NRL News

A precarious “angle of repose” means opinions on abortion can be driven in a pro-life direction

by | Nov 29, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

Perhaps subconsciously we tend to think that opinions on abortion are essentially etched in stone. And it is true that many people do think they have their minds made up.

But I suspect in more cases than we imagine this is an illusion. Why do I say that? Because most people have not thought the issue through in any serious way. What they have is an inclination to which they cling to out of habit. Properly educated, they can be moved.

Let me explain by quoting a passage from author Philip Yancey in one of his fine books. Although it is about another subject, the basic insight is highly relevant to our discussion.

“In the mountains where I live, geologists and miners use the elegant term ‘angle of repose’ to describe the precise angle at which a boulder will rest on the side of a hill, rather than tumble downward. …Every so often one of these boulders breaks loose, releasing the potential energy in a crashing rockslide that permanently alters the landscape. Something similar happens in an avalanche, when an accumulation of tiny, almost weightless snowflakes breaks loose.”

That is how I see most people’s posture on abortion. Not dug in and immovable but precariously perched in a way that the slightest push can send it moving in a pro-life direction. Tremendous “potential energy” is then unleashed.

Years back, the long debate over partial-birth abortion permanently altered the interior landscape of many Americans. That sent them racing away from self-identifying as “pro-choice” and embracing pro-life. Even Gallup noticed.

More recently, the public has been exposed to the depravities of convicted murderer abortionist Kermit Gosnell. And, regardless of what abortion apologists insist, Gosnell, now serving three consecutive life sentences, is not one of a kind.

For still others, that shove will be something so awful it sucks the very air out of their lungs: that unborn babies are capable of experiencing pain by 20 weeks, if not earlier. Specifically (as NRLC described it), the realization

“that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy, on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed.”

It goes without saying, of course, that not everyone will react to the same set of facts or in the same way.

For example for others (many others) it may be a far gentler persuader. For instance, seeing an ultrasound picture of their baby–or any baby–becomes the final “snowflake” that sets off an avalanche of revulsion against abortion.

There is a reason pro-abortionists react so hysterically to passage of even the most limited, commonsense legislation. They understand (far better than we do, I suspect) that abortion’s “angle of repose” has always been precariously balanced.

But never more so than today.

Categories: Abortion
Tags: abortion