Cornell, J’accuse…!

The year is 1994. I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore at Cornell University. I am sitting in the office of a university official. I am in trouble.

I don’t recall the details of how they got me. Was I retarded enough to go to the Health Center if I missed my period? Most definitely. But I seem to remember I went there with a UTI, they asked me when my last period was, and upon learning the answer, they tested me.

So here I was with Roz. I call her Roz because she was a large, grizzled, elderly lesbian. Even given my distress, it was distracting. She eerily resembled Michael Douglas in “Falling Down”- only obese. But I can confirm she was a lesbian because she was the faculty advisor of the LGBT Club (Pre-Q) to which my gay housemate–my confidante, naturally–belonged.

As soon as it was discovered I was pregnant, they sent me straight to Roz. Roz was good at her work. I’m not sure what her title was- “counselor” or “advisor” I imagine. I got neither counseling nor advising. I got Prison Matron. After coldly regarding me with undisguised contempt for a moment that felt very long, Roz told me she was going to make me an appointment at Planned Parenthood. I said I was Catholic. She shook her head, and I shut up.

Stop. In that feeble profession of Christian faith is the dormant force that would later save my life.

This is my complaint: I was 19 and pregnant, I took this issue to my university, I was “advised” (more like ordered, really) to have an abortion, I protested the decision. “I’m Catholic,” I said. The Cornell University official literally shook her head at me, meaning: “No dice. This is Cornell University. We don’t entertain that particular fairy story here.” Let me ask this: What if I had said I was Jewish? What if I had said I was Muslim? Would the Cornell official have reacted the same way? Would the Cornell official have dismissed my concerns so authoritatively?

Of course it’s my fault. I have free will. But I was, as you might imagine, very vulnerable at the time. I was 19. I couldn’t believe it. I was terrified.

I was raised Catholic. My family went to church every Sunday. I attended religious education, I received the sacraments. My father, a graduate of Catholic schools and Georgetown (which was Catholic in those days) was very devout, but distant and rigid when communicating his faith. My mother, a Cornell grad and advertising copywriter, was pragmatic: You had to have a religion, and Catholicism was ours. It was a placeholder and a duty. But when they passed around a pro-life petition at church, my mother skipped it. She had friends, career women in their 30s, who had had to make the trip to Puerto Rico when abortion was illegal.

It was pretty clear to me at the time that dropping out of Cornell to have Slocum’s baby would kill my parents. Slocum showed every indication that he would assume the mantle of Poet Laureate of the Westmoreland Trailer Park whenever his ne’er-do-well father relinquished the title. But this was whom I loved. Certainly the two-dimensional Long Island strivers I met at Cornell held no attraction for me. They amounted to thousands of slight variations on What Makes Sammy Run?

I attempt to convey my frame of mind in support of this assertion: I thought I was doing the right thing. Like the majority of young girls, I wanted to please. My strong sense of duty was part of what had gotten me into Cornell. Most of the girls I knew who had abortions were good girls who thought they were doing the right thing. To miss that is to miss the whole problem- and to miss the travesty of what is going on here.

So I showed up to my appointment at Planned Parenthood. I went alone. I didn’t tell my mother. I figured I might tell her after the problem was resolved, after I had made things right again. The weeks between Roz making the appointment and the appointment I recall as a haze of wretchedness and misery. I felt like I had cancer and I had to have it excised. I did nothing but study. I took 19 credits that semester, and I made the Dean’s List.

I was trying to do the right thing.

At Planned Parenthood everyone was breezy and cheerful. My nurse was a Jewish girl from Long Island with a Meteorology degree from Cornell. Fiercely proud of the SJW nature of her work, she expected admiration and gratitude. I weakly obliged. She talked about her dedication to her mission in the face of violent protests by knuckle-dragging bigots whom she scorned. Actually, not a soul was protesting outside the Planned Parenthood that day. The fact is I never saw even a hint of protest outside that Planned Parenthood in all the years I lived in Ithaca.

