Guilt By Association: Plot Twist!

Chapter Six take two | Main | Recap

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.

Naturally, 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 | Recap