Abortion ≠ “great”
Recently on the website In These Times, writer Sady Doyle comes right out and says it: “I like abortion.”
Lest anyone think Doyle is being taken out of context, consider that the title of her article is, “Abortion Isn’t a Necessary Evil. It’s Great,” and the subtitle is, “Progressives should admit it: We like abortion.”
This comes on the heels of Janet Harris’ widely shared Washington Post column, “Stop Calling Abortion a Difficult Decision.”
To no one’s surprise, Slate (“My Year As an Abortion Doula”) and HuffPo have also recently had their own Let’s-present-abortion-as-sympathetically-as-we-possibly-can articles. And, very revealingly, America’s leading How to Get Used by a Man Manual—namely, Cosmo—has really been ratcheting up its cheerleading for abortion in 2014.
Writing at The Federalist, Dr. Rachel Lu has a must-read article responding to this recent spate of pro-choice—nay, pro-abortion—articles in which she notes:
An abortion story has an intrinsic narrative problem. Here’s the thing: an abortion just can’t be a happy or inspiring event. The best you can shoot for is boring, portraying the abortion as an event no more noteworthy than a haircut or, at worst, an appendectomy. But if it’s emotionally significant at all, its importance is negative. If there were a convincing way to glamorize the killing of the unborn, Hollywood would have found it already.
But most abortion stories are not exactly boring. They’re just extremely, extremely sad.
Lu also writes:
The object of the abortion story is (ostensibly) to move beyond this bare assertion of rights. Abortion supporters want us to accept that abortion can be a good, right, and reasonable choice, even for people who are not, for example, in the midst of life-threatening pregnancies.
Writing at First Things, Wesley Smith makes a prediction:
I expect that in the coming years abortion rights supporters will execute a tactical retreat that admits the humanity of the unborn, conjoined with a strong counter-offensive dismissing the moral relevance of that biological fact. What matters, advocates will increasingly assert, is the state’s guarantee that women’s reproductive desires are fulfilled—with abortion viewed as a positively good way of doing so. Pro-lifers had better quickly discern how to counter the new candidly explicit pro-abortion advocacy.
Smith’s use of the phrase “candidly explicitly pro-abortion advocacy” is on the mark. But at the same time, I’m not sure how novel it is.
An uptick? Yes. But totally new? Not quite.
From the Fringes to the Mainstream
We’ve seen counter-demonstrators show up at our events with “Abortion on demand and without apology” signs for several years. And in their more candid moments, even some abortion providers themselves have, under the cover of anonymity, admitted for some time now that they are emphatically “pro-abortion,” and even that they “love”—yes, “love”—abortion.
What is new, however, is that such sentiments were formerly expressed only on the fringes of the pro-abortion-choice movement, but they are now becoming mainstream. Once again, to quote Dr. Lu:
Safe, legal, and rare is so 20 years ago. Now we’ve moved on to the in-your-face, “I wanted my baby dead and what do you have to say about it” phase.
Nothing Elicits Sympathy Like Pictures of the Victims
To be sure, logic and intellectually solid pro-life argumentation have a key role to play in responding to the increasingly common phenomenon of The Sympathetic Abortion Story and the mainstreaming of unapologetically pro-abortion rhetoric.
But so too, let us not forget that now more than ever, the pictures of actual abortion victims are indispensable to our pro-life efforts.
Our opponents want the average person to think of abortion not just as something to be tolerated, but as something good. Needless to say, they definitely don’t want people to think about the unborn babies who are victimized by abortion. Indeed, they don’t want people to think abortion has any victims in the first place.
Which is precisely why we must continue to show the pictures of abortion victims in the public square, for nothing elicits sympathy like pictures of the victims of injustice.
The pro-abortion-choice movement will continue to re-exploit women who have had abortions by giving them a platform to tell their unspeakably sad stories, all in an attempt to make us forget that every abortion takes the life of a baby.
We, for our part, won’t let them get away with it, and we will continue to show pictures of the victims whose lives are taken so violently—the only baby pictures they will ever have.