Category Archives: Life

Three Kinds of Tragedy

I know women who aborted because their ob/gyn’s discovered that the babies they carried were afflicted with fatal problems. Perhaps the babies would only suffer if they allowed their pregnancies to run their course. At any rate, they were advised by trusted medical professionals that the best course would be to terminate.

Some women in the same circumstance choose not to terminate, and to see the babies through their short lives to natural death. Both decisions are made in a medical facility, usually a hospital; and the women are served by obstetricians in whom they have confidence.

The deaths of all their babies are utterly tragic. It is not for me to presume to comment on their experience except to express sympathy.

But the loss of some babies may be tragic in a second manner. A medical culture which is dubious about the humanity of the fetus may offer termination as a panacea, and women in such dire places may grasp for any solution which seems least painful–for themselves and their children. Here too, I have only sympathy.

If that culture says we should cut our losses and try again, is that same culture likely to do all it can to seek saving solutions for the babies? If it does not, those losses are doubly tragic.

That’s the problem. If the default of our society is to err on the side of death in order to solve our problems, and women are confronted with life-and-death decisions when they are at their most vulnerable…death becomes the predetermined result.

A third kind of tragedy is the Planned Parenthood vision of abortion-on-demand. This kind of tragedy is wholly different from the others. In that universe, the fetus is probably not human, it’s not a baby. We are not supposed to really care because it’s beside the point. The only point is the sacred right of women to avail themselves of their services, at cost. All other claims are moot.

Then those women, much more so their children, become victims of opportunistic corporate interests and relentless political interests. The best and most well-meaning solution that such a society can offer is death as panacea.

Such a value system is inadequate to meet the needs of real life. In real life, we are faced with unanticipated pressures and less than perfect decisions have to be made. If the overarching goal in the face of the unexpected is to get back to our comfort and our plans, no matter what the damage, those decisions will be brutal.

A Planned Parenthood culture which denies the humanity and the rights of the pre-born cannot recognize the loss that these women feel; it cannot admit that their loss is legitimate.

So imagine being a woman who has an abortion in her past, who isn’t stridently happy about it. Maybe she was OK with it at the time, believing it was necessary though unfortunate, and maybe she has regrets now. Or maybe she was one of those who was advised to terminate by a trusted medical professional, and she has grieved over the loss of a hoped-for child. In either or any case, those women have suffered loss. Yet our abortion- friendly culture cannot allow them to fully acknowledge their loss.

That is tragic. I cannot fathom how women who have suffered through the first kind of tragedy are not outraged at the presumptuous manner by which Planned Parenthood uses their losses to promote itself.

What PP actually does is to establish societal acceptance for, create the need for, then be the primary provider for elective abortion. What many, many abortive women have experienced–that their abortions were tragedies–is not equivalent to what PP does. They are worlds apart.

Humble Imposition

Many women rebel against the idea that they are obligated to carry and birth a child they have conceived. Witness the current pro-abortion twitter fad on this subject: an embryo is an invader which we are justified in killing in self defense; violent retaliation is a right; no government nor man has the right to force birth upon a woman.

I’ve given birth several times so I won’t surprise you by saying that I think that line of reasoning is childish and frightening.

But whence comes this trouble, these heavy trials women must endure? Why in particular is childbirth such a horror?  I have borne several babies and I say this: we should never minimize carrying nor bearing a child.

If we go back to its troublesome origin, we must go all the way back to Eden and the fall of mankind. In Masaccio’s fresco on this subject, Adam and Eve have been ousted from paradise and thrust into a troubled world in which they must struggle and suffer. That they understand their own culpability does not lessen their grief.

Look at their faces. They are heartbroken and incredulous that their perfect, intimate relationship with their Creator is now estranged. They seem cast outside of their Father’s bosom like a child thrown on the streets.

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Yet their estrangement was not rejection. The seeds of redemption were within the bodies of the ones cast out of Eden. There would be total restoration; the Savior of mankind would come from their progeny’s bodies, and He would crush the devil who hated them and their God. That blessing was an expression of fatherly love.

The catch was that they would have to strive and suffer and work, and die before they would see the restoration. Adam would work himself to death in providing sustenance for his family. Eve would bear children in anguish and pain.

A simple story. It’s true and glorious. Notice this: it really is a burden to carry a child.

Every pregnant woman feels it if only for a few minutes: the shock that you will have no choice but to go through childbirth. It’s something that will happen to you, like it or not. There is panic for a moment.

So I understand that impulse to draw back from the huge burden of carrying another person, from going through childbirth in order to bring her into the world.

