….Considering the music industry’s support for abortion, it is revealing to consider how the artists and others in the industry actually portray the experience. A handful are cruel, even gleeful—in his biography, Marilyn Manson related the abortion of his child in graphic terms, describing the doctor “tearing out the brain of our child with a pair of forceps.” But most admit to feeling depression or even horror at the experience. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith described the saline abortion of his child to a friend: “It comes out dead. I was pretty devastated. In my mind I’m going … what have I done?” Even Janis Joplin admitted that she regretted her abortion and that she believed it had worsened her psychological struggles.
Trauma and regret are far more common than “Shout Your Abortion” defiance. Suzi Quatro admitted, “I couldn’t get out of my mind who that first baby would have become … Any woman who’s been through an abortion and tells you it was nothing is lying.” Sharon Osbourne concurred: “It was the worst thing I ever did … I howled my way through it, and it was horrible. I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you. When I tried to have children, I lost three—I think it was because something had happened to my cervix during the abortion.”
Indeed, political propaganda can deceive—but art derived from experience rarely does. Madonna, a fierce abortion activist, told Time magazine in 1996 that she regretted her abortion, even though she had believed her lifestyle to be incompatible with motherhood at the time. When she sang about a girl being pressured to kill her child in her 1986 hit “Papa Don’t Preach,” she portrayed the expectant mother pushing back: “Papa don’t preach I’m in trouble deep / Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep / But I made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby / I’m gonna keep my baby.”
Rapper Nicki Minaj confessed that she regretted her abortion and sang about the lost baby in “All Things Go”: “My child with Aaron / would’ve been sixteen any minute / So in some ways I feel like ’Caiah is the both of them / It’s like he’s ‘Caiah’s little angel, looking over him.” Singer Beth Torbert, known to her public as Bif Naked, named a song after a baby she aborted when she was 18: “I hope you can forgive me: my baby Chotee, forgive me.” Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac also named a song after the baby she and Don Henley aborted, “Sara”: “Wait a minute baby / Stay with me a while / Said you’d give me light / But you never told me about the fire.” And Sinead O’Connor imagined her lost aborted daughter in “My Special Child”:
Think about my little girl
Her yellow skin and her dark curl
And how her father’s heart was frozen
I spoke to her and I said:
“You won’t regret the mother you have chosen.”
I lied. Where’s she tonight?
One of the most chilling portrayals of abortion in song is found in “Bodies” by the Sex Pistols. John Lydon wrote the story after a mentally unstable fan allegedly showed up on his doorstop, holding an aborted baby in a plastic bag. In his autobiography, he relates that this young woman described her abortions in excruciating detail. One line in the song sums up what he heard: “Throbbing squirm, gurgling bloody mess….”
The above comes from a Sept. 1 story in First Things.