Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Did she ever consider divorce? I would never have an abortion myself, but I am a little on the fence if it should be illegal in all cases. But in this case, this woman belongs in jail.
A woman has admitted to being 'an abortion addict' after having 15 terminations over 17 years.
Irene Vilar said she had the abortions not from poverty or fear but as an extraordinary act of rebellion against her 'controlling' husband who did not want children.
The 40-year-old's confession has unleashed a torrent of attacks from anti-abortion activists on the internet, including death threats and demands for her to be jailed.
The cycle of pregnancies and abortions, which began when she was 16 and ended when she was 33, was also punctuated by several suicide attempts.
Now a successful literary agent with two young daughters, Loretta, five, and Lolita, three, Mrs Vilar has written about her experiences in a memoir, called Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict.
The book, which was published yesterday, has shocked many Americans, who remain bitterly divided over the issue, and has angered campaigners on both sides of the abortion divide.
Charmaine Yoest, president of pro-life pressure group Americans United for Life, said: 'It really underscores everything we always say in the pro-life movement - that abortion is part of a very sad story for women.'
However, pro-choice campaigners said Mrs Vilar's book raises uncomfortable questions about abortion as a form of birth control.
Mrs Vilar said of the book's reception: 'I am worried about my safety and the hate mail. I just imagine the "baby killer" stuff and I could be a poster child for that kind of fundamentalism.'
The attractive one-time academic prodigy attended a boarding school in New Hampshire and was accepted into a New York university when she was only 15.
A year later, she fell in love and married a 50-year-old Latin American literature professor, who she says was opposed to having children.
She claims he bragged that his relationships never lasted more than five years and told that having children killed sexual desire.
In response, Mrs Vilar said she rebelled by 'forgetting' to take her birth control pills.
Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebron, pictured at an anti-U.S. protest in 2000, is Ms Vilar's grandmother. She left her own daughter with relatives as a baby
'In the beginning I was taking pills and I'd skip a day or two or give up one month,' she said in a television interview. 'I'd think I'll be better next time.
'But slowly, my days took on a balancing act and there was a specific high. I would get my period and be sad, then discover I was pregnant, being afraid, yet also so excited.'
She claimed she had the abortions so her husband wouldn't leave her although she failed to reveal whether he knew of the terminations.
'Of course, this did not mean I wanted to do it again and again.
'A druggie also wants to stop every time.'
'Women have written memoirs about their anorexia or their bulimia, and they explain the best that they can what motivated their addiction or their behaviour. I try to do the same in this book.'
Her first husband, Pedro Cuperman, a professor at Syracuse University in New York, could not be contacted for comment yesterday.
In her book, Mrs Vilar also revealed how she is haunted by a tragic past. Her grandmother, Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebron, was jailed for 25 years after storming the U.S. Capitol building with a gun in 1954.
She was convicted of attempting to overthrow the government and was jailed for 25 years before she was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
Divided: Ms Vilar's book has split opinion on the issue of abortion
The author was eight when her mother killed herself by jumping from a moving car and died two days later. Her husband had been driving while her tiny daughter had made a pathetic attempt to hold her mother back.
Two of Mrs Vilar's brothers became heroin addicts.
Although she said she did not see herself as a victim, she admitted she felt she had let the women's movement down.
Now re-married, she is raising their two daughters and two teenage stepchildren in Denver, Colorado.
'Motherhood has made me feel accountable,' she said. 'It hasn't made me less pro-choice.
'It's just that I understand and feel the weight of the privilege we have in exercising our right to choose.'
Yesterday, a report released by the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute revealed the number of abortions fell from 45.5million in 1995 to 41.6million in 2003.
The study claimed progress had been made in reducing unintended pregnancies, but too many women were still having unsafe abortions, with 32 countries having laws that make the procedure illegal.
The manuscript for Impossible Motherhood was rejected 51 times, before finally being published by Other Press.
Miss Vilar married her second husband in 2003 and now lives with her two daughters and two stepchildren. She is planning a new memoir on motherhood