Back in early June of 2019, while meandering about the BookExpo at New York's Javits Center, one of the industry's hugest trade shows, I started browsing the offerings of a Christian book distributor, thinking I could pick up a free gift for my rather devout sister-in-law.
The choices were profuse. However, what caught my eye was what I thought at first a children's picture book. A thin, little tome, a mere 19 pages with a cover drawing of a contented soon-to-be-born babe in its mother's stomach. This turned out to be The Adventures of Pfreddy the Fetus: Pfreddy Travels to the Planning Parenthood Place.
The author of this book was, I assumed, using a protective pseudonym, B. E. Nyce. The bit braver, not untalented illustrator was one Gary Donald Sanchez, who also illustrated several children’s books by a David Haave, including the enticingly titled My New Boots for My Daddy’s Farm.
The publisher of both titles is Xulon Press, a Christian self-publisher. Cost per title for any author with the right view point and some cash is currently $2,399 with some additional costs noted. You might or might not have heard of some of the titles being promoted on their book site: Tanora Parham's Distracted: Moving from Satan’s Plan into God's Purpose; Elena Restituyo's The Man Called Covid-19: The Greatest Magician; and Stan Cunningham's The King and the Clop, a story about the donkey colt that Jesus rode on into Jerusalem.
Now back in 2019, I thought this was something to write about. So arriving home, I immediately placed Pfreddy on the top of my to-do pile, where it lay semi-forgotten for 36 months, eventually buried under various films' production notes, a colonoscopy report, and 8x10 glossies of some Corey-Haim like star. (I was cleaning out my files from my teen-mag editing days.)
What finally spurred me into action was seeing Audrey Diwan's Happening at the recent New Directors/New Films Festival. In this grippingly honest, no-holds-barred film, a 23-year-old lit student seeks an abortion in 1963 France, an act for which she, her doctor, and anyone else who aids her can be sent to prison. The Happening is being screened now in theaters while our governmental institutions are reenacting the same plotline in our courts.
But back to Pfreddy with the annoying "P" that seems to have been added to avoid copyright infringement. Yes, there was once a Freddy the Fetus by Ted Lupo, which was "distributed in the interest of merrier maternities [by] the makers of Filibon® Prenatal Supplements."
Anyway, you should know at this point that Pfreddy's sex has not been designated, although a male preference is voiced.
Moving on, the pre-babe's adventure begins with a "Yahoooooooo! I'm alive. Well, almost alive. I'm a fetus.
"A fetus is a miracle that grows in a mommy’s tummy and becomes a human being . . . . My story starts when my mom met a man with a red ’57 Chevy. She loves vintage cars. Wait a minute. I forgot that she said not to start there, so I'll begin in another place.
"I remember being in a cozy safe place, just spinning around. I love spinning; it's soothing."
Hey! Is Pfreddy recalling being a sperm? Would kids comprehend what mom did with that Chevy driver? What is Mr. Nyce going for? Is this a satire? (I know B.E. is a Mr. because his dedication goes: "To my four favorite former fetuses: Eric, Megan, Kelly and Bryan and their wonderful mother Kathryn.")
Yes, this is not a book for juveniles. The purpose here is clearly is to guilt trip pregnant women into not having an abortion. They are warned to especially avoid entering through the doors of their neighborhood "Planning Parenthood Place," because not only will they be decimating a wonderful life, the robins will also stop singing. (Depressed birds are pictured on page 16.)
Oh, by the way, a Fairy God-Fetus, who makes an early appearance, has bestowed Pfreddy with the power to have lengthy discussions with their Mom and also the ability to converse with other fetuses in other tummies. But the Mom-talks are the best.
"Do animals abort their pregnancies?"
I asked her, "Then why do people abort their pregnancies?"
She said, "Because they can."
She said, "Because the Supreme Court said they could."
I asked: "What is the Supreme Court?"
After a few more back and forths about aborting "fetuses before they become viable," Pfreddy asks, "Are the judges' doctorates in medicine?"
She said, "No."
I said, 'It's nice they hold so many degrees, but have they ever held a fetus?"
My mom shook her head sadly and said, "I don't think so."
What's insidious here is Nyce's fabrications about Planned Parenthood (PP) giving those who are pregnant only one option: to abort. What about the organization's invaluable and extremely affordable (sometimes free) services for those in need of general health care, STD testing, emergency contraception (the morning-after pill), birth control information, and HIV services -- and that's just for starters. (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-care)
In any case, one day, on the way to PP, Pfreddy and his mom, who might subconsciously just want to get rid of you know who, meet a woman who's just aborted her twins at PP. Though upset, this traumatized soul, who's in tears, still has to rush back to her house to prepare for a "Save the Seal" rally that night. "She wanted to look her best in case it was on the six o’clock news." Nyce seems to be arguing that these "baby-killers" really take the cake.
But what's scary about this book is not solely the distorted content. There's a seductiveness here in the engaging drawings and what might be deemed a highly imaginative pro-life take on the issue. That Pfreddy might just wind up as a Christmas stocking stuffer and succeed with its dishonesty is the unnerving part.
But to be honest, I am almost looking forward to the sequel. You can bet Pfreddy the Fetus will be carrying an AR-15 assault weapon in utero.