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Q. Do you support abortion after birth?
A. It’s always a woman’s right to choose.
Q. So I can kill my two-year-old?
A. It’s her choice.
Q. At any point in a child’s life?
A. It’s a woman’s right to choose.
The above is from a short clip from an on-the-street interview with a pro-abortion protester. The video conveys the obvious sincerity and conviction of the protester.
The interview was conducted by LiveAction (a pro-life organization) and so it was probably deceptively edited because that’s always true of those pro-lifers, innit? They are so darned clever at snipping out phrases, the ones which, left in, would’ve let that woman sound obviously sane and completely convincing — how do they do it?
Maybe this time around they just chose an unusually unintelligent and inarticulate abortion rights activist, out of a number of more nuanced and representative interviews, and posted hers to make the whole crowd sound dumb?
Still, what is the essential difference between this woman’s remarks and the testimony offered by what we might call a high-ranking and obviously intelligent abortion rights activist questioned this week before Congress?
Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, stating the obvious — that it is not lawful and morally acceptable to take the life of a child at 10 — asked abortion advocate Aimee Arrambide “what is the principal distinction between the human being that is two years old, or nine months old, or an hour old, than one that is eight inches further up the birth canal in the uterus?”
Arrambide paused. Then: “I trust people to determine what to do with their own bodies. Full stop.”
What is it, exactly, that the woman has determined when she determines to have abortion done with her body? It is a medical procedure that is perfectly and totally okay: decent and virtuous, it is healthcare and healthy and normal…But it must not be publicly described. To do so — to describe it — is “inflammatory.”
Ah well. The practitioners of many medical specialties politely hold their tongues at dinner parties: Who really wants to hear, over a plateful of bolognese, about a bowel resection; share a plate of Buffalo wings with an orthopedic surgeon who peeled apart an elderly woman’s gluteal muscles so he could yank her femur out of its socket? Heck, I’m just a chaplain, and I have to be sensitive about what sorts of details “normal people” might want to know about the body of the drowning victim I helped recover last month.
Nonetheless, if I were testifying before Congress about the effect of prolonged immersion on the human body, I would not wax indignant should my interlocutor ask me whether de-gloving is a feature. I would describe it — all of it — without the slightest fear of “inflaming” public sentiment against the work I do.
Yashica Robinson, M.D. announced, “I am a physician and a proud abortion provider. There is nothing that you can say that makes it difficult for me to talk about the care that I provide.” And then went on to not talk about it, a move that was interpreted by the mainstream media as righteous disdain for the White Men who dared bring up the subject. None —a t least that I came across—were inclined to provide their readers with the details that Dr. Robinson withheld.
“White Men,” by this time, surely ought to be plainly understood as a signal that the facts do not favor the arguments of those who take refuge behind the epithet. After all, Ms. Arrambide had also affirmed, during the same hearings, that men can get pregnant — presumably, that includes white ones. Men must now be allowed to have an opinion, or at least raise questions, about abortion.
Meh. Like “racist,” “transphobe,” “white supremacist” and “misogynist,” none of it means much more than “shut up.” And I won’t.
Forget all that: I’ll simply confess: I don’t get Yashica Robinson, M.D. or her colleagues—these young, hip, obviously educated women. I don’t understand them.
An orthopedic surgeon planning to dismantle and then reassemble my husband’s hip casually described the procedure to me, and I thought I’d pass out. I loved the hip and its owner and what he described was a dramatic and unsettlingly violent procedure. However, the end-result was intended to be (and was, thank him and God) life-giving. I knew this, my husband knew it, the doctor knew it: It was not difficult for him to talk about the care that he provided.
As with hip replacement surgery, the recovery of a dead body can be a strenuous and clumsy thing, and from the outside, it might not look like love. Still, it is love. I have even held and touched the bodies, heavy-in-death, of dead children: A small human form should arouse in adults a strong instinct to protect, nurture, comfort. Speaking for myself, they do—even when they are decomposed or otherwise damaged, beyond all the repair available this side of heaven.
Abortion providers encourage us to pretend that abortion is just about a blob of undifferentiated cells. She’ll use euphemisms, like “product of conception” and “contents of the uterus.” But the provider herself — Dr. Robinson, say — knows that when she begins her procedure, the baby is alive. She must grasp the little arms and legs and ribcages, tear them loose, drag them forth, hold them in her hands. She must gaze into the faces, see the little eyes, the nose, the whorl of the hair already growing on the crown of the crushed head.
I’m not saying she’ll catch a glimpse of these in passing, I’m saying it is part her job to examine them. To manipulate, assemble and count the pieces, to make sure nothing remains behind, to make sure the perfect whole has been successfully killed, successfully extracted. How can she?
How can she look at an unborn fetus kicking on an ultrasound screen — the same image that surely moves any normal human being to tender wonder — and see not a member of her own human family, but the target for her instruments? How can she not recoil at the thought that the fetus could feel pain as she crushes and tears him to pieces? I don’t get it.
This is a violent act — strenuous, even. One of the abortion providers caught on the (deceptively edited) Planned Parenthood tapes laughed about having to go to the gym to build up her biceps so as to have the strength required to pull a fetal thigh from its socket.
Like Yashica Robinson, that doctor didn’t look like a sadist. She looked like any nice young woman I might encounter at the YMCA, each of us going through our strength-training routines, building the same muscles for different purposes.
Do not all the atrocities of human history become wholly comprehensible in the light of this? What more evidence do any of us need for the existence of our original and ineradicable sin, our desperate need for forgiveness and grace?Published in