"We were told that Plato didn't believe in generating children of the body, but children of the mind. Aside from the fact that Socrates had children, this was about as malevolent as you can get--invoking Plato to try to stampede someone into aborting a baby."
In 1971, when I first met Nancy Spannaus, she was already a National Executive Committee (NEC) member in the LaRouche organization, and was pregnant with her second child. She was the abrasive, aggressive, ambitious--"political"--person whom I came to know so well, and I saw no sign that her pregnancy was slowing her down any.
Back then, there didn't seem to be too much LaRouche organization pressure against pregnancy--probably because most of us were very young, and weren't even thinking about having kids.
By 1973 and 1974, however, a number of the people in my age cohort were getting pregnant. And then, suddenly, we discovered there was a Labor Committee [National Caucus of Labor Committees, or NCLC--ed.] "policy" about it, and that policy's chief enforcer was Nancy Spannaus (along with one other high-ranking female member who has since dropped out, and whose name, therefore, I will not mention).
In mid-1974 one of my close friends became pregnant--she was in a relationship with an NEC member, no less. The NEC, no doubt under Lyn's direction, intervened to break up the relationship and, for good measure, to force my friend to get an abortion.
That was 34 years ago, and to this day my friend has not recovered from the guilt and the grief.
Towards the end of 1974, I became pregnant. I was pleased and excited, although the pregnancy was accidental. My husband Ken was less delighted.
In those days, we didn't have EPTs and all that--you went to the doctor to find out if you were pregnant. As it happened, my doctor (a very good OB/GYN) couldn't tell, as the "rabbit" test was inconclusive, and he was convinced I was not pregnant.
To make a long story short--I was fully three months pregnant when he finally confirmed the fact.
Nancy Spannaus was my "boss" at the time--I was working in "Editorial." She and the other female leader spent the three months in which I thought I was pregnant, but wasn't sure, nagging and harassing me to find out--for sure.
It was clear that they were worried that I would get too far along and not be able to have an abortion. And there was absolutely no question that that was what I was supposed to do.
In one exchange with the Other Female Leader--I'll call her OFL for short--I was crying and saying that I wanted the baby, and OFL was saying, "Don't worry, once we seize power you can have children."
When Nancy decided I wasn't moving fast enough to confirm the pregnancy and get an abortion, she sent a couple of her "secondary leaders" from Editorial to intervene with me, to tell me I wasn't pulling my weight in Editorial and really needed to get with the program.
My husband, Ken, supported the idea that I should not have the baby. We were young and just married and a baby certainly didn't fit in with our plans to take over the world for Lyndon LaRouche (still Lyn Marcus in those days), or whatever the heck we thought we were doing.
Ultimately, early in 1975, I had the abortion, at Flowers Fifth Avenue Hospital in Manhattan. As I came out of the anesthetic in my hospital room after the abortion, OFL called me on the phone from the National Office to give me a "briefing." That is, she wanted to make sure I'd had the abortion.
Over the years my grief and anger have grown, not diminished. It was a pretty brutal mauling I underwent--and participated in--just so these harpies could sacrifice, and force me to sacrifice, my firstborn to the man I have called the Moloch of Leesburg [Moloch-LaRouche's headquarters are in Leesburg, VA--ed.].
Abortion as a Way of Life
The Labor Committee used abortion the way the Soviet Union did--as a method of birth control--and with the same psychologically and physically devastating effects.
Over the years, I watched almost every woman in the National Office go through something similar. Of my 10 or 15 closest friends from the days of the LaRouche organization--almost all of them have now dropped out--I can't think of a one who didn't have at least one abortion.
Many had two or even more.
A woman named Joan in the Detroit region got pregnant in 1975 and actually had the baby--but her husband left her (was forced to leave her), and she was ostracized completely from the organization. One of the Detroit National Committee members tried to organize it so that she would give the baby up for adoption, but Nancy Spannaus nixed that, for whatever reason.
Meanwhile, in New York, in the "National," the slaughter went on. One thing you could always get money for was an abortion--not so much for medical treatment and the like, but abortions were invariably paid for.
Many women found their fertility compromised as a result, so that years later, when they had finally broken free of LaRouchedom, they found that they could no longer have children.
