Update by Editor Wotrg June 3, 2017: This fine poem by Edward Vidaurre was first published December 29, 2010, and not that much has changed in the zeitgeist about abortion since then. Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers still yell at each other and fling missiles at each other from across a great divide, and the issue seems more intractable than peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. There seems to be little or no room for compromise or real discussion. On both sides it is a black and white issue.
Standing of course behind the abortion debate, is the very real specter of state control and violence in the forms of statutes and imprisonment and other violent actions by the government. Without this specter the debate would descend, or ascend, depending on viewpoint, into the realm of persuasion or advocacy.
One thing that has been ignored by especially, the pro-life side of the equation, is that making abortion illegal does not necessarily eliminate abortions. In many countries (especially Latin American countries) where abortion, complete with severe criminal penalties, is harshly illegal, the abortion rate is similar to countries where it is absolutely legal. So, especially in the United States, where any kind of criminal sanction or incarceration of women that have aborted is politically unfeasible, at the end of the day, pro-lifers would still have to use moral persuasion and advocacy to cut back on the actual abortion rate. On this issue the force and violence of government action would not be enough to dissuade young women from terminating an unwanted pregnancy.
So, what Edward Vidaurre and those similar do with poetry, rhetoric, and persuasion, may be worth more than all the intimidation and threats that state action can not do. When the momentous decision of life or not life falls upon the woman, it is ultimately up to her. Her decision and her conscience will be impacted by others; that is, those who care enough to speak out.
before your choice
takes his life
– his opportunities
-his ability to run against the wind
before your choice
stops his little heart
-singing and dancing
and asking questions
before you lay
on that steel bed
enter your womb
and cuddle with him
let me share embryonic
fluids and chat with
him in dim waters
let me see
By Edward Vidaurre • Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Author: Edward Vidaurre
Born in East L.A., CA in 1973, Raised in Boyle Heights in the projects of Aliso Village, Known to his friends as Barrio Poet, Vidaurre says:” Sometimes the barrio claims us, holds us by our feet like roots in its field of chalk outlines closed off by the screaming yellow tape being pulled from its soul.”
Vidaurre is the founder of Pasta, Poetry & Vino and Barrio Poet Productions. He has been nominated for a pushcart prize for his poem, “Lorca in the Barrio” and is working with VAO publising on an on line literary journal called “La Noria” and also is co-editing an anthology called “Twenty” for Newtown, CT through El Zarape Press with Daniel Garcia Ordaz and Katie Hoerth. Vidaurre is the Arts Events Coordinator for the City of Edinburg, TX.