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LOPEZ: Let’s get out of our corner
Kathryn Lopez
Kathryn Lopez

“Out of the Corner” is the title of Jennifer Grey’s recent memoir. It’s a play on the famous line from Patrick Swayze’s character in “Dirty Dancing,” the movie they are both known best for. Grey’s character is nicknamed “Baby,” and Swayze’s character tells her family, “No one puts Baby in a corner” — after they had done just that. 

Grey recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times to promote the book. She said she considered canceling the interview because of how upset she was — it happened to fall on the day that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But she kept the interview, and what she said might actually help get us out of the rhetorical corner Roe v. Wade put us in. 

“Grey says she felt empowered by her sexual freedom at a young age and was careful about using birth control,” the Times write-up explained. “But even as someone with the access and means to abortion, the choice to end a pregnancy can take its toll: ‘It’s such a grave decision. And it stays with you.’”

This is what you do not typically hear at rallies or even Congressional hearings: Abortion is grave. That’s because it involves a mother’s decision to end the life of her baby. That’s a cruel decision to have to make, often when the mother is young, like Grey was. She says she had means — presumably to keep the baby, too — but young girls and women can feel alone and that abortion is their only choice. 

And there is a deeper cultural malady Grey shines a light on, albeit unintentionally. The headline of the Times piece emphasized that Grey’s abortion “changed her life.” Well, of course it did. But the assumption, in her story and many others, is that that change was for the better. I can no longer keep track of how many pieces I’ve read and how much testimony I’ve heard about how a woman wouldn’t have her career without her abortion(s). So it is with Grey: “I wouldn’t have my life. I wouldn’t have had the career I had, I wouldn’t have 

had anything,” she said. “And it wasn’t for lack of taking it seriously. I’d always wanted a child. I just didn’t want a child as a teenager.”

She did give birth to a daughter at 41. But there’s something insidious about the “planned” in Planned Parenthood. Obviously, we should all make prudent decisions about pregnancy. But college students are now choosing not to attend schools in certain states because they want access to abortion. Are they considering abortion part of their birth control toolkit? As Erika Bachiochi’s magisterial book “The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision” makes clear, when abortion is widely available, people are prone to more reckless, casual sex because they know there is an option should a pregnancy occur. 

More fundamentally, though, a child one wasn’t planning for is not the end of the world. A child can change your life and open you to a love you did not know was possible. 

Love is parenthood. Love is self-sacrificial. It’s not easy. It’s not glamorous. But love makes miracles possible. Single mothers are courageous. We should rally around these remarkable mothers, and the same with fathers who step up to the plate. 

Parenthood is heroic. A culture that does not value this does not know what love is. In this post-Roe America, we should be advocating for everything that prioritizes families. Having a child shouldn’t be exorbitantly expensive, for example. That shouldn’t be a partisan cause. Let’s get out of our ideological corners and help families flourish. 

Back to Grey, though: What if “Dirty Dancing” hadn’t been a part of her life? Would that have meant the end of the world? She would have had something — a child! And she could have chosen adoption, too. We do teenagers a disservice when we insist that career success is the end-all and be-all. We will not be a healthy culture until we value family life. 

Perhaps it’s not shocking that Grey is speaking out in favor of legal abortion. “Dirty Dancing,” after all, had a storyline about a dancer at a posh resort whose illegal abortion was botched, putting her life at risk. How wonderfully different the movie would have been if the dancer could have instead revealed her pregnancy and been supported by her employer, or by some of the wealthy families vacationing there. 

The way the story played out was probably realistic. But it shouldn’t be. Young women should not have to feel like the grave decision to abort is the only, or best, answer. A mother should never have to choose to end the life of her unborn child. With the end of Roe, life is actually possible in new ways. All of us must work to make that possible. Out of our corners, please!

Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book “A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living.” She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York. She can be contacted at