking about it first, or considering their impact, or fully committing to their well-being, and I think that that's quite common, and more socially acceptable than childlessness." Which, I'm sure, goes a long way in explaining why so many people think it's perfectly acceptable to ask impertinent questions like, "Don't you think it's time you and hubby have kids? You're not getting any younger." That question = scowl on Pey's face.

Gossi, thanks for your response. It's an important first step, I suppose, that I don't feel the need to "[whisper] about it behind closed doors" any longer.

*Note to self: Proofread before hitting submit.

[ edited by Mistress of Peyn on 2012-02-10 00:49 ]
I'm pro life but if Joss believes in abortion and wants to use Buffy to push his beliefs-well pushing your beliefs has always been a huge part of story telling. Characters aren't real. They are created by their story teller. Though Characters are real inside their universe so the story teller has to be true to the character, their universe and situation. Nothing else. If I don't think it's true to the character then I will be upset with Joss. But not for rather or not Joss has the right to tell what ever story he wants to tell. It's his story and his characters. I will judge at the end rather or not I think he told this true to the characters but not his right to tell his beliefs within his story.

I do think Joss's point seems to be that there isn't a real talk about the choices. No real discussion.They don't get into the pain of the decisions and that few created woman choose to have an abortion...

I hope Buffy doesn't have an abortion But I think that feminist will go after Joss if Buffy doesn't go through with the decision. And the pro lifers will go after if she does. Though I doubt Joss will care about them...

Joss could of course have Buffy try to get the abortion and not be able to because of mystical reasons (he did that with Darla). And Buffy will have to deal with the decision of having an abortion and still be pregnant.Real life has time constraints that would leave a woman in a kind of similar situation.Though that takes her choice away from her once again...

Even though I'm pro life I want Buffy happy. I know that could be seen as eyeroll worthy but I care about her. I will treat her like if a family member had an abortion and not judge her on having a legal procedure done. IF she was real, even though I would be sad at the loss of the child,I'd leave it up to her own conscience and the afterlife to judge her.
Quotergal and Mistress of Peyn, thank you for sharing your stories.
I hope Buffy doesn't have an abortion But I think that feminist will go after Joss

I hope not. I realize some people might call choosing not to have an abotion anti-feminist but I would disagree pretty strongly with that. So long as it's a story that deals with the choice and its implications honestly and with respect for the woman making the choice, I don't think it's feminist or anti-feminist for the character to decide one way or the other.

I'd like to echo the appreciation for people sharing their experiences here and the general discussion going on. It's certainly thought provoking.
Now that I've read the issue, instead of reading about it (when will I learn not to do that, it never ends well) I think the issue is handled well. Though Buffy is once again pushing her friends away (not being upfront to Dawn and Robin about her plans, not that she needs to) and turning to Spike. Which makes me happy actually, but we needn't go into that. My concern with the story is still that she got so drunk she blacked out and had sex (if that's what happened and she wasn't ruffied by a demon.) That would make me angry, actually, were that the case.

What I suspect is that she had sex with Xander, and that Dawn will tell Xander about Buffy being pregnant, and we'll all be very Days of our Lives.
The reason Joss gives Juno the backhand isn't that 'abortion' is or isn't spoken aloud, for heaven's sake. That's an easy mistake to make.

The point is that Juno, for all its 'quirkiness' (and the darkness of Jason Bateman's arc) is a sugary wish-fulfillment movie that treats having a baby as a shortcut to realizing that you and Michael Cera are perfect for each other. The abortion that Juno @#$%ing well should have had is skimmed over to get to the ongoing showcase of Juno's infinite reserves of intelligence, wit, insight, and deserving-of-all-goodness-ness. (Juno is a semi-well-disguised Mary Sue story, if you're wondering.)

There's also the fact that, while Juno is initially cavalier about the abortion, her decision to carry the baby to term is presented as a 'Wow look at this wonderful human life inside me' moment, and that is a merely incorrect understanding of her situation. 'Fingernails,' I believe the big-deal word in that sequence is, but the movie doesn't even pause to make the note that U.S. culture, monumentally screwed up w/r/t women's health and sexuality, expends enormous amounts of energy priming women (especially young ones like Juno) to make exactly that wrong decision.

Diablo Cody's script doesn't provide any of that context, because (1) its social world is in the fantastic-parodic vein of American Beauty rather than 'realism' of any sort (again, minus the Bateman/Garner characters, who are the interesting part of the film), and (2) it would take time away from the sweet-tasting wish-fulfillment which is the movie's hidden payload.

