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Even “pagans” reject infanticide

by | Sep 19, 2023

By Monica Snyder, Executive Director, Secular Pro-life

First Things, a conservative Catholic magazine, recently published “We Are Repaganizing” by Louise Perry. It is an eloquent article exploring possible relationships between abortion, euthanasia, and the decline of Christianity in Western civilization. A friend asked for my thoughts on the piece, which I’ve decided to reprint here:

I believe that humans, especially women, have evolved to feel deep empathy and connection toward newborns, especially our own newborns, and that we have not had an equivalent evolution toward embryos. I think that is in part because the processes for taking care of and sustaining an embryo are almost entirely automatic. Even the process for when something goes awry (miscarriage) is predominantly automatic. The mother doesn’t need will to complete these processes.

But once we birth our children, the processes for sustaining them require an extraordinary amount of willfully provided time and energy. We must have incentives to contribute that time and energy, or our species ceases to exist. I think that explains in part the instinct I feel to my core to protect babies, especially my own babies.

For those of us who oppose abortion, this asymmetric instinct is both good and bad news. The bad news is we are working to capture hearts and minds that don’t always instinctively recognize prenatal children as children. The good news is that, once people do recognize the fetus as a child, they have a much harder time comfortably supporting abortion.

We already know this is the case for most pro-choice Americans. Many argue that it doesn’t matter if the fetus is a person (a child) or not, because no person can use your body against your will. But it is not a coincidence that most of the people making this argument do not, in fact, view the fetus as a child. Once that changes, most reject the bodily rights justification without even blinking.

We see this rejection in the polls showing a steep drop in support for abortion as the woman’s pregnancy progresses. We see it in the white-knuckle desperate way pro-choice people refuse to acknowledge abortion of viable, healthy fetuses. When pro-abortion researchers showed pro-choice people After Tiller, a documentary attempting to normalize and defend later abortion, the researchers were disappointed to find that their subjects were more sympathetic to later abortion—but only for medical emergencies. When the story broke of Carla Foster, a UK woman who illegally aborted her 33-week daughter, pro-choice people reacted with horror: “I am pro-abortion. This was not an abortion. This was infanticide.

As our children develop from amorphous blastocyst to alien-like embryo to newborn-like fetus, the public’s willingness to accept abortion falters.

This is why influential abortion advocates hide in euphemisms and opaque technical language. See, for example, how ACOG’s language guide rejects the phrases elective abortion, partial birth abortion, dismemberment ban, and late-term abortion in favor of “abortion,” “intact dilation & evacuation,” “dilation & evacuation ban,” and “abortion later in pregnancy.” Or look no further than the now infamous Guardian article falsely claiming white-washed pulverized embryonic tissue is “what a pregnancy looks like.”

When we tie abortion to infanticide, most pro-choice people don’t reluctantly begin to accept infanticide; instead, they begin to reject abortion.

The human race is barbaric and our history is littered with atrocity. But we’re also empathetic, and our history is filled with examples of at least a desire and often a fight for justice. I don’t believe the rise in paganism (as Perry calls it) has to mean a rise in abortion acceptance. And I intend to keep working to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Categories: Infanticide