The doctor was a woman. I bumped into her a few weeks later in Wegman’s. She recognized me, I saw it, but she set her face and looked away. I remember the misgivings that moment gave me. But wasn’t what we had done all aboveboard? Wasn’t I secularly atoning for my sins? Then shouldn’t I be absolved? Hadn’t we done the right thing? Then why couldn’t she acknowledge me?

A few months after the visit to Planned Parenthood, Slocum and I broke up. I blamed him for what happened.

I studied in Europe to get away. I graduated, then I lived in Europe for a little while. I had a glamorous French boyfriend. He cheated on me, I dumped him. So it goes.

When I returned to the US, my parents had moved to Manhattan for my father’s work. I lived with my parents, and I worked in business development for a large law firm.

One night when I returned home from work, my mother met me at the door. She frantically insisted that I eat something. I ate a banana while she hovered over me. “Sit down,” she said. I sat down.

It was the strangest thing. Slocum had died.

It is still the strangest thing. He was driving non-stop between Portland and San Francisco, and he fell asleep at the wheel. See, I used to force him to stop driving when he got tired. I’d alternately browbeat, sweet-talk, bribe him with ice cream. I never would have let that happen.

At Slocum’s wake I remember his uncle commenting wryly in his thick, flat, country accent: “You look like you want to get into that coffin with him.”

I did. I wanted to get into that coffin with him.

That I am alive today, and I am married to a lovely man, and I have children is an illustration of the strength, the power, and the grace of God. That is another and more useful story. My story today is: J’accuse.

People say that universities are “safe spaces”–big daycare centers for spoiled babies. That is not my experience at all. My university experience is Soviet gulag- contempt, submission, humiliation, forced denouncement of God and culture, physical invasion – and then, a lessened person, flung out into the world to face years of coming to terms with the trauma. If you’re lucky and strong. Most of the women I knew who underwent abortions in college- that was their permanent induction into the Army of the Left.

Think about it. What do evil armies do with their child soldiers? They make them kill. Then, after their first kill, the generals say to the new recruit: Your hands are bloody, there is no going back, you are one of us now.

Most of the girls I know who went through similar experiences are deeply tortured women who never went on to have children. And I will tell you something, my friends I’m talking about would have been great mothers. They were in massive student debt, they didn’t want to let their families down, they wanted to be upwardly mobile, they wanted to do the right thing. These girls, like me, were brought up basically secular-mainstream but outfitted with the patina of Christian culture that was de rigeur when and where I grew up. The spiritual torment I have seen these women suffer is demonic. What kind of society condemns promising young women to this fate? What kind of society encourages pregnant girls to kill their babies in the womb? If they had had children, they would have become better people- to society’s benefit. Their loss is society’s loss.

I believe that what allowed me to have a family was the prayers of my ancestors, humility, and a world-view that allowed me to exist as a damned soul.

I would also like to point out that there are legal issues of consent at play here. But actionable or not, what Cornell University did to that unborn child, to me- the mother, to Slocum- the father, and to my parents- the grandparents was a crime. Cornell, j’accuse…!

I am damaged goods because I did what my university told me to do. And I am far from alone.

I leave with you with the worst part. After I met with Roz, I left the Health Center, I went home, I called Slocum. I told him I was pregnant.

“Let’s get married,” said Slocum. “I could get a job,” said Slocum. We can do this,” said Slocum.

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  1. Incredibly moving. So, sorry for your loss on so many levels but grateful you found purpose and peace in God.

  2. Thank you for sharing. You’re not alone, which is both the most horrible part of this, but also hopeful: Other people have walked away from the left after seeing the compassion is a mask for brutal obsession with “success” and freedom from responsibility at all costs (including our happiness and peace of mind).

  3. I always thought I was pro-life, but I recently discovered I was pregnant with an in-wedlock, very deeply wanted baby who was to be born with an extremely serious genetic disorder resulting in physical deformities and mental retardation. So I did the unthinkable and had an abortion. It was the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I’m not sure I regret it. I have a belief in eugenics and I think that swayed my decision. The “disability community” is also filled with people who tragically insist the their seriously deformed and disabled children are beautiful and blessed. I was disturbed by that, and knew I would never be able to bring myself to lie about the nature of my child’s condition. Maybe what I did was selfish, but I’m not necessarily sure it was wrong.

