I received a feedback from someone on this site today. I thought I'd just share our dialogue.
Message from: [email@example.com] :
I've avoided correcting you so far, but this is a
"No, that's not how it works," Jenny said, combing
hair from her eyes, that old familiar gesture.
"The Female Pill works by altering a woman's
hormonal balance right before ovulation so that
she doesn't release an egg. You know this, you had
Sex Ed class same as I did."
The female pill is not contraceptive.
It causes a ABORTION.
The uterus (womb) is not allowed to prepare for a
fertilized egg. The egg can be successfully
fertilized in the fallopian tube. Life begins with
cell division. However without the supportive
environment of the uterus, the zygote (fertilized
ovum) is aborted and sloughed off with the menses.
What's the difference, you may ask?
The difference is in propagating ignorance.
All ignorance can and does lead to bad choices.
[dude] - father of 5 and grandfather of 8
I thank you for your feedback. However, I'm concerned for your confidence, as I'm fairly sure you have many of your facts wrong.
First off, you failed to provide sources for your claim that hormone-based contraception changes the conditions of the uterus. To be honest, it would not surprise me if your claim was true, as altering uterine conditions (essentially, encouraging menstruation on the spot) would indeed be an effective method of pregnancy prevention... But a quick check of Wikipedia suggests that this is not the action at all. Both the standard Pill (estrogen/progestogen) and its alternative (progestogen only) are listed as inhibiting ovulation. And yes, you could claim that Wikipedia is wrong... But if you plan to do this, I want to see your facts. Wikipedia prides itself on having citations so that you can track down why it claims the things it does. You need to do the same.
Secondly, I would like your facts on how life begins at cell division. The same is true of plants and animals, but we harvest them at our own whims. Obviously, it is believed that human beings have a soul... But where is it contained? When is it gifted to the body? The first thing that develops of a human embryo is actually its anus; am I to believe that my soul resides in my butt? Especially since electrical brain activity, the surest sign of developing sentience, only begins in the fifth or sixth week? Where are your rebuttals?
The answer lies in the tone of your message, which is in itself the third thing I need to address. You see, you are here to evangelize. You call upon the moral authority of your five children and eight grandchildren... even though you are aware (since you've read my stories) that I do not believe that parenthood is an automatic guarantor of wisdom. There's also your slogan, "Life begins at cell division" - a well-known and well-publicized catchphrase for the crowd who call themselves "pro-life". I am mistrustful of such people because, as you yourself have said, "All ignorance can and does lead to bad choices"... And the Pro-Life crowd seems insistent on maintaining ignorance, and thus bad choices, in their followers. The alternatives to abortion are things like easily-accessible contraception and sex education--things Pro-lifers oppose. The result is a world where everyone has no choice, except to bear whatever children they happen to conceive. And what of that child's fate?--A child (let's call him "Brandon Chambers") born to parents who don't want him and have little interest in raising him well. The Pro-Lifer says, "I don't care. But, as it happens, I mostly oppose welfare and the Dole and free public education - you know, the sort of things that might help him make a life for himself." When he is in the womb, Brandon is their responsibility, but for the sixty or eighty years after, he's on his own. And, as Sister Joan Chittister put it, "That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth." Like you, like any sane person, I want to see abortion relegated to the dustbin of history... But I believe the road to that happy future lies not in making it illegal, but in making it unnecessary. And to make it unnecessary we need birth control and sex education and children who can make wise choices because they know their options. The day a pro-lifer advocates those things, I will gladly join his cause... But I don't know if it will ever happen any time soon.
Finally, I would like you to be aware that I am blocking your e-mail address forthwith. I am always happy to discuss fiction as a craft with readers, or talk about my stories, and even - if you're feeling particularly brave - discuss politics. But you are not here for discussion. You are here to evangelize, with no intention of taking "No" for an answer. You are here to push your politics into my story. And sir, let me tell you a secret: Your politics do not belong in my story. Hell, my politics don't belong in my story. Nobody's do. And your attempt to twist my work to your own ends shows a gross lack of respect for me as a person, and for my work - whether you call it art, entertainment or even just a handy fantasy to jack off to.
Ignorance can and does lead to bad choices. So please, for your own sake, remember what a very wise man once said: take the plank of ignorance out of your own eye first, before trying to tackle that speck of sawdust in your brother's.
I'm not posting this to pat myself on the back. I'm posting this to make something clear: Don't try to tell me what to think. In the past I have resisted people attempting to shape my stories artistically, and this is me fending off the politicians too. I do ask for help with my work, and if I want it I will talk to you about it. (If you want to be part of that crowd, friending me on Facebook is a good bet.) Other than that, please - for the love of God - let me do my work in peace.