The Stigma of Abortion?

Roughly six months ago I started using  Twitter as a way to promote my writing. As a social media avenue, I find it both a bit mindless and incredibly interesting simultaneously. Mindless because of the sheer capacity of things people Tweet (for better or worse) and interesting because when things trend it’s an almost instant way to take the pulse of how people feel about a certain situation. When something meaningless like an awards show is trending I could care less. But when the topic of abortion is trending you better believe it gets my full attention. And no, not just because I’m Catholic and only capable of mindlessly agreeing with whatever Pope Francis tells me to think, but because the defense of abortion frightens me to the core for a number of reasons.

The first being that proponents of abortion are seen as civil rights crusaders, carrying the torch of Martin Luther King Jr., and ending the “stigma” of abortion. But I don’t get the back-slapping glee of those “brave” men and women who defend abortion and believe they have the moral high ground over “bigoted” Christians who insist on clinging to their outdated beliefs.  Because as a person who has actively protested abortion, the people I’ve encountered who also speak out against abortion (Christians included) do so not because they wish to condemn to hell the women who have had abortions.  In fact in the Catholic Church we will soon be entering the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mercy. As in Jesus has taken the punishment for your sins and mine, so there is hope for us all to live the life abundant with Him, not just in Heaven but now while we’re all still on earth.

No, the reason people speak out against abortion is because their conscience convicts them about the daily mass murder of innocent babies. The only way people justify abortion as a non-murderous act is to say that a baby is not a baby. They put conditions on conception and cloak the “procedure” in impersonal medical terminology. I don’t care if you are the best scientist in the world, you have no right to redefine the terms of life because you did not create it, only studied it from a distance. And the idea that I wasn’t a full creation in the womb, that I hadn’t earned the title of child until I had survived for six months (or whatever the subjective deadline is now) is a weak premise. If it were true then miscarriages would no longer be a tragedy and to live your belief in full you would have to tell women who experienced this particular tragedy (because in my mind it still is one) to get over it because they didn’t lose a baby but mere “fetal tissue”. They have no right to mourn the loss of the potential of a child that will never grace the earth, because it didn’t gain that potential until the six month period was over and “it” switched classification from an “it”/fetus to a “him or her”/child.  So I hope that if these people continue to believe this error that they don’t actually put their beliefs into practice.

And as to the champions of equality, both male and female, who show their support with hashtags such as #IstandwithPP and vehemently defend a woman’s right to chose whether or not she has a baby are missing half the issue at hand. They argue the rights of the woman at the expense of the rights of the unborn child with the basis of the argument ultimately being that one is deemed worthy of legal protection and the other is not on the basis of his projected dependence, the fact that he would require another person to survive and the person in question is unwilling to bear the burden. This is not justice. It is an unjust law. And the worst of it is that this injustice is perpetuated by a false and condescending compassion. “Well the mother would have had to quit college and instead raise her baby” or “the baby would have had a life of poverty with one or two less than desirable parents” or “the mother was a victim of rape how will mother and child cope with that?” because after all if you read Bad Feminism you’d know that sex without “consequences” (aka children) is now considered a right almost on par with free speech. And this right apparently trumps the right to life for the unborn which, ironically, would encompass their right to life, free speech, and now consequence-free sex if and only if they are lucky enough to be carried past that six-month deadline. In the meantime, however, harvesting their body parts is fair game. It’s disgusting. It is a crime against humanity. It is a sin. And it needs to stop. Now.

I don’t care what it does to infrastructure. I don’t care to hear the myth of overpopulation. And I will sigh audibly if you try to rebrand this argument against abortion as a baseless crusade against women’s reproductive health rights.  (I am a huge proponent of women’s health, but that is an entirely separate article that is currently being drafted, so bring your sparring gloves for round 2 if you want to go there.) Life is life. Life is the first right that begins at conception. And we cannot function as a society if we apply that right selectively and on a case-by-case basis. Because if we do that we will have no protection against what is ultimately the true function of abortion: to make sure only the “right” kind of people are granted the right to life.

And this practice, this playing God, and determining the quality of a person’s life before they are born, will expose the darkest, most selfish part of the human heart. We were not meant to wield that kind of power, and believing that we can handle it will open the floodgates to greater atrocities such as assisted suicide, euthanasia, and especially the increased abortions of those society deems unworthy, such as  the mentally ill, the physically or mentally handicapped, and those with disabilities. And once we start that who is to say we won’t push further? That someone won’t come forth with an agenda to eliminate those undesirables who may be obese or unathletic, or to target those races that are repopulating more quickly than others? I suspect these hypotheticals will probably be met with outrage. It offends a sense of trust in the human spirit, that good people would never sit idly by and let that happen. But it’s happening already, the discussion is already being had. And we need to stop this before it is too late to turn back.

Because honestly I do believe in the human capacity to do good. However, I also see an overwhelming pride that is almost unprecedented. A pride that blinds to truth and pretends to promote abortion in a spirit of fairness to all and as a woman’s vital health right, when in reality it’s promoted because it’s a convenient option to have in a prevalent “hook-up culture” as a safety against “ruining your life and your future with a child.” This is a selfish and irresponsible attitude, but I’m afraid that selfishness and irresponsibility have been handed down as the ultimate luxury, the thing my generation has been taught to aspire to, a life of ease and control where you answer to no one, not even God. And I can only hope my generation of millennials, us children of the 90s who are coming of age, will have  the wisdom to see that narrative as the lie that it is: the deceptively seductive path to a life of perpetual dissatisfaction and spiritual death.

And I hope we can once more see life as the gift that it is, and not a mere commodity.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, Larry Simms, Jimmy Hawkins, James Stewart, Donna Reed, Karolyn Grimes, 1946