Watertown Library Children’s Section Features Book Seeking To Normalize Abortion

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/10/17/watertown-library-childrens-section-features-book-seeking-to-normalize-abortion/

If you want to find a book that seeks to normalize abortion to children at a public library, you can go to public libraries in at least two Massachusetts communities. 

The book What’s An Abortion, Anyway? by Carly Manes and Mar Erazo is available in 13 of the 26 public libraries in the city of Boston, as NewBostonPost previously reported. Boston has a population of more than 650,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureeau

However, a public library in a smaller nearby Massachusetts community also lends out the book. 

Further investigation found that the Watertown Free Public Library also carries the book, in its children’s section. It was available for checkout as of Monday, October 17, according to the library’s online catalog. Watertown has about 35,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s separated from the Brighton neighborhood of Boston via the Charles River.

The author and illustrator of the book – Carly Manes and Mar Erazo, respectively – say they wrote it because there are no books about abortion aimed at people under 13 years old in the United States. They also said that they want to make abortion seem normal to children.

“We believe in building a world for kids and adults where abortion is normalized as another outcome of pregnancy, just like miscarriage and birth,” Manes and Erazo wrote on their Kickstarter page last year. “Having this book in the children’s section of libraries next to all of the books about pregnancy is one of the ways we hope to do that.”

Manes’s Twitter bio says that the book is a “gender inclusive and medically accurate picture book about abortion care for little ones 8+.” By this, she means she thinks the book is appropriate for eight-year-olds.

The book tells children over three pages:   “Some people have abortions because they can’t take care of a new baby right now. Some people have abortions because their doctors say pregnancy could make them sick. No matter the reason, everyone should be able to make this decision for themselves.” 

The book also tells children that having an abortion can make someone happy.

“People have many different feelings before, during, and after their abortion,” the book says. “Some people want to talk about it, and some people don’t. Some people feel happy or calm. Some people feel sad or lonely. Many people feel all of these things at the same time.”

So how does the book describe an abortion?

“An abortion is when someone decides to stop growing their pregnancy,” the book says. “There are many different ways that people who are pregnant can have an abortion. 

“Some people see a doctor who does a special procedure to remove the pregnancy from inside a person’s body,” it states. “Other people take medicine to stop the pregnancy from growing bigger.”

Massachusetts Citizens for Life executive director Patricia Stewart and Massachusetts Family Institute communications director Mary Ellen Siegler this past summer said they don’t think the book is appropriate for children.

Siegler told NewBostonPost in an email message in July 2022 that she takes issue with a book trying to normalize what she described as violence against the unborn. 

“This book is aimed directly at the hearts and minds of our youth,” Siegler wrote. “It is an attempt to normalize the violent killing of vulnerable unborn babies to children. With the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade at the United States Supreme Court, abortion activists know views regarding abortion are changing. The future is looking very pro-life. Why else would pro-abortion activists produce a book targeting children?”

Stewart told NewBostonPost that it’s wrong to misinform children about abortion to try to get them to support it.

“Preteen children do not need to know about abortion, unless the goal is to begin programming them into dispassionate acceptance of the brutal practice that kills an unborn child,” Stewart said by email in July 2022. “It falls to those, who love a child, to reject such tactics and safeguard the fragile, fleeting gift of childhood innocence that the apostles of death behind this book aim to pervert.”

Watertown Free Public Library director Caitlin Browne, contacted recently by NewBostonPost about the abortion children’s book, defended the library’s book selection process without referring to the book in question.

Browne sent NewBostonPost an email message that includes bullet points.  It states in full:


The Watertown Free Public Library adheres to the following collection development policy principles:

  • We serve patrons of all ages and cultural backgrounds, and we realize that patrons have diverse needs, interests, value systems, and reading abilities.

  • The Library provides the best possible collection with the financial resources available. The decision to select any item for the collection is based on demand, anticipated need, and the effort to maintain a wide and balanced collection.

  • Through ongoing assessment and maintenance, the library staff keep collections relevant in content and useful to patrons.  Factors used to determine whether material is added or kept in the collection include, but are not limited to:  currency, readability, accuracy, patron demand, circulation statistics, cost, availability, ease of use, critical assessments in review media, local interest, and the relationship of the material to other materials in the collection. New material types will be added to the collection when industry reviews indicate that the format is reasonably stable / viable and local requests suggest that a significant portion of the community has the necessary technology to make use of the new format. Similarly, the library staff may remove a material type when analysis demonstrates it is no longer a viable or desirable medium.

  • Additional factors to be considered when purchasing digital materials and subscribing to electronic resources include, but are not limited to:  hardware/system requirements, licensing and access restrictions, comparison of content and cost with other available formats, training needs, vendor capacity for direct customer support, and privacy policies.

  • Not all materials will be suitable for, or of interest to, all segments of the community.

  • Library staff is committed to providing an adequate number of copies of each title purchased so that patrons do not need to wait an unreasonable length of time to get any item.

  • By participating with other library network members in resource sharing, the Library is able to provide patrons with a larger volume of information.

  • Library staff encourages purchase suggestions from patrons and items may be acquired if such suggestions fall within the collection development criteria.

  • The Library provides free and open access. Selection criteria for children, teen, and adult materials differ; however, any patron may access and/or borrow from the entire collection. The Library will not act in the role of censor for any age level, material type, or subject matter.

  • The Library encourages parents to use the library with their children. The Library does not act in loco parentis, that is, caregivers, or adopt the role as a parent for a child in the library. What this means is that the Library supports parents’ rights and responsibilities to guide their children’s reading and viewing of library materials. Librarians are available to assist parents, but not to determine what children should read, view, or borrow from the library.

  • The Library endorses and defends the concept of intellectual freedom as protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.


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