    1. I also think want to make it perfectly clear that I agree with all the sentiments of the author and I think what the Cornell Health Center employee did was beyond reprehensible and irresponsible.

      1. Theresa Ive been on both sides of this selfish when younger then begrudgingly gave into my fate when a bit older and had a inconvenient child it changes you you realize silly things like its actually the whole purpose of life you dont regret it no matter the convenience. But for what its worth I really dont think raising a severely handicapped kid is noble for them or ourselves i think its just some misguided falling on your sword. Im sure there are those who are somehow suited to the task they make a go of it and get something out of it but basically its crazy. you dont homor life by sacrificing yours for half of anothers. yes parents subsume themselves to a large extent into their children and the children thank us not lol. but that process is part of the cycle of life. a cycle that continues. this isnt true with what some do these day raisng children that would last a month in a natural environment

        1. Thomas Lachowsky December 8, 2016 at 2:06 am

          The Nazis called their targeted killing of the physically and mentally disabled the T-4 or “Euthanasia” Program. They believed that disabled people were “Life unworthy of life” who were useless to society and threatened the genetic purity of the Aryan race, and so they began killing them by gassing them or with lethal injection. The Nazis also killed Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and many other groups of people that they determined to be subhuman.

          I myself am mentally disabled (I have ADHD and OCD), and I live with an autistic man. I am not sure either of us would survive the Nazis. Or the Left.

    2. People who have disabled children like you are describing don’t lie to themselves. Your judgments and assumptions about a life you chose not to live are based on something you have no experience in. I don’t think your pain or experience should be dismissed, not been in your shoes. I wont say I understand, how can I? I haven’t lived your life. But then I ask, you afford the parents of severely disabled kids with the same. If I have my son a day or a lifetime, I am blessed. I hope you experience that kind of intense sacrificial and unconditional love in your life (maybe you have). In my experience, it transforms how you see the world. Peace to you and yours.

    3. There are a couple of comments in the thread regarding the issue of aborting seriously deformed children. As an RN who has taken care of children with varying degrees of handicaps I have to say, many years ago, in a different time with different laws, such children would be born but would not live, and the physicians were not questioned (or sued). And this may have caused the physicians great sorrow and guilt, but many parents were spared untold heartbreak. Alas! So much untold sorrow in this world.

  4. Miriam Weeks was Catholic too. Her parents taught her that education is very, very important, forgetting to add, “but not so important that you should perform violent sex acts on camera to pay for it.”

    Am I a bad father because I will not pay tens of thousands of dollars to send my daughter to college — a cross between a Cuban indoctrination camp and a Mexican brothel — or on a European odyssey so that she might be ravished by a long succession of exotic “boyfriends”? How could she ever form a loving bond with an ordinary white-bread American husband after that?

    1. No, that makes you a good father.

    2. I have offered to pay for Hillsdale Ave Maria or help her to start a business, im not paying for leftist studies. Its too late drinking myself out of university saved my mind in the 70s, my daughter was indoctrinated before highschool

  5. This is one of the very best pieces on this website, ever.

    Well done.

    I’m sorry for all that you went though.

  6. I have a question for you, ma’am. Would you send your daughter to college? If yes, why? If not, why?

    1. Loretta Malakie December 2, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Hi Cristina, Thank you for reading my essay! If my children go to college, I hope they will live at home with us while they attend college and go to either the local community college or local Christian college.

      I would never send my children to Cornell or other big-name schools. Not only is it not worth the money, but they are harmful environments where young people are not protected and are subjected to really pernicious influences. Many well-meaning parents sacrifice to send their children to college, unaware of the kind of environment into which they are putting their children. My parents graduated from college in the 1950s and were completely unaware what campus life in the 1990s looked like.