It really is humbling to be burdened with the responsibility of another’s life. You watch helplessly as your body goes through an incredible transformation and some of the changes are unwelcome. Childbirth is sublime but also as gritty as it gets.

It’s the first signal that your life is no longer your own. Your whole being will be stretched so far out of shape that you will never spring back to your old normal. Your life has changed. Your priorities are upside down. Your center is no longer you.

But isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t becoming an adult essentially the acceptance of the responsibility to put others before oneself? Philosophically and practically, when we take on the well-being of dependents, we have become actualized people.

As most women throughout human history have learned, the burden is worth bearing. The result is lasting joy and the pain is all but forgotten.

It is sad that there are so many women ready to agitate for the idea that any burden thrust upon them, no matter how tiny and defenseless the nature of the imposer, is too outrageous for them to be expected to bear. That we may not expect a woman to sacrifice one iota for another, no matter that that other was meant to be her particular and precious responsibility to nurture.

The imposition is the most weighty there is; the bearing is as close as we get to mortality even as we give life. Such a burden could only be a privilege. It is a gift not to be refused.

Abortion in the Mirror

The case against abortion rightly focuses on the harm to the unborn. But what does the abortion culture do to us?

It desensitizes us. I hardly need illustrate this point. A comedienne recently downright celebrated abortion via patriotic parody on Netflix. Basically nice people put on vagina hats, put vagina hats on their minor female kids, march them along to protest in the streets, join the tribe, then go back to work and school and friendly society sure of their moral superiority while nurturing a constant state of rage against their family and friends who believe that life is a right belonging to all human beings.

It dehumanizes us. We keep our human status, but we lose the context for what it is to be human. We lose the criteria for deciding what being human is. We lose that because we trash it. We must, if we decide to create castes in which some humans are human and some are not. If personhood must be relative, then we will end by re-evaluating all persons, according to what scale I try not to imagine.

When we throw in with abortion culture and accept it as necessary, we turn ourselves into rank elitists.

Elitists because we have decided that we have the right to declare who is human and who is not, who is a person and who is not, who is “viable” and who is not. Viability is an arbitrary and ever-shifting goalpost if there ever was one. And if the doctor was incorrect about viability, he will often impose non-viability without prejudice. We decide who lives or dies.

Abortion culture makes us children.

When we grow up, we learn that things we didn’t plan for often happen. Sometimes we should have forseen the consequences of our actions, and sometimes unforseen things present themselves regardless of our actions. Whichever the case, we must meet life’s challenges, take responsibility, and make the best outcome we can, though perhaps no possible outcome is what we would have chosen. Life isn’t perfect.

The abortion culture has taught us that if we face a challenge that we find too great, or even too inconvenient, there is a panacea  which will take our circumstances right back to where they were before that interruption. No consequences are tolerated and if there are consequences we must be victims of an oppressor. Blame must be assigned. We have learned to expect life to clear itself up so we can get back to our comfort. It’s a childish perspective. The abortion culture infantalizes women and men.

Abortion culture relativizes killing. Is this killing? Some say no. Is this kind of killing justified? How can I make this killing OK? It’s a bad place to find ourselves.

A culture which endorses abortion is destroying itself. Proverbs 8:36 declares that there are many who love death: Those who hate me love death. That culture has put death on the menu. It has made death one essential option. And once we approve of death as a tool, an instrument of expedience, a means to an end, we cannot put it away. We give death a kind of life and it may have its way with us.

We’re Doomed

I’ve been on twitter today, commenting a lot, which is unusual. I have got myself in a “conversation”, if we can call a conversation a back-and-forth where you cannot see the comment before the last one and you don’t know what you’re responding to sometimes. Twitter isn’t designed for conversations but for gotchas.

Lila Rose tweeted about the poor baby that a celebrity male couple have adopted through surrogacy, and commented that she felt sympathy for the loss this child has already experienced. At one point I added,”Adopting a child who has lost parents is a noble act. Creating a child to be separated from its parents is the opposite of noble. Both types of children have suffered tragic losses but we should not inflict them.”

Oh my goodness. Among the usual suspects of replies one should expect in response to  such playbook issues, I also received replies which asserted the following:

The child is part of the mother’s body and she can do what she wants with it

After the child is born, she can still do what she wants with her property

A woman can donate her baby just as she can donate an organ

The baby is dependent on the mother’s body so yes it it her body

Until we have Brave New a World babies which are not dependent on the woman, women can do whatever the f they want with their babies

A baby is part of her body yes it is all science says so

I argued that neither children nor fetuses are possessions, nor slaves, but to no avail. I’m scared.