3 Mistakes Pro-Lifers Can Make That Could Ruin Our Recent Victories
The Spirit is moving. You can see it shifting the waters. In state after state, legislators are moving to offer a hand of friendship to our unborn brothers and sisters. They are paring back one, then another, mode of destroying preborn Americans for our sexual convenience. Forty-five long, lethal years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court justices hid like superstitious primitives behind a veil of pretended scientific ignorance. But technologies such as ultrasound are flooding that darkness with light. And the darkness comprehends it not. First one American, then another, is seeing in those frail, exquisite miniatures we discard by the thousands each day the precious image of God.
So let’s not blow it. The inventor and chief beneficiary of abortion is vastly more intelligent than we are. He was first among the angels. It took him thousands of years to sell this tissue of lies, beginning with the first pro-choice philosopher, the Marquis de Sade. (The idea sounded so outrageous then that Sade got tossed in prison.) With the infinite persistence of a vast, eternal spider, abortion’s father kept spinning.
And his dupes among our elites and in the media are spinning like crazy today, trying to make a return to human decency seem “extreme.” It’s our task to patiently and persuasively correct them. Here are some pitfalls we owe it to the least among our brothers to avoid.
Using the Enemy’s Language
Just to be clear: Our enemy isn’t pro-choicers. It’s Satan, the Father of Lies. Moloch, his celestial intellect now reduced to haunting medical waste dumpsters, and clouding the minds of half-educated reporters. We must avoid the Satanic euphemisms and pejoratives that now infect our discourse. For instance, it wasn’t helpful when National Review, of all places, headlined a story about the new Alabama law as follows: “Alabama Governor Signs Nation’s Most Restrictive Abortion Ban Into Law.” Presumably the headline writer himself or herself is pro-life. That’s staggering.
Imagine if Jezebel or Slate ran such a story with the headline: “Alabama Governor Sign’s Nation’s Most Protective Law for Unborn Children.” The outrage would be immediate, and some poor fool would lose his job. But we just shrug and move on, being used to Satanic language. The Black Speech gets drilled into us day and night. We must resist it, toss it back in the Enemy’s face.
I wrote a whole piece on this, helping the reader to retrain himself in non-infernal language when speaking of unborn children. But here’s an easy rule: Don’t use language about abortion laws that would shock you if people used it about spousal rape, hate crimes, or even dog-fighting. Can you imagine reporters speaking of “draconian” laws against men raping their wives? Or a “harsh ban” on cross-burnings? Would a piece that covered a law against fighting pit bulls to the death before cheering crowds spend a lot of time looking for “hard cases,” seeking out sympathetic dog-fighters who’d be “hurt worst by the ban”?
Succumbing to Wrath
I feel as strongly about this issue as almost anyone, I think. I have never written about it with eyes unclouded by tears. Some times in the middle of a cogent thought, I’ll simply break down sobbing. Spiritual writers call this the “gift of tears.” It’s an actual grace sent by God. Some things are so grim that it’s tempting to get jaded, if only to stave off exhaustion. And yes, I get angry. That has its place. Especially when directed at hypocrites, sell-outs, and liars in clerical collars.
But of all the passions, anger is perhaps the most beguiling. Especially righteous anger, whose cause is transparently just. Here the Enemy can wield our best intentions against us, and use them to serve his cause. Which, remember, is dead children, heart-broken and guilt-haunted women, and finally, souls in Hell.
I think that it’s righteous anger that drives some to grab at excessively harsh and counterproductive measures. Like the Texas bill that would punish women with prison for getting abortions. Yes, I see the logic there, but it doesn’t actually follow. And trying to drag us down that path will accomplish only one thing: abortion on demand, through all nine months of pregnancy, will stay legal in 50 states, forever. Given that this would happen, we can ask ourselves, cui bono? Who benefits from such talk? The author of abortion, who roams the earth to seek the ruin of souls.
Jason Jones and I wrote a detailed and careful discussion of this point. We did it in response to feminist Katha Pollitt, who thought she’d laid out for pro-lifers a list of unanswerable questions. We answered every one. Go read our answers. On the question of punishing women, we noted that no Anglo-Saxon law since 1066 ever punished women as murderers for getting abortions. The Common Law, in its wisdom, recognized pregnancy as a unique human condition. It’s wrong to claw back your bodily autonomy by paying some stranger to kill your child. But it’s also very different from shooting up a school. American law before Roe v. Wade always targeted abortionists. It’s hard to find a single case where mothers were punished at all.
On the other hand, it might seem … flippant to imprison or execute men like Kermit Gosnell (as we certainly should), but leave their clients with a slap on the back and a smile. The right response? Jason and I laid it out. The intimate union of mother and child is such that the law should treat women who sought out abortions like troubled souls who attempted suicide. Suicide isn’t legal, but no one goes to prison for it. We offer them help. But if some hitman offers to help? He goes to the cell or the scaffold. That’s a balanced approach.
Surrendering to Servility
It’s probably politically inevitable that we allow some narrow exception for rape. Everything about rape is miserable and regrettable. It’s a crime from the pit of Hell. We regret that any woman ever has to endure it. We regret that non-violent offenders suffer rape in our prisons all the time. (And comedians joke about it.) Most of all, we regret that many women would view a pregnancy caused by rape as an ongoing assault, and their child as an enemy. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t make such an exception, and we should work for a society where people wouldn’t demand it. We don’t impose the death penalty on rapists, and their unborn children certainly don’t deserve it.
That said, our world’s so imperfect, we don’t have a constituency for a no-exceptions pro-life law. So where we grant it, we must not be servile, cringing, or apologetic about it. We should treat this rape exception (and any medical exceptions) with all the gravity it deserves. The gravity, in fact, that we apply to “self-defense” justifications for homicide.
When someone claims that he killed in self-defense, no judge demands that the jury believe his story without any question, since “citizens don’t lie.” They certainly do. In the years before Roe v. Wade, well-off girls at schools like Radcliffe routinely told psychiatrists they’d commit suicide if they couldn’t get an abortion. And presto, they got a note from the doctor authorizing an abortion to “save the life of the mother.” As to false and opportunistic rape claims, I invite you to recall Julie Swetnick’s tales of teenage rape gangs that smeared Justice Kavanaugh.
Just like the self-defense justification for homicide, any rape exception would have to be drawn quite narrowly — lest it be widely abused, as self-defense claims were when white men shot black men in the Jim Crow South. There is no reason to permit any such abortion after the first trimester has ended, when the unborn child’s heart and brain are fully functioning. A police report must be filed. And false rape claims that name innocent men, of course, are punishable by law.
We shouldn’t be ashamed of demanding these minimal protections for unborn children from the wave of opportunistic, Swetnick-style lies and crocodile tears that could render their right to life meaningless. We should feel good about standing up for the innocent, and grieved that we can’t protect them all.