One woman, who deeply wanted a child, got pregnant and resisted having an abortion for months--until her husband left her, and Nancy Spannaus and OFL bludgeoned her psychologically into having the abortion. When she had that abortion, she was fully five months pregnant. After she obeyed, her husband came back to her.
I learned very recently from a former NEC member that Lyn had spent an entire meeting ranting and raving about this woman and her pregnancy--ravings which obviously motivated Nancy et al. to do all in their power to make sure that that baby never got born.
Maybe Lyn was reliving his rage and fear when his first wife, Janice LaRouche, gave birth to his only child, Daniel LaRouche. There can be no doubt that Lyn collapsed psychologically at that point; his later writings about women having children because they're sick of their husbands, etc. ad nauseam make the point.
This particularly ghastly forced abortion was one of the most extreme cases of psychological abuse I have ever seen. That woman, by the way, is still in the organization as of this writing (February 2009), and still with her unspeakable husband. They never did have any children.
Another woman, Denise--now dead--got pregnant while on the National Center fundraising team. Naturally, she had to have an abortion. Afterwards, she became so devastatingly depressed that she could no longer function on the phone team. She was sent to Nancy's backyard in Editorial. (To be fair to Nancy, at about that point, or perhaps even earlier, she stopped being the Abortion Enforcer. Just stopped doing it. Into the vacuum stepped Michele Steinberg, among others.)
Another woman, someone who had already defied the organization to have a child, became pregnant a second time shortly after we moved to Northern Virginia in 1985. Her first child was about five at the time. Naturally, the woman had an abortion. However, the abortionist perforated her uterus, so she had to have a hysterectomy. Years later, she and her husband adopted a second child. They remain in the organization.
Another woman discovered that, after several abortions, she had so much scar tissue she couldn't get pregnant when she finally decided to do so. Another had an "incompetent cervix."
The destruction of fertility was very common.
Another couple was thrown out of the Baltimore region by Debra Hanania Freeman because somehow, in the midst of their doglike loyalty, they had had the temerity to have a child. That child is now in the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM).
I know of at least one couple who had agreed--after having one abortion--that they would have a child. They planned to get pregnant, and did--and then, when the leadership came down on them hard, the husband cracked under the pressure, and turned on his wife, and demanded she get an abortion. Why she didn't leave him, I don't know--but she had the abortion, years later had children, and told me the whole sorry story one night. As far as I know, she and her husband are still in.
Marriages foundered and broke up over abortion: Many, many women wanted to have children, but husbands were far more likely to toe the party line.
Our Second Pregnancy
When I became pregnant a second time, in 1983, that was the most planned pregnancy in the history of pregnancy. My husband Ken and I had decided that it was time to have a baby, and that was that.
Our first step was to call LaRouche (in Wiesbaden, Germany at the time) and inform him that we were pregnant and, in Ken's words, "We're having this baby." That was the first thing said in the conversation, so it kind of hamstrung Lyn.
As a result, because Lyn will never confront someone to his or her face (Lyn is far too much of a coward, psychologically and intellectually), he--Lyn--started lecturing me about not eating too much salt, about natural childbirth training, Lamaze, you name it. It was absurd--the man has to be an expert on everything--but it was all he could muster, since he certainly didn't intend to argue with us.
Who knows what he told the NEC? Most likely, following his normal pattern, he was conciliatory to us in direct contact, but told the NEC behind our backs to go get us. They certainly tried to.
One of the things that made Ken's and my decision an especially big deal is that by the time we got pregnant, we were both members of the National Committee (NC) [a leadership body subordinate to the NEC--ed.], and for an NC couple to have a baby was unheard-of, and could set a disastrous precedent (which, it turns out, it did).
Now, curiously, there were National Executive Committee children--the Spannauses, both NEC members in those days, had two; Uwe Henke had two, but since his wife was not really a member, perhaps that was considered "okay"; Gus Axios (Konstandinos Kalimtgis) had two, but his wife was not a member, so...
It did seem a little odd that NEC members were having children while couples at lower levels in the org were being dragged to abortionists, but no one questioned it.
As I said, Ken and I told Lyn before telling anyone else in the organization. We naively thought that would buy us some protection from the NEC, but we were wrong.
