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Pro-abortionist not looking for the truth, looking for a win

by | Aug 21, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. My family will be on vacation through the end of next week. I will be posting an occasional new story, but for the most part we will be re-posting columns that ran over the last year. Many will be strictly educational while some will about remind us of notable victories this legislative cycle.

The first few times I was actually hesitant (well, sort of) to write about it. By “it” I mean pro-abortion commentary that was so far out to sea I feared people would think that to even talk about it would be like breaking a butterfly on a wheel—or worse, that I had to be misrepresenting what they were saying.

But the unhinged rantings, once confined to obscure websites, have made their way into the Big Time. The one we talked about most recently—written by Janet Harrissadwoman64, a former communications director for the pro-abortion PAC EMILY’s List —appeared in the Washington Post, no less. (See my first take at nrlc.cc/1miulmo, Wesley Smith’s perspective at nrlc.cc/1n6BztD, and Tim Graham’s at nrlc.cc/1BySGhz.)

“Stop calling abortion a ‘difficult’ choice” appeared last Sunday in the Post.

And that headline truly does capture the (hard) heart of Harris’ view.

She had an abortion and the only question was how quickly she could have one. Surely most women would be like Harris. Thus to express a sliver of doubt—let alone concede that there are a deep ethical and moral components—was not only feeding the enemy (that would be us, but in fact, it is the truth that is being starved), but also unnecessarily taking a defensive posture.

Click here to read the August issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

Even writers who say they are (basically) on our side but make a habit of finding fault with the Pro-Life Movement (usually for being “obsessed with abortion”) were moved to comment on Harris’ bridge-too-far tone-deaf diatribe. Here are some highlights from an excellent piece written by Michael Sean Winters for the National Catholic Report titled, “The Culture of Death on Display at WaPo.” (WaPo refers to the Washington Post.)

Winters offers this quote from Harris:

But there’s a more pernicious result when pro-choice advocates use such [“difficult decision”] language: It is a tacit acknowledgment that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue requiring an ethical debate. To say that deciding to have an abortion is a “hard choice” implies a debate about whether the fetus should live, thereby endowing it with a status of being. It puts the focus on the fetus rather than the woman. As a result, the question “What kind of future would the woman have as a result of an unwanted pregnancy?” gets sacrificed. By implying that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue, pro-choice advocates forfeit control of the discussion to anti-choice conservatives.

I wrote about this in passing, but Winters does a much more thorough job. He observes

There is so much that is frightening in that paragraph, it is difficult to know where to start. I am not sure where Ms. Harris was educated, but the assertion that abortion is not a moral issue at all is spectacularly ignorant of history, to say nothing of modern researches into the obviously human attributes of an unborn child. An argument that does not consider both the mother and the fetus is self-evidently, and in the event, self-servingly, turning a blind eye to one half of the equation, no? It is the logical equivalent of examining race relations but denying one race “the status of being” or any legitimate interest, let alone voice, in the matter. Needless to say, “what kind of future the unborn child will have” is not a question Mr. Harris is prepared to pose or answer.

Harris’s opinion piece read like a campaign playbook written for someone who has talked themselves into believing that if they are just “honest” enough, the voters will flock to them, rather than grow nauseous. But why not be unashamedly political if abortion is devoid of any substantive moral content? Winters adds perceptively

What is most chilling to me is that Harris seems to be encouraging women to deaden their conscience on behalf of a media strategy. She does not claim that abortion is a moral good. She does not make the case that abortion is good for the woman. Her argument is that even entertaining moral qualms is bad strategy. She is not looking for the truth, she is looking for a win, and woe to the person who gets in her way. Harris’ recitation of social science data to support her conclusion demonstrates nothing more than the limits of social science data: The fact that most women who have procured an abortion tell a pollster hired by the pro-choice industry that they “had high confidence in their decisions” could as easily be a measure of the hopelessness in which many young women, especially young and poor women, find themselves. Ah, but we can’t entertain that possibility as it might be evidence of a question, and Harris does not like pesky questions.

In his final paragraph, Winters draws several important conclusions:

Here, Harris unwittingly draws her own caricature. Unwilling to even admit the possibility that the unborn child might be a human person with dignity, she ends up denying her own dignity. If she thinks this is a strategy that will work, I would suggest that she is even more myopic than first thought. In the 70s, we were told that the personal is political. Now, it is the political that is personal. And that is a frightening specter for anyone, even if Harris does not seem to see the danger. The culture of death not only kills children and the elderly, it kills conscience too, indeed it kills all in its way.

Amen to that.

Categories: Abortion