Guilt By Association: Plot Twist!

Six take two
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Alright, my pretties. I had to take a bit of a break because
this book was driving me batty, but now I’m back and ready to go so let’s jump
right in to chapter seven.

Rhonda is pacing the clinic hallways nervously while waiting
for the results of a pregnancy test. PLOT TWIST! She’s pregnant!

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I’d think that a doctor would
be a wee bit more careful in the
not-having-unprotected-sex-with-your-serial-cheater-ex-boyfriend department.
You know, the whole STD thing and all. Since Farris hasn’t given us anything
about her lamenting her failed birth control pills or a broken condom
(something I half expected, all the better to carry on the contraceptives-don’t-work
meme), evidently we’re supposed to assume that she just wasn’t using anything.

I’m not much of a fan of storylines that require us to
assume that our characters are unnaturally flaky or uninformed. This is what
happens when you set out to write a novel because you have a specific message
in mind rather than allowing your characters to drive the story.

Oh, and it’s specifically noted for us that she received a “How
to Have Peace With God” pamphlet in the mail with the note, “We love you, Dr.
Marsano. We pray for you every day. And for the babies.” As I’m sure this will
pop up again later, from here on out I shall refer to it as Checkov’s Pamphlet.

Switching gears, Author Avatar Lawyer Peter arrived in
Seattle and is now being ferried to Bellingham by Colonel Control Freak. We get
a bit about how the Creepy Colonel has learned from this whole pro-life
activism thing that children are a blessing, and wishes he’d had more children
if only military life hadn’t been so stressful.

Peter meets our Merry Band of Protesters and gives Suzie,
his former babysitter, a hug and nudge in the ribs. This isn’t the first time
in this book that Farris has had people give nudges in the ribs, and seriously,
what the bleep is a nudge in the ribs and why are the men in this book giving
them to women? I don’t think I’ve ever had someone nudge me in the ribs. That falls into a category of personal contact that seems sketch
to me.

Anyhoo, Author Avatar Lawyer Peter explains to the Merry
Band of Protesters what’s going to happen in court at the hearing for a
preliminary injunction on Friday. In Mike Farris’ universe judges ignore the
rules of evidence and put the burden of proof on pro-lifers because judges are
all ebil biased proaborts, so they’re going to have an uphill battle preventing
a preliminary injunction.

Now, generally speaking, I have free speech issues with
injunctions against protesters, but it’s also bogus that judges go around
issuing preliminary injunctions willy nilly against pro-life protesters. In my
experience from the era, judges issued permanent injunctions after extensive
court proceedings, they didn’t just go around issuing preliminary injunctions
pending trial. It just annoys me when this is something I can generally agree
with Farris on—that I don’t like protest injunctions unless there’s a damn good
reason—he has to double down with this whole persecuted pro-lifer song and
dance that simply didn’t happen the way he suggests.

On another front, Creepy Colonel Control Freak’s wife
finally reappeared in the story, but only to bring them lunch and fade away. 

Back on Rhonda and Vince patrol, they have a clandestine
meeting (remember, they’re supposed to be pretending they don’t know each
other) where she breaks down sobbing to tell him she’s pregnant. 

Vince wants her to “solve” the “problem” but Rhonda’s Catholic upbringing has
broken through and she wants to keep the baby. An argument ensues about whether
she can work at an abortion clinic while pregnant, with Rhonda asserting that
if this is about choice she has the choice to not have an abortion.

     ”You what?” Vince said incredulously. “You’re out
of your mind. You can’t work at an abortion clinic and be pregnant!”
     “I thought we were about choice–not just abortions.”
     “Choice is for politics. Abortion is a business. You’re in
the abortion business, not the choice business.”
     “Well, no matter what anyone says, I choose to have this baby.”
     “Rhonda, be reasonable,” he said with a softer voice. “No
matter what I think, Jane and Karen will not allow a pregnant woman to do
abortions. It would freak out too many customers.”

Allow me to note that legal efforts to end pregnancy
discrimination have historically been spearheaded by feminists. Conservative
justices have tended to oppose those protections, and indeed, Scalia and Thomas
were in the minority in the recent pregnancy discrimination case before SCOTUS.

Back to Vince and Rhonda’s argument, Rhonda expects Vince to
marry her because she’s pregnant, which Vince is having none of. The whole
thing is another Michael Farris strawman.

I really don’t have much to say about this whole section
because it’s basically just Farris taking a bunch of pro-life movement rhetoric
about how it’s not really about choice because the only acceptable choice is
abortion, and it’s all very tiresome because he’s just checking off boxes to
hit all the talking points.

The reason women are put in the position of choosing between
having a child and maintaining a career is because, as I noted above, conservatives
are the ones who have fought against protections for women in the workforce. You
can’t call yourself pro-life and then oppose any and all measures that give
women equal economic power and stability.

With that, I’m going to stop for the day because the next
section is the hearing on the preliminary injunction and I expect I’m going to
have quite a bit to say on that.

Chapter Six take two | Main | Chapter Seven part two