Days after Nancy Spannaus found out, she invited Ken and me "to dinner." Now, going to dinner at Nancy's and Ed's always meant that you were about to be targeted for a psychological intervention or hideous deployment, in other words, an evening of some kind of torture or other. So Ken and I knew exactly what the point of this "dinner party" was.
I remember Ken in our New York apartment, on the phone with Nancy: "We'll come, but we're having this baby, so don't get your coat hanger out."
Nancy didn't disappoint us in her single-mindedness that evening. When we arrived at their house, we found that there was another organization "power couple" there--the man on the NEC, the woman on the NC.
The entire evening revolved around those four people--Ed, Nancy, and the other two--trying to convince us to have an abortion.
We were told that Plato didn't believe in generating children of the body, but children of the mind. Aside from the fact that Socrates had children, this was about as malevolent as you can get--invoking Plato to try to stampede someone into aborting a baby.
We were told that I shouldn't be having kids; I should be working harder as an NC member. We were told that we were in the trenches, and no one had time for kids. We were in a war. We were on the frontlines. We were etc. etc.
Dialogue on 58th Street
A week or two later, Nancy dragged me out to a coffee shop--Circle West, on the same street as the National Office (West 58th Street in Manhattan)--to revisit the question.
Among our exchanges at that discussion:
Nancy: "You're like me. Too soft on the enemy."
Molly: "What enemy? This baby isn't the enemy, Nancy."
Nancy: "If I hadn't had kids, I could have been more like Helga [LaRouche's wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche--ed.]."
Molly: "But Nancy, you love your kids. And besides, who wants to be more like Helga?"
(In retrospect, I realize that this Helga remark reflects Nancy's deep and abiding obsession with Lyn. Go figure.)
The truest thing Nancy said in the discussion was, "If you have a child, your priorities will change." She could not have been more right.
In the ensuing months, I got a lot of heat from a lot of people, culminating in the performance of Will Wertz, after he came to New York from California in December 1983, to "help with the fundraising." He certainly helped--by the time he was done, a few years later, much of the NEC and much of the fundraising "phone team" was headed to prison.
Will tried to get me thrown off the NC for being pregnant. He did succeed in getting me thrown out of Operations, where I was one of the NC members--and moved back to Editorial, with Nancy as my NEC overseer.
After my son was born in May 1984, the floodgates opened--other members began getting pregnant.
But the rate of pregnancies and adoptions soared in 1989, as soon as LaRouche was packed off to Federal prison for his richly deserved stint there. In the following year (1989-1990), seven babies were born to members in the Leesburg National Office, and a comparable number adopted by members there--quite a percentage, considering there were only about 150 people in the "NCR" (National Center).
But those births, and more that followed, were nothing compared to the mountains of aborted babies piled high by the LaRouche organization over decades--a bloody hecatomb to the LaRouche organization's very own Lord of the Flies.
Beating Up the Women
The slaughter of all those babies over the years was, among many other things, an aspect of LaRouche's extraordinary misogyny. At the same time that women in the New York National Office were going virtually weekly to have abortions, they were also getting beaten up regularly by their husbands.
This was considered a mark of a psychological breakthrough on the husband's part, brought about, in the case of NEC members, by Lyn's Saturday night Beyond Psychoanalysis "sessions" with the NEC, and in the case of lower-level members, by the sessions the individual NEC members ran with them.
Thus, one of the female NCs had her arm broken by her husband, an NEC member. A female NEC member (OFL, in fact) was given two black eyes by her husband (also an NEC member). And so forth and so on. I can't even remember the number of women who came into the office with black eyes or bruises.
I was never one of these abused women. In this way, as in so many others, Ken stood apart from the inhumanity inside the NCLC. Ken was never brutal, even though for much of his life in the organization he was a loyal follower. Ken's kindnesses, which many people will remember, are one reason that LaRouche, who demanded total obedience from his followers and demanded that they participate in his own viciousness and cruelty, came to hate Ken, harassed and attacked him, and finally suggested--on April 11, 2007 in the morning briefing--that he commit suicide. Which Ken did, on April 11, 2007, minutes after reading that morning briefing.