The aborted baby of Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen

By Jonathon Van Maren

About a month before he died, I wrote a column on the primitive power of Montreal troubadour Leonard Cohen’s poetry and the strong anti-abortion sentiment that coursed through much of his writing. Especially as he grew older, Cohen also seemed to grow disillusioned with the sexual revolution and the broken hearts and emotional rubble it left behind. Cohen, like so many of the literary elites who came of age in the 1960s, gorged himself on the forbidden fruit with gusto, and so he knew of what he wrote. Free love, as one writer noted, is generally the enemy of true love.

I wondered at the time whether Cohen had any personal experiences with abortion —  his lines on the subject are in many places too visceral to be speculative, especially the blunt position laid out in the lyrics of The Future, released in 1992:

Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby:
it is murder. 


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