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Novelist John Irving’s hatred for pro-lifers boils over again

by | Jun 25, 2019

By Dave Andrusko

What a coincidence. Last night as I was putting the finishing touches on a presentation I will be giving soon, I concluded with a reference to a “stone in the shoe.” As you know it’s an idiom that refers to something that is very painful for you but nobody but you knows about it.

Enter author John Irving. I would love to know what about abortion constitutes the stone in Irving’s shoe?

Yesterday he cranked out a tedious, by-the-numbers rehash of every pro-abortion cliché you can imagine to “prove”—as the headline and subhead reads—“The Long, Cruel Anti-Abortion Crusade: Abortion opponents don’t care what happens to an unwanted child, and they’ve never cared about the mother” for the New York Times. We’ve reposted a column by Clay Waters which I encourage you to read.

If you understand that Irving’s loathing for pro-lifers in general, the Catholic Church in particular, is boundless, then his mish-mash of an op-ed sort of makes sense. The reader also has to know that Irving continues to revisit his pro-abortion-to-the-hilt novel, “The Cider House Rules,” to prove the wonderfulness of the abortionist, Dr. Wilbur Larch, the physician who performs abortions at an orphanage in Maine.

Mind you this is only the latest eruption from Irving. In 2017 , he wrote an opinion piece for the Hollywood Reporter that appeared just prior to the Oscars. He said that anyone with “something political to say should feel free to say it.” He used his own acceptance speech experience in 2000 as a example, and lit into me by name and at length in 2017–17 years after I gently critiqued his homage to Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

What exactly was the nature of my sin? What capital offense did I commit? I had written, on very short notice, a very short (376 word long) response to Irving’s acceptance speech at the 2000 Oscars.

Why would a big-shot like Irving be bothered just because I wrote

Anyone who watched the Oscars on Sunday knows that the operative self-congratulatory word for the night was ”courage.” John Irving, honored for adapting his 1985 novel ”The Cider House Rules,” thanked the academy for honoring a film dealing with abortion and Miramax ”for having the courage to make this movie in the first place.” The audience burst into thunderous applause when he ended by thanking ”everyone at Planned Parenthood” and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

He would hardly have noticed, or, if he did, would not have bothered to crank out his essay, except (miracles of miracles) my little response appeared in the New York Times! Yowza!

Affection for unlimited abortion is to the Times what love for hard drink is to an alcoholic – – addictive, boundless, and highly intoxicating. Were they coming off a bender when they asked for a pro-life rebuttal? I dunno.

But I do know (as they say) I must have hit a nerve. Seventeen years later and steam is still coming out of Irving’s ears. I was, in various parts of his essay, described as a “familiar blowhard for pro-lifers,” “one-dimensional,” and (probably worst of all) responsible for a letter to the editor of The New York Times from a high school student who agreed with me and said he was “disappointed by the outright bias of Hollywood.”

Among other of my many sins, Irving was livid that I did not ( in 2000) give him credit for the appearance of a “pro-life” character in “Cider House Rules.”

I only had 376 words so my focus was on asking

When it comes to depicting pro-lifers, is it possible that the film industry may someday come of age? Can the public eventually expect textured portraits of these people, many of whom have dedicated over 20 years of their lives to helping women and their unborn children?

True, Homer Wells, the doctor’s [abortionist’s] apprentice (played by Tobey Maguire), did not wish to perform abortions.

But here is the whole point, as I explained at greater length in NRL News. (“Larch” is abortionist Wilbur Larch. Michael Caine won a Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Larch):

For unexplained reasons, Homer has never been adopted and becomes the son Larch never had. Larch wants him to carry on the “family business” and patiently teaches him how to deliver babies and to kill them. But Homer refuses to actually perform abortions. Why?

Most likely he intuits that had his unwed mother chosen otherwise, Homer would have wound up in the incinerator. (Larch is so ticked at Homer’s refusal to perform abortions, he makes Homer dispose of the aborted “fetuses.”)

You can, of course, see the moral of the story coming a mile away: Homer must go away, dispose of his scruples so he can “grow” to be a man like his surrogate father and dispose of the kids with a clean conscience (if not clean hands).

And Homer does. Now he is “worthy” to return to become Larch’s successor. Homer has now completed his spiritual odyssey. Like a modern-day Ulysses, Homer returns home, having finally drowned out the siren call of conscience.

Some “pro-lifer.”

Final thought. In 2017, I was, so to speak, collateral damage. Irving hates President Trump. He segued from remembrances of his own acceptance speech (17 years back ) to encourage “outright bias in acceptance speeches,” as the headline reads.

Irving dishonestly pretended that it made no difference to him whether they criticize or support President Trump, as if in a town that is wholly intolerant of conservatives and spent countless tens of millions of dollars to elect Hillary Clinton, someone would risk their career by saying a kind word about Mr. Trump.

Irving is rich. “Cider House Rules” received seven Academy Award nominations. Hollywood is pro-abortion from its collective head to its toenails. Irving received and continues to receive kudos for novels that, not to put too fine a point on it, push the envelope.

But all for naught. In his best pity-party manner, Irving laments, “There were complaints in the post-Oscar press about my [2000] speech, too.” I don’t know for a fact, but I’m guessing my little op-ed was outnumbered by unctuous praise perhaps by 200 to 1.

Which brings us back to his new New York Times piece. Has he learned anything? Did Irving, for example, paint “textured portraits of these people, many of whom have dedicated over 20 years of their lives to helping women and their unborn children”? Naw.

To the pro-abortion mind, we were awful in 2000, in 2017, in 2019, and will be forever.

Categories: pro-abortion