      Nowadays I see things on campuses like SUNY Binghamton was putting their residence hall directors through a course called “Stop White People.” When I went to college any real-life personalized anti-white animus was a sentiment expressed by a weirdo fringe. The fact that it is becoming institutionalized is scary. So I can only imagine what is going on on campuses now.

      1. Thank you for your answer, Loretta.
        My interest is mainly about girls and education, for this a recurring topic for many NRx fora.
        I’m strongly in favor of a solid education for girls and boys alike. The visceral response, when confronted with stories like yours, is to keep the girls out of school, especially college. I consider that response a mistake.

        1. A sold education for boys and girls alike does not automatically entail a solid like education for both sexes.

          1. *sold -> solid

          2. True. There is not an education system capable of guaranteeing a solid education for all, not for boys and not for girls, sex disparities aside.

        2. There are a few conservative universities still. Hillsdale Offers a liberal arts degree in the original sense of the term, however they had to opt out of student aid programs to keep the title 9 feds out of their school so its 25k a year last i checked they will work something out but no student loans

        3. I agree with you, I wouldn’t want to keep my daughter out of college- it could be advantageous. I’m actually a very mainstream person- although I’m kind of breaking Amish just because the culture has become so toxic.

          Maybe it sounds stupid, but I plan to tell my daughter that if she ever gets pregnant unexpectedly, not to panic, there’s never a perfect situation, but just trust in God and that’s part of the beauty of it.

          Also I’m black-and-white pro-life and anti-abortion, so she will pick that up.

    2. Loretta Malakie December 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Thank you so much for your question. I think it’s really the key. Navigating institutional failure is something we all have to figure out now.

      Thank you also to those of you who left kind comments. Thank you. It means a lot to me.

  7. Ahh…”damaged goods”……Whatever you are, that is precisely what you’re not. The best part of Christianity is that it accepts you for what you are – with your sorrows, guilt and sins. Sincere regret gives you forgiveness, and asks you to also forgive yourself. To call yourself “damaged goods” tells me you have not yet forgiven yourself, and that the healing proces is continuing. If God has forgiven you, who are you to not forgive yourself?

    [Lying to ourselves about the real permanent damage free will choices can cause serves no one. -Eds.]

    1. @Arthur

      No, she is damaged, no getting around that. That’s not a matter of forgiveness, it’s a matter of fact. Admittedly, recognition of that fact does and says nothing about her willingness to forgive herself, or to throw herself upon God’s mercy and judgement above her own, but the two can certainly be mutually exclusive.

      In the end, all will be healed, of that we can be certain,

      “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”- 1 Corinthians 13:10

      That which is perfect has not yet come, but is always present, it is not here, and yet it is with us always. He has not returned, but is presently returned in us, as we will die, but shall live in Him.

      We are all damaged goods, sinners one and all. Seeing and knowing that is a prerequisite for our repentance.

      Excellent piece. I thank you for that.

      1. Perfectly stated.

    2. I second the nuanced position of Mr. Frogg, and caution Mr. Marian against the obstruction of judgement by sentiment; the insidious danger of pedestalization does not except subjects within your own ranks.

    3. I think Arthur was very graciously trying to be kind, and I thank him. Nice person.

      I wasn’t actually talking about being “damaged goods” from the Christian perspective. From the Christian perspective I’m not “goods” at all. I was talking about trauma. I have to agree with Eds. I have a total inability to lie to myself, I hate lies, and I agree about “real permanent damage.”

      My experience and my friends’ experience has been trauma, grief, and what is contemporarily called “depression.” This is a natural result. So that’s what I’m talking about when I say “damaged goods.” We’re talking about damage and destruction. That’s the nature of what we’re talking about.

      Personal tragedy you can’t do anything about. Laws you can do something about. What’s the nexus between Planned Parenthood and Cornell- do they have a deal?

      Also, I think what you see from this essay the weakness of the Catholic Church. What if it had been 1962 and I had said I was Catholic? They would have turned me over to a priest right away, the same way the police have to let you see your lawyer.

