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The power of words to disguise the brutality of abortion

by | Aug 16, 2019

By Dave Andrusko

When I was cleaning up my office today, I found two old VHS [!] videos. Both were theatre productions of famous Shakespearean plays from the 1980s: “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

Bear with me for a second, this will make sense. “What’s in a name” is, of course, part of what Juliet famously said to Romeo. The remainder is, “That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Juliet’s point is that it makes no difference that Romeo has a different name (he is a Montague, she is a Capulet). She loves him, not his [family] name.

Not so long ago, Gallup put out this amazing poll (well, amazing to me, at least). It addressed the great difference there is in the public’s confidence level, depending on which descriptors you use when talking about post-high school education.

Gallup’s Brandon Busteed and Frank Newport begin their analysis with this:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Different words used to describe higher education evoke different confidence ratings among U.S. adults. Americans are considerably more likely to say they have a great deal of confidence in “higher education” than in “colleges and universities.”

How about a whopping 13 point difference!

Gallup reports that 36% express confidence in “higher education” to only 23% who express confidence in “colleges and universities.” [“Public confidence in ‘community colleges’ and ‘postsecondary education’ falls between these other two terms.”]

We won’t take the time to examine in depth Gallup’s hypotheses to explain the gap. They try to take into account political affiliation, education, and the like. For what it’s worth, I find persuasive an explanation Gallup offers as kind of a throwaway:

Or that the more general term “higher education” connotes the positive goal of gaining more knowledge, while the more specific “colleges and universities” has more negative connections related to specific institutions and specific practices.

Which brings us to descriptors and the abortion issue. The following may seem obvious to those of us who’ve been in this fight for decades, but it is less so to those newer to the battle.

“Fetus”; “Choice”; “Autonomy”; “Reproductive rights/Reproductive Health; “Fake clinics” (women helping centers); “Essentially a miscarriage” or “heavy period” (chemical abortions); “inflammatory descriptions” (explaining what happens in a dismemberment abortion), and so on and so on.

All of these descriptors are intended to distance the listener from what is being done and to whom at the same time those who insist on accuracy (us) are dismissed as rabble-rousers.

A “fetus” vaguely reminds you of something you read in a high school Latin class text. By stark contrast, an unborn baby is not an abstraction but somebody (and this is key) you can identify with.

This is the linchpin of all pro-abortion rhetoric, from the most primitive to the stealthiest. You should only talk about the mother/her choice/her autonomy, etc., because there really is no other party. Just a “product of conception,” undifferentiated masses of “uterine matter.”

This allows you to pretend you are not killing an unborn child who will safely enter the world, if left alone. You are (as they used to say a lot) merely “restoring the menses.”

Would this work? If someone shoots his/her spouse in the head, is he/she “restoring singleness”? I’m guessing not.

Abortion is ugly. Everything about abortion is grotesque. Faced squarely, even thinking about abortion turns the stomach.

Euphemisms of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but honesty and intellectual and moral integrity.

Categories: Abortion
Tags: abortion