“What was it like, in the Dark Ages when abortion was a crime, for the girl whose dad couldn’t borrow cash, as my dad could? What was it like for the girl who couldn’t even tell her dad, because he would go crazy with shame and rage? Who couldn’t tell her mother? Who had to go alone to that filthy room and put herself body and soul into the hands of a professional criminal?–because that is what every doctor who did an abortion was, whether he was an extortionist or an idealist. You know what it was like for her. You know and I know; that is why we are here. We are not going back to the Dark Ages. We are not going to let anybody in this country have that kind of power over any girl or woman. There are great powers, outside the government and in it, trying to legislate the return of darkness. We are not great powers. But we are the light. Nobody can put us out.”
In case you hadn’t guessed it, LeGuin is one of my personal and professional heroines. She’s a huge part of why I’m a science fiction writer. At this moment in American politics, I’d like to thank her for saying it so much better than I ever could. She wrote those words in 1982. It’s tragic and demoralizing that her words remain so pertinent in 2012. Luckily, their quality remains equally timeless.