While the arguments fly, McCormack waits quietly in her small, dark apartment. A bedraggled bouquet of silk flowers hangs outside her front door along with a plaque that says “Welcome” in Spanish, French, and German.Even if her suit succeeds, there is no victory for her. She says she has “no friends at all, no one to talk to.” She knows no one who’s had an abortion, or at least no one who will admit it. “My mother, she’s Mormon, you know? She’s a proud person, and this is a terrible thing for her to have to look people in the eye.” After her picture appeared in the paper, McCormack got a part-time job at a dry cleaner, using another name, but people figured out who she was and stopped letting her bag up their clothes, so she quit. On a recent trip to a local state office to apply for aid, she was ignored for hours. “They made it clear what was happening,” she says. “For a while I just sat there, sort of amazed that they were just letting me sit there.” Eventually, she picked up her son and went home.
Even her attempts to bury her fetus have been thwarted. Hearn put in requests to the district attorney to have the remains released from the evidence locker, but no one has responded. “I never wanted to be someone public, to make a point,” McCormack says. “This isn’t a cause for me. I just didn’t know what to do. I did what I thought was right for my kids, that’s all.”
I’m sure that helped. I mean, I’m sure it did. She can go back and un-abort now, that you’ve taught her a lesson. She won’t be poor and desperate anymore, now that you’ve denied her aid to prove what a virtuous person YOU are, to refuse to touch her unclean hands or the hands of her children. She’ll just disappear now, and you won’t have to think about the options our society offers somebody who made the horrible, cardinal sin of having sex like a human being.
Life would have been so much better if she’d been forced by the state to bear that child, by the way. Then you could have shamed her in the ordinary way we shame people who seek public aid, or who happen to be less than perfectly dressed, or who eat fast food, or something. Then, at best, she could have gone back to being invisibly desperate, instead of all up in our faces, reminding us of our shortcomings and other inconvenient things like that.