Caitlin Moran's new book How To Be A Woman is earning sparkling reviews. The Times columnist has pleased both professional critics like the London Evening Standard’s David Sexton and Amazon’s amateurs.
Billed as rewriting The Female Eunuch from a barstool, her “part memoir, part rant” would seem to be delivering on its publisher’s description: “A new way of looking at feminism from one of our funniest writers.”
Clearly I’m not Moran’s target audience but I wouldn’t look askance at her book if it came my way. Germaine Greer is said to have been shocked by Moran’s frankness but I’m sure I’m made of sterner stuff.
But I know within its pages, Moran’s chapter on her abortion is likely to have me reaching for the sick bucket.
The interview Moran gave to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour earlier this week lived up to the writer’s reputation of insightful, raunchy, good humour until the point she discussed the decision to abort what would have been a third child.
She argued that abortion is commonplace (True); that there is no reason why women shouldn’t discuss the subject (True); that it should be guilt-free (Wrong).
Here is not the place to discuss the morality of abortion, where life or the potential for life begins. I accept a woman’s right to choose to do what she wishes with her own body. I have known women who have had abortions and never for a moment thought any less of them.
But then none of them – to me at least – ever suggested that the decision to have a termination was anything other than a heart-wrenching choice.
Yet to Jenni Murray, Moran said she had no more wish to have another baby than “go backpacking around India or be blonde.” For her and many of the women she knows the decision to have an abortion was “simple.” Perhaps it’s not too late for her to change her circle of friends. I would not put my trust in those who are so heartless.
I’m not saying a woman’s aborted foetus should haunt the rest of her life. But at the very least enough guilt should linger to remind her not to risk another unwanted pregnancy if she possibly can.