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The Miraculous

The Miraculous: Music

11. Baltimore, 1926

After being raped, an 11-year-old girl is sent by her family to a Catholic reform school called The House of the Good Shepherd for Colored Girls where the nuns who run the institution make her sit in a mustard bath to terminate any possible pregnancy.

The Miraculous: Music

12. 1956 and later, Los Angeles

At the age of 19, a musician just beginning her career (a multi-instrumentalist, she plays piano, harp, flute and cello) discovers she is pregnant. We are in the era before the pill and she has been dating a jazz guitarist, a relationship that doesn’t have much of a future. She has her pregnancy terminated at a clandestine clinic on Sunset Boulevard.

The Miraculous: Music

13. 1968, East Lansing, Michigan

It was 1968. And I found myself in a situation where I had to have an abortion. I had a girlfriend who had a friend who was a nurse. And she said that she would give me the abortion. I had to meet her in a hotel room. I remember being very humiliated, to the point that today, I haven't thought about this for years. Thinking about it makes me want to cry.

The Miraculous: Music

14. 1983 and later, Virginia & Portland

Looking back from the age of 45, a musician who helped spark a global explosion of feminist punk rock, speculates how her life, and the lives of many others, would have been different if she hadn’t gotten an abortion at the age of 15. She was then living with her sister in Virginia and working at McDonald’s. Receiving no help from the person who had gotten her pregnant, she used what money she had earned at McDonald’s, plus $40 she cajoled from her drug dealer, to pay for the abortion.

The Miraculous: Music

15. 2019, London

Speaking to a television interviewer, an expat American pop singer who was raised Catholic expresses a wish to meet with the head of the Catholic Church. She wants to ask the pontiff whether he believes, as she does, that Jesus would agree with the proposition that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2022

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