Feature

Author of the week: Irene Vilar

Now married with two children, Vilar's memoir, <em>Impossible Motherhood,</em> reveals the pathological desire for control over her body that led her to have 15 abortions in 15 years.

It’s mind-blowing that Irene Vilar is today a mother of two, said Manuel Roig-Franzia in The Washington Post. In a new memoir, the 40-year-old literary agent claims to have long been “an abortion addict.” Beginning at age 18, she had 15 abortions in 15 years, most while married to a Syracuse University professor 34 years her senior. He didn’t want children, Vilar says, and she fell into a pattern of “forgetting” to take her birth control pills, experiencing the “high” of a brief pregnancy, then terminating it discreetly. “I wanted control over my body, and the way I chose to have control could not have been more terrible,” she wrote in a recent essay. In Impossible Motherhood, she reveals that she underwent the final three abortions after divorcing the professor—even though the would-be father wanted a child.

Vilar has become a target of much online vitriol since her book’s release, but she claims she’s not bothered that pro-choice advocates haven’t leapt to her defense. “My feeling was that I let them down,” she says. “They risked their lives to give me this, and I abused that right.” But she insists she was hardly making rational decisions when she had these abortions. “In a pathology, you don’t have a choice.” For many years, she was frequently suicidal, and speculates that, had abortion been outlawed, she would have died long ago as the result of an illegal one. Instead, she today has a new husband and two young daughters she intends to home-school. “I just so much enjoy being with them,” she says.

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