      1. As a Catholic, my horror at the apathy of the Church in teaching how to apply Catholicism is almost beyond words.

        We are, “luke warm” and so, I fear many will be, “spit out.”

  8. Only one thing is sacred to modern liberals: “women’s rights” aka abortion on demand. Why? For the same reason sacrificing children to Moloch was sacred to the Canaanites. To achieve social status, you must demonstrate your loyalty to the official religion. The more atrocious and irreversible an act you must perform, the more firmly it cements your belief, for who could ever admit to killing their own child to please a false god?

    That is why most of your friends who had abortions are still fanatically liberal, and why the Canaanite religion could only be abolished by fire and sword.

  9. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Roz is damaged goods. You are not. Seek forgiveness of you have not already. Pope Francis has given priest the ability and grace of absolution for this act. God is merciful so must we be.

  11. Loretta:

    Thank you for sharing. Your essay touched me deeply. As a man, I can not totally connect, and as a father of two boys and not a girl, I’m also left a layer disconnected. But as an imperfect Christian who has made his own mistakes in life I can understand that side of things. Still, while reading this, my gut tightened and my heart bled. If that was 1994, I can’t imagine how much worse it would be now. So damn scary.

    I am thankful that my ex and I raised two boys with strong moral conviction. I have one through college and a second about to enter. However, I am pretty confident that they will stand strong against the liberal tidal wave of the modern college experience. Oh, like me, they will make their mistakes… but I know their hearts are good… like yours. Thank you for sharing. You are a good woman. God Bless.

  12. I appreciate your delicate balance between “I made the decision, so it’s ultimately my fault” and “Cornell improperly used its influence on me.” That’s a hard line to draw, but you’ve done it well here. I am so sorry for what you have gone through.

  13. Possibly the best thing I’ve read this year, if not longer.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for expressing this.

    This will stay with me for a long, long time.

  14. So rather than take responsibility for the fact you accidentally got pregnant, you blame someone else for *forcing* you to have an abortion? Are you fucking kidding me?

    Talk about a cult of victimhood. YOU made the decisions on your own. Nobody forced you to do anything.

    And what the hell is this?:

    “My university experience is Soviet gulag- contempt, submission, humiliation, forced denouncement of God and culture, physical invasion – and then, a lessened person, flung out into the world to face years of coming to terms with the trauma.”

    This is complete bullshit. You can find any type of religious group on any campus in America, and they’re not denounced or laughed at. But you’re a victim, I forgot.

    “Most of the women I knew who underwent abortions in college- that was their permanent induction into the Army of the Left.”

    Again with the blame-game. Give me a fucking break. You make your own choices. Planned Parenthood doesn’t kidnap you and give you an abortion at gunpoint. This is stupid, delusional propaganda.

    “I would also like to point out that there are legal issues of consent at play here. But actionable or not, what Cornell University did to that unborn child, to me- the mother, to Slocum- the father, and to my parents- the grandparents was a crime. Cornell, j’accuse…!

    “I am damaged goods because I did what my university told me to do. And I am far from alone.”

    Again, take some responsibility for your life. Cornell didn’t do anything. You did. Own it and stop blaming other people.

    Talk about a whiny brat.

    1. Women aren’t responsible for their own decisions, because when they are, they make terrible decisions that hurt themselves and everyone around them — as you can see in this article — especially when under the influence of left-wing progressive (can we just called them Satanic already?) institutions and individuals.

      So basically, are you a libertarian?

    2. What Yuray said.

      It is the editorial position of Social Matter that women of reproductive age not be free to make reproductive choices. For precisely the reasons Lorettta elucidates. Anti-abortion is just one thread in the great tapestry of Anti-Choice.

      Greg, you’re apparently still contending for a pure version of liberalism. You’re in the wrong place.

    3. @Greg: What’s delusional is trying to judge teenage girl students still under tutelary power, and by Nature inclined to comply with the wishes of their rightful tutors and governors, by the standards applicable to a grown and independent man. Imagine what the world would be like if girls, and youth/students in general, *didn’t* in good faith do as their superiors instructed them. The problem here lies in the content of the instructions, which she had a duty to comply with and a right to rely on.

