By Judie Brown
The challenge of speaking to America about the horrific nature of abortion became obvious once again when, a few days ago, the Washington Post published an article entitled "A Hard Choice." The subtitle, "A young medical student tries to decide if she has what it takes to join the diminishing ranks of abortion providers" gives the plot away.
The thing that struck me about the article, and an analysis of it published the following day by LifeSiteNews.com, was the incredible detachment some people have with the preborn child. I don't mean this as a criticism, but merely an observation.
For example, medical student Lesley Wojick had witnessed a couple of abortions, and then chose to observe yet another. She expresses several things that should alarm those of us who are dedicated to these children and to defending their personhood. Wojick said, "It was definitely gruesome….You could make out what a fetus could look like, tiny feet, lungs, but it didn't look like a person."
Keep in mind that the preborn baby in question was 14 weeks gestational age, and don't forget that Wojick identified the baby's feet, and did say as the doctor who committed the abortion was counting the body parts, that to her those parts looked "doll like."
She did not move on to the logical conclusion that the baby was a person.
The article continues,
She herself expected to be very upset. She'd felt that way at her first autopsy, that of a teenage boy who'd shot himself in the head. For weeks, she could not shake the image of the boy. But this was different. She didn't regard the fetus as a person yet. She said she was happy to help the woman: "I feel like I was giving [her] a new lease" on life.
The words are distant, they are removed from the reality of what happened in that surgical suite, and they are cruel. Yet they are the feelings of a young woman who witnessed a murder and chose to deny that this is what she saw with her own two eyes. To me that says a lot about where the culture is when it comes to entire idea of aborting a child and choosing to intellectually define that act as a "surgical procedure."
The child's arms and legs were "doll like." Obviously, for Wojick, and I dare say millions of Americans, the child might have had the possibility of becoming a person like Wojick at some point, but not yet, at least not in this case.
She didn't regard the fetus as a person yet. Wojick's opinion of what abortion does to a child is devoid of all recognition that a cruel and inhumane act has occurred. She views abortion as a good thing for the woman [mother] who does not wish to be pregnant at the time. Note that she tells the reporter that the abortion gave the woman [mother] who had the abortion a new lease on life.
Finally, even though Wojick chose, at the end of her journey, to do something else with her medical training other than perform surgical abortion, she did remain part of Medical Students for Choice. She said she still believed passionately in abortion rights but could not become an abortionist.
As inconceivable as this story might sound to you and to me, we have to face the fact that for the majority of people in our culture, the reality is that Americans think about abortion in terms of personal rights, not death. They don't think of the result of the abortion as a dead baby.
In fact, thanks in no small part to the many even within our movement who use that phrase "pro-choice" with abandon and never describe the aborted woman as a mother; the language becomes less and less realistic with the passing of each day.
When asked about this Washington Post article, pro-life leader Georgette Forney of Silent No More, told LifeSiteNews.com, "Everybody likes to talk theory, everybody likes to talk politics and politicians, but abortion doesn't happen to the politician, it doesn't happen in the Supreme Court - it happens in a clinic to a woman, and that woman's voice is the one we need to hear from."
While I understand Forney's concern and her pain as someone who suffered an abortion herself, I also realize that what she says compounds the problem I have just pointed out. Abortion happens to a baby and that baby dies. The mother of that baby has become the mother of a dead baby. What we need to hear from those mothers who chose death for their children is that they subsequently realized that what they did was wrong.
Our language is one of the best tools we have for changing hearts and minds; for touching the very soul of those who are insensitive to what abortion does to children. If we don't carefully choose our own words, then we surrender the platform of public education to the very people, ideas, and actions we so adamantly oppose.
This is not a criticism; it happens to be the truth. Parsing words versus counting body parts … that's what abortion is really all about in America in 2008.
Let's be honest, let's be blunt, let's save the babies.
Lest I close on a negative note, let me express my hope that anyone who reads this commentary and wants to see the best tool for saving those babies from death and those mothers from misery is the DVD Baby Steps. It brings to life that little one whose precious identity has gotten lost in a sea of words.
Let's be honest, let's be blunt, let's teach truth, let's save the babies.
Judie Brown is president of American Life League and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.