Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Fourth Procedure – Stanley Pottinger

it’s been awhile since i’ve read a book written with so much emotion. i have to go back to my high school days to come up with comparisons like stephen king’s “the dead zone” and “carrie”, william peter blatty’s “the exorcist”, pat conroy’s “the great santini”, og mandino’s “the christ commission”, or warren murphy & molly cochran’s “high priest”. but unlike these writers, stanley pottinger is not as popular or as successful when, judging by his medical-cum-legal-cum-psychological-cum-political-cum-suspense thriller novel “the fourth procedure”, he is obviously a gold mine. and considering his undeserved banishment to obscurity, he should be metaphorically regarded as a walking time bomb ready to explode -- but when that explosion occurs, chances are not even a whimper will be heard.

stanley’s novel consists of doctors, lawyers, judges, politicians as well as ordinary citizens engaged in a battle over the sanctity of the unborn and its potential mother. should abortion be deemed illegal or should a pregnant woman have a right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?

in the story, a group of female pro-choicers conspire to come up with a procedure to implant pregnant uteri inside men with the intent of having men take an “active” part in the long and arduous process of being pregnant. this way, both men and women can be considered equally responsible for bringing up a child, and more importantly, it prevents men from making rash decisions of whether to abort or not to abort a fetus as they may now be in a position to physically and emotionally experience, first-hand, unwanted pregnancies.

the tale presents a scenario where a newly appointed pro-life judge of the u.s. supreme court unknowingly has a pregnant uterus implanted in him. when he realizes what’s been done to him, he decides he doesn’t want to go into the embarrassment as well as the “loss of dignity” of becoming pregnant. so would he resolve to abort the fetus and thereby taint his stand of being a hardcore pro-lifer? to up the ante of what is already a spicy yarn, the father of the fetus is a high-profile pro-choice congressman who badly wants his child to live. so would he ask his political rival not to abort the fetus and thus sacrifice his ideals of being a staunch defender of the right to choose?

stanley pottinger, through his effective use of irony, makes us weigh the pros and cons of being pro-life and being pro-choice, but takes into special consideration the woman’s point of view as she is the one after all who has to carry the child in her womb for nine months.

stanley is the best (and only?) male feminist writer i’ve ever had the pleasure of reading (so far).

rating: 5 of 5 stars * * * * *
an unsung classic that should be reprinted so as to be read by more people.

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