Kathryn Lopez

Seventeen-year-old Scotty McCreery may have won "American Idol" singing wholesome country ditties, but playing in the background was a blues song older than the fresh-faced singer.

On lead vocals of this heart-wrenching ballad was Aerosmith frontman and Idol judge Steven Tyler. In his new autobiography, Tyler recalls an abortion he made his 16-year-old girlfriend have. He recalls: "It was a big crisis. It's a major thing when you're growing something with a woman, but they convinced us that it would never work out and would ruin our lives ... You go to the doctor and they put the needle in her belly and they squeeze the stuff in and you watch. And it comes out dead. I was pretty devastated. In my mind, I'm going, Jesus, what have I done?"

This story became a duet when the girl in question, Julia Holcomb, now the mother of six children and a practicing Catholic, told her side of the story, which differs from Tyler's. She writes: "He has talked of me as a sex object without any human dignity. I have made a point over these long years never to speak of him, yet he has repeatedly humiliated me in print with distortions of our time together. I do not understand why he has done this. It has been very painful."

The details of their testimonies do not match. She says the pregnancy wasn't entirely unplanned, that Tyler had thrown her birth-control pills away. She says that he pushed her to have the abortion.

Kevin Burke, who wrote a piece for National Review Online highlighting Tyler's abortion comments, wonders if the soft-porn treatment of his relationship with Holcomb is his "way to avoid the pain and reality of his role in the abortion."

This much we know: There was an abortion, and there are pain and regrets.

Reflecting on her troubled youth, Holcomb writes: "Our nation's young girls, especially those like me, who have experienced trauma and abuse, and are vulnerable to exploitation should not be used as sexual playthings, scarred by abortions to free their male partners from financial responsibility, and then like their unborn children, tossed aside as an unwanted object."

Our nation's boys, too, should know that abortion doesn't quite work like a delete button. Sex involves consequences, even when you're a rock star on the rise.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.