Yes, there's a lot to say about Buffy's own treatment of such issues, much of it already said by smart fans, but to stay on point for today: Joss is right to call out Juno's superficial treatment of Juno's decision (which never again comes up after the initial visit, as I recall), even if he bobbled the specifics.

The politics here are literally (women's and children's) life and death, and Joss is correct in his claim that the ramifications of his society's poisonous abortion-as-tragedy narrative are just as important as the emotional intensity of any one-woman's-choice. I'm so glad he recognizes and accepts his responsibility in this regard. I expected nothing less.

Also, yes Season Eight sucked at the end.
My concern with the story is still that she got so drunk she blacked out and had sex was raped

Fixed that for you.
Well, yeah. And the story could have gone a different way - unprotected sex leads to other things besides pregnancy.
Blacking out is not remembering what happened later. That would be after the sex. Passing out is something different.

Which is not to say the issue of consent is not present in the current storyline, and that sex involving that much alcohol is not in and of itself highly problematic in terms of consent. But I don't think we know yet whether she could or did consent. Neither does she, it would seem.
"My concern with the story is still that she got so drunk she blacked out and had sex was raped."

With all due respect, waxbanks, we really don't know that. My college years include a number of drunken 'morning after the night before' stories where the details, particularly to me, are less than clear. On one occasion I woke up at a friend's house with a naked girl next to me that I couldn't remember meeting, let alone sleeping with. Plus side, apparently she had a great night. Down side, I never remembered a minute of it. I certainly would never dream of accusing her of some sort of rape, simply because I was too young and stupid to know when to stop knocking back the alcohol.

If, when we get more facts about what happened to Buffy that night, it turns out that she did not consent to sex, then fair enough, it's rape. Right now, it's just as likely to be a drunken roll in the sack. It happens.
Mistress of Peyn- you didn't offend in the slightest, truly - I just wanted to clarify.

And gods yes, re: "Don't you think it's time you and hubby have kids? You're not getting any younger." As the partner of a man eight years younger than me, it was soooo often the "Intrusive Question of the Day" - with the implication always slightly below the surface, especially in his notably child-bearing culture, that I was of course The Reason for the No Children Thing, and hadn't we better rush to have children Before It Was Too Late. *sigh* We both didn't want children, which was, you know, no surprise to us, since we'd talked about it at some length prior to our Partnerous Cohabitation. ; ] And re-affirmed it over the years...

If there are others here that are choosing or have chosen not to have children - and it's not a decision one makes lightly, I promise you - I found this book helpful.
QuoterGal, as a woman who's chosen to not have children, I know only too well about people intruding; I've had to ask two of my friends to back off when they started insisting that I drop everything I was doing right now and have a baby. One of them got the hint and backed off, the other is no longer my friend.

And just a few weeks back, my otherwise wonderful mother actually shamed me for my choice.

The world changes much quicker than the society's attitudes. Which is why it is so wonderful to see Joss's art being ahead of the curve.
I have two kids. He has two beautiful kids. She has a beautiful puppy. Their lives, not mine.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2012-02-10 03:26 ]
Thanks all, for such thought-provoking discussion and I'm extremely happy that those friends, both old and new, feel safe to open up here and share so much of themselves with us all. It is a privilege and an honor that we take as a high compliment. That's one big part of what we want this community to be about (and of course horrible in-jokes, surprising lifelong friendships, and telling us off on day one so you can get banned.
I want to thank all of you for sharing your stories.

I myself can't have children. It was a devastating thing to find out. I actually had fantasies of walking into a public bathroom and finding an abandonned baby with a not attached to her clothing "I can't take care of my baby. Please give her a good home". By the time I met Mr Reddygirl and got married, we had between us many nieces and nephews that needed our financial and emotional help so we decided not to try and adopt.

But despite not being able to conceive, I am strongly pro-choice. Returning to the days of back-alley abortions is not an option.
One point of clarification I think should be made. Actually, this is more of a question than anything, because I'm not an expert. Don't the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" represent political viewpoints, not moral ideas? For example, I have a female friend who is "pro-choice" but would never choose abortion for herself. The reason I'm confused is because people have been saying things like "I'm pro-life myself but think every woman should have the choice." That sentence confuses me because I thought being pro-life meant you DIDN'T think women should have the choice to have an abortion.

If I'm wrong and the terms can be used to describe both what you believe the rights of other people are and what you would personally decide for yourself in that situation, then I'm sorry. But if that is the case I think we should change it because that's confusing.

And, yes, thank you to all that shared your stories. And especially Mistress of Peyn (you are new, correct? Welcome!), thank you for sharing your story. It was very powerful and I'm glad you felt that comfortable.

