Thirty years ago on this day, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the writers of the U.S. Constitution intended for citizens to have a right to terminate a baby inside the womb. The justices opted for the clinical-sounding term advanced by abortion advocates, “fetus,” which is Latin for “baby,” and in two court decisions they effectively eliminated the right of elected state legislatures to prohibit the practice. The plaintiff in the more famous of these cases, the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade, has since denounced the practice of abortion, and embraced Christ. Abortion clinic workers are fond of wearing buttons that say, “trust women.” I assume this does not extend to Norma McCovey.
In the intervening thirty years, roughly forty million abortions have been performed in the United States. This number should give pause to even the staunchest abortion-rights advocate. He should also pause in the face of two additional facts: 1) mothers who see their babies on ultrasounds are less likely to abort than those who do not have ultrasounds; and, 2) abortionists refuse to ask their clients to have ultrasounds. (Note: The pronoun gender in the previous sentence is grammatically and descriptively correct; young single men are the demographic group most thoroughly in favor of abortion.)
If abortion advocates are wrong, they are complicit in the murder of 40 million children. If abortion opponents are wrong, they are complicit in the rescue of 40 million children who by some metric were better off dead, or whose claims to life were outweighed by the desires of their mothers to be free from caring for them. An error by the latter group imposes stark inconvenience and some health risk, both of which can be mitigated; an error by the former imposes mind-boggling infanticide.
Americans rightly have presumptions and measures to protect life in instances of uncertainty. A man must be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before being sentenced to death for murder. We require independently verified written consent before honoring someone’s “do not resuscitate” request. We require assessment and proof from family and psychologists before committing someone to an asylum.
In the area of abortion, however, we are willing to make a presumption that the advocates are correct, despite the implications of being wrong, despite the growing evidence that babies from the earliest weeks are sentient beings, despite the reality that women with complete information and other options overwhelmingly choose not to abort.
We do this for the sake of convenience, and because too many of us are cowed by the screeches of self-anointed advocates of women’s health and rights — people who know little about the full meaning of womanhood, who obfuscate the evidence that abortion is harmful to the mental and physical health of the women they claim to represent, and who cannot state a case for this manufactured right that extends beyond their narrow view of female happiness and entitlement.
If community has any meaning, then every one of us who has ever sanctioned this act is guilty of bloodshed. Every one of us who calls himself a Christian, but who has failed to speak out against this evil, and to offer comfort and support to women who feel driven to such an act, every one of us is guilty too. Perhaps ours is a greater affront to God, because we carry the responsibility to bring truth and light into a darkened world. By turning our backs on mothers in need, we fail at both.
Forty million, and counting.