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I received a letter today, in an envelope with no return address. The note was written on a typewriter and signed in pen: “For life, a mom.” I met the note’s sender at last week’s March for Life, where she told me the sad story of an abortion she’s regretted for 35 years. She also informed me of an abortion industry I wasn’t yet privy to—-the fetal accessories market. “They make fetus earrings, you know,” the woman told me, indicating the pro-choice establishment. I didn’t tell her I was pro-choice—-I just told her I didn’t have my ears pierced. She promised to send me the literature anyway.
A few days later, there they were—-nine pages that had seen so many trips through the copy machine that the photographs looked like dark-room negatives. “Please xerox and distribute enclosed and publicized it,” the note read. Most of the literature was fairly standard pro-life material. “WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?” read one page, comparing a photograph of a Holocaust concentration camp with a pile of aborted fetuses. “THE LINK BETWEEN ABORTION AND BREAST CANCER,” read another, before cobbled statistics claiming that women who have their first child before the age of 18 have a reduced risk of cancer.
The abortion accessories, though, were new to me. “FETUS EARRINGS,” read one report, sourced to the “Right to Life of Huntsville, Texas.” It detailed an apparent Australian fashion trend wherein earrings are fashioned from “ten to twelve week old aborted babies who are freeze dried, have an eye-hook put into their heads, and are then made to dangle from the ears.”
Another, “PAPERWEIGHTS: FETUS,” came courtesy of the Pro-Life News. That page reported on the use of unborn baby fat in “face cream, shampoo, and rouge,” as well as paperweights which ranged from $60 to $97.80, depending on the unborn body part suspended in the plastic desk accessory.
I won’t be sending these pages through the copier again; I won’t gather them up, stake out a street corner, and pass them out to anyone willing to open their hand, take a piece of paper, and scan its words in the steps from there to the trash can. The personal note, though—-a testament to how much we all have invested in this issue—-is worth remembering.
Photographs by Amanda Hess