Updated: May 18, 2021
“In childhood all my love went to my mother; my love for my mother was a thing apart. It was rooted in my blood and my bones.” Did you know that writer Pearl S. Buck, the first woman to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Noble Prize in Literature was against abortion? As the mother of a daughter with severe mental retardation due to Phenylketonuria, she expressed gratitude for the lesson learned from loving a child with disabilities and said, “My child’s life has not been meaningless.” Buck believed that every child deserved to live and be a part of a family. In her forward to The Terrible Choice by Robert Cooke at al, Buck wrote:
At what point should we allow this choice? For me the answer is – at no point, once life has begun. At no point, I repeat, either as life begins or as life ends, for we who as human beings cannot, for our own safety, be allowed to choose death, life being all we know”.
Having spent the first half of her life in China and being the mother of seven adopted children from Asia, Europe and the United States, Buck began The East and West Association in 1941 to raise awareness of racial intolerance against Asian-Americans. In 1949, she opened the Welcome House, an adoption agency that placed parentless Asian American children with loving families regardless of parental race, a practice not accepted at the time. In 1964, she created the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to address childhood poverty and discrimination and with her estate, provided for Pearl S. Buck International, a child-sponsorship organization still in operation today.
Buck’s humanitarian work also included opposition to nuclear weapons and war through the International League of Peace and Freedom and support for the original Equal Rights Amendment.