Renay posted about my lack of (good) logic in my initial post on if people are taking Breaking Dawn too seriously. And she is right. Mostly.
I did skip over the details of Bella's pregnancy because well they're uncomfortable and squirmy and illogical in and of themselves. I mean the baby does develop within her womb in a matter of weeks, not even a full month. And that itself takes it out of the realm of possibility. There can be no human parallels. Also, the fact that it's half-vampire. That's a problem. Human babies take their nourishment from their mother, from the food the mother eats. But since this is half-vampire, all the baby wants is blood. Lots and lots of blood. Until someone thinks of that possibility, the baby is in fact killing Bella.
Bella's situation can't be cut and pasted into real life. It's impossible. It's mostly stupid. There will never in a million years be a situation like Bella's. Where there is a half-vampire baby thirsting for blood, developing too quickly, and needing to be delivered a bit prematurely--before it can eat its way out.
Yes, there are certain situations that you can maybe see parallels. There are pregnant women whose lives are at risk by their pregnancy for various medical reasons. These women (or these couples) are asked to decide in most cases--or encouraged strongly in others--to end the pregnancy to save the mother's life. In some cases, the pregnancy could not make it to full term, the fetus would not be viable outside the mother's body, and the decision seems to be more cut and dry. In other cases, there might be a chance, a percentage be it small or large where the baby might in fact survive even if the mother's chances lessen if the pregnancy continues. And the argument here seems to be that Meyer was clearly and without any subtlety making a political statement about these very real-life cases when she placed Bella in that situation. That Meyer was trying to insert pro-life propaganda into this situation by having Bella consider the life of her unborn baby to be equally important to her own life.
I guess my stance would be that although Bella is dying from this pregnancy (and I did address the super-sperm issue on my review itself the day before--called it miracle gro vampire sperm) it is still her choice, her body.
Bella and Rose are the only two people (I believe) that think this is a good decision, a wise decision. These are really the only two that see it as a baby, a precious and unique life. Everyone else thinks Bella is absolutely crazy, completely bonkers. They think she's being an idiot to even consider going on with this pregnancy. Edward doesn't see it as "his precious" baby. He sees it dangerous. He sees it as replaceable. Why else would he suggest to Jacob that he convince Bella to end this pregnancy? Why else would he suggest to Jacob that if the loss of this baby--his baby--makes Bella too sad that he (Jacob) should have sex with her and give her some pups. Jacob doesn't really see it as a baby either. He sees it as a potential monster. All of them see it as a monster. Something dangerous. Something that might be vicious. Something uncontrollably wild.
But they respect (albeit begrudgingly) that it's her decision, her choice, her body. They stand by her decision even when they don't like it. Bella is at least partly aware, and everyone else in the Cullen household (including Jacob and his two werewolf friends that have defected from the other pack) is aware that most people would disagree with Bella in this situation. That the majority opinion is that she should consider her life to be more important always.
Here is where it gets tricky. I don't think there is a right and wrong answer. Bella is the only one who knows what she can live with. And Edward is making it easy for her. She's not choosing between life and death. Not really. She's choosing between continued human life where she'd have to live with her own guilt and regrets (guilt and regrets that she and she alone would place on herself). And becoming a vampire. The thing that she's always wanted. She knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Edward (and the other vampires) will do everything--go to all costs--to save her. Sure there's a bit of risk that Edward couldn't turn her in time, but she's willing because she has faith in Edward to see her through. She wants it all. She wants to be a vampire; she wants to be a mother. She sees her pregnancy as getting to that goal a bit quicker than Edward might have allowed it to happen.
So what it comes down to is one of choice. One woman's choice as to what happens to her own body. If ethics is by majority vote, then Bella would have been outvoted. Bella was without a doubt making the "wrong" decision, the stupid decision, the decision that would ultimately cost her her life if this wasn't a fiction monstrosity of a book. But it would still be her decision to make. Unless someone close to her possibly went over her head and declared her incompetent and unable to make her own decisions.
This dilemma Bella faces is a quicksand type issue. It's not a pretty one to advertise by any means. It was squirmy to read about. I don't think most people would make the same decision Bella made, but just because we may not agree with her doesn't mean that she shouldn't have the option to choose. Allowing someone the right to choose means allowing them to choose. Sometimes we agree with their choice, sometimes we won't. In fact, there may be cases where we strongly, strongly disagree. But the right to choose isn't limited to being allowed to choose only what we agree with and nothing else. That isn't choice.
I don't think it's dangerous for Meyer to have gone there. Because I don't think readers can read it without thinking about it. Without questioning this whole section. Without judging for themselves if Bella's choice was good or bad, smart or dumb. I don't think readers will blindly follow Bella on and say, "Bella did it, and so it must be right. If this ever happens to me, I'll do just as she did." I think most people can separate fiction from real life. And most aren't looking to be "persuaded" politically speaking by reading vampire fiction.
(On a complete side tangent, this issue has come up on soap operas before. All My Children. I remember when Kendall was dying; yes, dying, and in a coma. And there was extreme risk for Kendall. Many people wanted to end the pregnancy and have Kendall's life be saved. Her chances for surviving would go up if there wasn't the baby to consider. But her husband, Zack, (or is it Zach???) fought (both legally and quite illegally) to save the baby's life. He knew that is what Kendall would have wanted. I don't remember any commotion, any fuss, any arguments about how the soap opera was trying to brainwash the public. Trying to "persuade" people to believe one way or the other about human rights or pro-life or pro-choice. I think most people a) realized it was just a soap opera and therefore fiction b) realized it was a soap opera and therefore everything would work all right in the end--after all I don't think her acting contract was up c) realized that it was just one possible choice.)
I think there are two primary reasons Breaking Dawn is being picked on
a) It's a bit illogical. And there are gaping holes in Meyer's logic within the story itself.
b) Stephenie Meyer is Mormon. (Mormons are conservative. Mormons are different.) She's being accused of trying to spread "Mormon" religious beliefs AND of loading conservative propaganda into her fiction.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews