Sunday, December 05, 2004

"Sarah's Choice"

Posted by Craig Westover | 9:55 PM |  

In a free society,half the time one must defend the right of others to do things one might find morally reprehensible.

That is a principle I firmly believe in, but one I sometimes find very hard to accept. One such time was reading Sarah's Choice,” the story of a 15-year-old girl’s experience with abortion.

The story appears on the Web site of Youth Communication, an organization whose mission is stated --

“Youth Communication helps teenagers develop their skills in reading, writing, thinking, and reflection, so they can acquire the information they need to make thoughtful choices about their lives."
I can’t fault that. In fact, I think it’s praise worthy.

But nonetheless reading Sarah’s story, which was authored by her friend “Anonymous,” I’m just awed by how matter-of-factly the tale unfolds. I know these are kids writing, not professional journalists, but still there’s something missing here -- some sense that somewhere between draft and publication some adult had a hand in the process.

But then, some “adult” probably did. Some adult who was careful to be nonjudgmental. Some adult who didn’t want to interfere with the creative process. Some adult who didn’t want to contaminate the piece with any criticism that might jeopardize the self-esteem of writer or subject. Some adult who was intent on being sensitive and understanding. I’ll abort my rant here -- you get the message.

“Sarah’s Choice” is one of the most “objective” pieces I’ve ever read. It’s objective to the point of being bloodlessly robotic. Sarah, or perhaps Anonymous, is a real life Meursault the hero of Albert Camus’ existential novel The Stranger. But the latter was fiction -- damn good fiction even if one disagrees with the existential perception of life as absurd -- but nonetheless fiction; at least I thought it was until I read “Sarah’s Choice.”

Read Sarah’s story here. It’s chilling.