Guest post by Matthew Lickona
Alphonse and “After-Birth Abortion,” or, The Fetus that Would Not Die.
Almost 10 years ago, I conceived of Alphonse, a sentient, coordinated fetus who survives an attempted abortion. (The experience leaves him deeply twisted, and on top of that, he’s addicted to heroin.) It is an admittedly freaky notion, but then, freaks do have their literary uses. Like the doctor’s creation in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Alphonse is a unnatural creature who forces the reader to think about what is natural, a monster who makes us consider what it means to be human.
I’ve been trying to get Alphonse’s story out there ever since, with mixed results. But every time I’m ready to put the little fellow to rest, someone else takes an interest, or something happens to make me think it’s worth it to keep at it. The most recent bit of motivation: a spark of interest from a publishing house, and an article in the London Telegraph about a Journal of Medical Ethics paper supporting “after-birth abortion.” The paper argued that “both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life.’” Suddenly, the fact that people seek Alphonse’s life even after his “birth” had a new relevance.
The publishing house, alas, decided not to go ahead with the project. But the essay in the Journal of Medical Ethics remained. So I have decided to have another go at raising the funds to pay my artist and letterer to produce a full-color, 140-page graphic novel, one that tells the whole story in one shot. I hope you will visit Alphonse‘s site, consider donating, and also consider sharing this plea. Even if no one can afford more than a dollar, I believe there are at least 40,000 souls out there who would agree with me that this is a story worth telling.
The first chapter (in black-and-white) may be downloaded here. Thank you for your time and consideration. Godspeed.