Monday, January 26, 2009

We need to get past the idea that it's that simple

Angele sent me this excellent article by Barbara Hollingsworth. But I have a bone to pick with something she says:

For 36 years, [March for Life participants have] been in a quixotic quest to convince Congress, the Supreme Court, and every administration since Richard Nixon's to protect the civil rights of unborn children even their own mothers don't want.

Hollingsworth's article, first of all, starts with Angele, and focuses on her story. And Angele didn't have an abortion because she didn't want her baby. She wanted her baby very much. But she faced a lot of pressure from other people who insisted that in her very trying circumstance, abortion was the only answer. Under the relentless onslaught of loved ones and experts pressing her to do what they saw as the responsible, reasonable, rational thing, Angele finally buckled. It's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting what Angele went through -- to say that Angele chose abortion. The choice was to capitulate to the combined wishes of those around her, and their choice was abortion. Angele's choice was more of an unchoice.

Angele isn't alone in having made the unchoice of abortion. Ashli McCall very much wanted her baby. But a debilitating illness, and doctors too careless or lazy to provide her with the real options she wanted, crushed her. She capitulated to the illness, to the staggering and cruel indifference of the professionals around her. Again, it's a gross oversimplification -- to the point of misrepresenting reality -- to say that Ashli chose abortion. Ashli made an unchoice.

David Reardon has looked extensively into the degree to which abortion is an un-choice, made not because the woman doesn't want her baby, but because pressures -- from circumstances, from loved ones, from doctors -- crushed their spirits until they cracked, and in doing so they capitulated to what society is built to channel them into. They were ground up in a machinery of death, just so much grist for the abortion mills.

I'll concede that there are some babies put to death in abortion facilities because their mothers don't want them. There are plenty of hardcore, militant, radical abortion advocates who are very in-your-face about the fact that the children they're aborting are seen as loathsome intruders. But I'll go out on a limb and postulate that these women who are aborting because of animosity toward the baby are in the minority.

And until we grasp that, there will be no way out of the quagmire. Prolifers will keep dismissing aborting women as selfish bitches who hate babies. Prochoicers will keep dismissing aborting women's anguish as simple buyers' remorse, on a par with wishing you'd not bought that big-screen TV on credit.

It seems that there's a huge area of common ground in the idea of limiting abortions to those women who really want them, who really don't want their babies.

Let's start there -- and see the abortion rate fall.

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