Finally, one thing that has made me sad -- as I always get sad when these kinds of things happen -- is that this big thing at the end of the issue was such a big deal that it has kind of overshadowed the rest of the issue, which was really very solid. I realize that this specific thread is ABOUT Joss's interview and is not a comic discussion thread, but I feel like this always happens when these big press-items hit the fan.

I chime in with other people who have mentioned that Jeanty really knocked it out of the park this time. Also, minor thing. I LOVE how that final scene was set in a pool at night. It made it so instantly visually unique, with the lighting and the water and Buffy's feet in the water. Such a great choice.

[ edited by Giles_314 on 2012-02-10 05:22 ]
Yes, pro-choice and pro-life are political viewpoints, but people tend to use them in regards to their own personal preferences for themselves, which is incorrect but something done everyday.

The correct way to say "I am personally pro-life but I think every woman should have the right to choose" is I would never consider an abortion but I think every woman should have the right to choose" or "I am pro-choice, but I would never consider an abortion for myself."
The more I think about it I don't want Buffy's choice taken from her via miscarry. However I am still doubtful she'll go through with it. No matter what it's her choice and if handled right as long as she made a choice the message will remain clear. I'm happy with that.

Right now the story can go either way and both will be heartbreaking I think.

Anyhoo, thanks all for sharing your stories.
So many beautiful posts on this thread. I enjoyed scrolling through and reading them.

As for my 2 cents, I just want to say that I really hope that how Buffy got pregnant gets cleared up. The absolute only thing that is bothering me about this issue is how Buffy's consent to sex wasn't clarified. But as someone here said, she could've simply had drunken sex and there's no more to it than that.

But for the sake of not perpetuating rape culture any further, I just want that cleared up more than anything. As for Buffy having an abortion, I love the fact that its happening. I was ecstatic when I found out she was pregnant. Hearing about the abortion did hurt(still hurts) because I would've loved to have seen Buffy being a Mom, but the issue really did open my eyes to the realiy of her situation. Like Joss said, the media doesn't like to face reality on young adul pregnancy. Buffy isn't in a good place to raise and take care of a child. Abortion is the right choice for her.
I support this storyline entirely. I completely trust where this is going.
I think abortion is sometimes the right choice, no doubt. However this makes me sad. I had started to really enjoy the idea, both of Buffy being a mom, expanding her family, and for Spike to have a chance to take care of and love a baby, no matter who the father was, I feel he would love it because it was Buffy's. Buffy's choice makes me sad.

Briefly, I had the opposite situation of the ones some have told. My third child was unplanned. Suffice to say I knew it would be a choice between keeping my husband by having an abortion or keeping the child. I chose the child and have never once regretted the gift that is my son. Not an ideal situation, single parent of three, and an ex who spent the next couple of decades punishing me for that decision, but I am happy every day with my choice. Every single day.

Also, I thought this really was the best art the Jeanty has made. Expecially Wood, and baby Wood as well. Lots of great stuff.
I want to thank you all for sharing your very personal stories, especially Mistress of Peyn and Reddygirl. I found them very moving.
Wonderful thread & I want to add to the "Thanks for sharing" posts.

I've always felt that the "Girl decides to keep her baby against all odds" story is over-romanticized and over-done. I would be disappointed if Buffy decided not to go through with the abortion because that seems to happen in shows all the time, whereas in real life almost every woman I've known who accidentally got pregnant when she was young and unmarried (including me) opted for abortion. Even the characterization of this as "the hardest decision" Buffy's had to make seems odd to me. I've had to make harder decisions in my life, and those obviously can't compare to some of the doozies that Buffy has had to make.
Of course I don't think it can just end there narratively. No doubt there will be supernatural interference--and Buffy the Mom could be interesting--but I would be heartily disappointed if she changed her mind & then lost the baby.
Joss said:
And obviously there will be complications to the whole storyline that could only happen in the Buffyverse. But itís not about what happens, itís about that moment of decision


So it's about her decision to have an abortion. But there's going to be complications, Buffyverse-style. It sounds to me that she will end up having this baby. And his other comment about what happens not being "normal", well...Spike better start knitting some booties. ;)
I get a month behind on my comics subscription and THIS happens! I know I'm late, but as a woman also wanted to thank Quotergal, mistress of Peyn and the others up thread who shared personal stories. Reading this and the other couple threads (very long ones!) was making me want to chime in as well. Thanks to the brave ladies for helping scrub the *shame* from the prevailing societal mode of dealing with abortion. One point I wanted to make; I had almost the exact same conversation that is shown on those final two pages, just not at a pool. So it rang very true for me.

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