Let me tell you a couple stories.
My father, born into an immigrant community in 1920, was distantly related to a woman who made herbal cures for common illnesses and, as a sideline, had a little discreet abortion business.
"She only did it for married women who had too many kids," my father told me. "She wouldn't do it for single girls because she thought a girl who got pregnant before she was married was a whore."
Maybe 30 years after my father tells me this story, I'm sitting in a bar, which is closed for the night, talking to the bartender, who is not done pouring for the night. Like my father, the bartender is a pinky ring guy, a shined-shoes guy, a knockaround guy.
And I'm just off work and there are three other guys in the bar and none of them are making much sense when they talk, and so the bartender and I are watching the news. It's late and there's no game on television so we're watching a film clip taken outside an abortion clinic where one hunched over woman with a raincoat half over her head is running into the clinic while someone waves a picture of a bloody, aborted fetus at her narrow, fast-moving back.
The bartender tosses his cigarette butt into the trash can, sprays the trash can with ice water from the soda gun behind the bar and goes off to get one of the drunks another beer.
"Ya gotta wonder," he says to me as he turned. "Where are the guys who are knocking these broads up?
He could have put it less offensively but guys who work after-hours joints in freshly shined shoes are often inclined to be brief and hurtful in their speech.
In Massachusetts, the government is considering changing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics to a 25-foot buffer zone. This is crucially important. A woman getting the great benefit of an abortion should be made to feel as much like a whore as possible. You can't do that from 35 feet away. You gotta get closer.
There is no doctor doing abortions in the Massachusetts city of 88,000 people where I live. We're way outside the buffer zone, as are a lot of American places. I guess all we can do to "protest" here is beat up any pregnant woman we catch trying to leave town.
In the urban neighborhood where I live, if it was as hard to get a pistol as it is to get an abortion, I could walk down the street naked with a $100 bill behind each ear.
As for the stories told by my father and the after-hours bartender, my women readers know the morals to both stories. The first is that, if your problems begin below the waist, there's a name for you. The second is that we leave you when we want to and there is no name for us when we do. If you're taking the bus to the abortion clinic, you're probably only going to have to pay for one seat.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's book of Pulitzer Prize-nominated columns "Between Wealth and Welfare: A liberal Curmudgeon in America," and his book of essays and short fiction, "Mill River Smoke" are available on Kindle and Nook.