Owning and Killing

On April 27, 2009 Baltimore Sun columnist Susan Reimer wrote an article, “In families’ tragic deaths, a hint of paternalism,” addressing the cause of two horrific whole family murder/suicides perpetrated by fathers. These two were only the latest in a string of similar events across the country. Ms. Reimer got right to the point in her comments:

It wasn’t the economy. It wasn’t stress. It wasn’t mental illness. It hit me the minute I heard the news — it was ownership.

She made a good case for her position. What surprised me was that Ms. Reimer, an ardent abortion rights advocate, has never made the obvious logical connection between abortion and ownership and the malignant maternalism it exemplifies. When it comes to abortion, the mother asserts ownership and the power of life and death. She owns. She chooses. Ownership is one of the core arguments made by abortion rights advocates. They couch it as “self ownership” (“my body”), despite the fact that it really is about ownership of another life.

Abortion is all about ownership of another. Isn’t it about maternal ownership and the power to kill another? And not just any other, but the most intimate other. But, abortion, unlike paternal homicide, leaves no gruesome crime scene for the police and the community to deal with. The bodies are smaller and disposed of by accomplices with medical degrees, often men, paid by other men complicit in the killing of their children. Sometimes it is the grandmothers and grandfathers who facilitate the killing of their grandchildren.

For every horror story we hear about fathers killing their wives, their children and themselves during this harsh economic time, we know there are hundreds more unseen killings going on in the abortion mills of America.

So we need to ask ourselves. Do you think you own somebody? Who thinks they own you? Your father or mother, husband or wife? The State? Who owns you? These are life and death questions, temporal and eternal. The wrong answers lead to death, physical and spiritual. A lot of Americans are failing the test. The bodies, large and small, visible and invisible are piling up.

Who owns you?

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  • I hope you send this article to the editorial page of the Baltimore Sun.

  • steve p


    I did send it to The Baltimore Sun as a letter to the editor and got a call from the letters editor advising me it would be published later that wee. But a funny thing happened on the way to the presses. You can read that story at my blog.


  • Warren Jewell

    If the very most intimate human relationship, mother to unborn child, is supposedly marked by ‘ownership’ and ‘self-possession’ of the powerful one over the powerless other, and beyond morality and social import, then, all relationships are at risk. Key is ‘supposedly’, such ownership and self-possession having no footing in history, and the opposite having demonstrated its historical significance, even unto the glory of “we hold these hold these truths to be self-evident . . . that they (WE!) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life. . .” We hardly need go on, no other right can be held inalienable to one whose life was not held to be unalienable right and as inferred sacrosanct purpose unto heaven.

    All other relationships are less intimate, less personal, by measure; and, for example, the ‘owning’ ‘father’ can obliterate his family on whim. And, if the humbly low ‘Mom’ can own and destroy the very one who is her very own, the state with its scope, grasp and power can own and destroy just about anyone and everyone. And, statist tyrants have so demonstrated, especially in the 20th century.

  • Terri Kimmel

    I agree with this notion of ownership. However, I’d like to encourage those who read this column to consider that too often women only feel the loss of their physical autonomy, or the loss of their financial resources, or the threat to their primary relationships… It is common that women in unplanned pregnancies (a situation precipitated by our contraception, sex-saturated culture)don’t progress intellectually enough to feel “ownership”. This ownership mentality is more a cultural phenomenon. Women in crisis need help and they’re desperate to relieve the pressures they’ve been put under.

    I understand this is a letter to a newspaper editor, so it has to be brief and to the point. I can appreciate that. However, the motivation and supposed justification that fuel abortion are much, much more complex.

    Thank you for writing, Mr. Pohl. God bless you and yours.

  • steve p


    You are absolutely correct in your observations about the complexity of this issue. When the editor called me he referred to my letter as “the abortion letter.” I responded: “It not really that simple is it?” That is why in this very brief piece I mention the men and parents who often put great pressure on the pregnant woman to abort, instead of offering compassionate support.

    I did appreciate that the letters editor was willing to publish the letter, though he was shown the door before he was able to do it.

  • Lucky Mom of 7

    I just read the Sun article. I think it should be considered that the “ownership” of the abortion mentality is not a mirror of patriarchal ownership, but an evolved form of it. Men in our society think they own women and get to use them as sex objects. If a woman considers her unborn child objectified in the same way, we should look for the most fundamental origin of the evil. It precedes conception.