  15. In 1976, I, too, was an 18 year old, unmarried, pregnant “girl.” I wasn’t in college- I had gone a month and decided instead to join the Army. I climbed telephone poles and ran wires- because I could do a job like that in the military that wasn’t open to women outside of it. When I went in for an exam and it was discovered that I indeed was pregnant the pressure began. First it was another woman in my unit who was also pregnant- and having her 3rd abortion. She was sent to tell me it wasn’t bad and it was the best thing to do. Then it was my immediate supervisor recommending I abort. Soon I was called in to a commanding officer (a male) who told me that I should consider aborting “to take care of this family problem.” Each time I refused- I don’t know why I felt it was wrong to do so, but I couldn’t. I grew up in a Catholic family but Roe vs Wade was only a couple years behind us at that time and I don’t remember hearing much about abortion. I requested a discharge and was honorable discharged- I went home and was married. We are still married 40+ years later and have had 8 children and are now enjoying the grandchildren. It wasn’t easy- I was told that if I aborted “no one would have to know”- but I would know and I just couldn’t. Thank-you for sharing this- it is so difficult to speak up against those who have so much influence over us. I hope that more girls and young women can find their voices in years to come.

  16. While I sympathize with the Author’s emotional state and sense of regret, I think the other some of the commenters do not approach this story objectively. In any traditional society, if a boy and a girl of marrying age defied their parents, their faith, had sex anyway, and that sex led to a pregnancy, a shotgun marriage was virtually inevitable. Even today, had she gone to her parents she would have to deal with the shame, but she and Slocum would have gotten married and there would be no article. Her mistake then was not in choosing to have or not have an abortion, as Greg argued, but rather the entire process that led to the decision.

    I went to two great universities in Europe – one in a relatively conservative Eastern European country, and another in a very liberal Scandinavia – and what I experienced there was that what happens outside the classroom stays outside the school, it is your private business unless it’s a precarious financial situation when you have to discuss student loan options with the administration. Nobody, man or woman, brings his or her private life into the student office. In Russia, allegedly a very collectivist society where not so long ago it was mandatory to report everything (including the details of your private life) to the Party and obey their orders, people seem to act more individualistic and private than in America. I have plenty of examples of similar situations. At Russian school, my friend got accidentally pregnant when she was 19. What did she do? As in a traditional society, she told her family, she told her close friends, she discussed it with her boyfriend. Everybody supported her. The boyfriend proposed and they got married 2 months later. It never occurred to her to go to the Dean and report her accidental pregnancy! Moreover, my uncle and his wife had their first child when they were college students – without asking for any “advice” at their school. And that was in the 1970s, when communism was at a full swing in Russia.

    Americans today seem to wish to broadcast their misfortunes, running to the authorities in any sensitive situation rather than handling it with their families, and then they complain, whine, and blame others. In this particular case, why did the girl go to the student office and share a private issue with “Roz,” a woman for whom she had no respect rather than those who truly cared for her (the boyfriend and their families)? She had more faith in a Jewish Lesbian than in her boyfriend who, as we learn it in the very end, even proposed a shotgun marriage. So, I take issue with the comments left by others that this is simply another case of left-wing progressives browbeating an impressionable young woman into submission and an abortion. To my eye, this entire story is a situation that should have been resolved by the boyfriend and their parents, involving the campus was a mistake, and moreover speaks to the infantilization of American society (and especially its college students).

  17. I appreciate the counterpoint provided by Prowling Lynx, but I don’t think P. L. takes into account all aspects of the situation as presented. The author states she betook herself to the campus clinic seeking treatment for a UTI, not for a pregnancy test. It was ‘Roz’s’ presumption in “taking charge of the situation” and acting in loco parentis to which the author objects. Consider the things ‘Roz’ did not do: she did not inform the author’s parents of their daughter’s pregnancy, she did not acknowledge any other possible response to the situation but to abort, she did not ask the author what HER wishes were. How does this use of authority work out to “reproductive freedom” and “choice”?

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