IS IT A POSITIVE SIGN THAT, AFTER 30 YEARS OF legalized abortion nationwide, many abortion supporters no longer pretend?
Thirty years ago, they commonly dehumanized unborn children and made abortion seem easy: 15 minutes to feel "like a brand-new woman," the Omaha World-Herald propagandized. The San Francisco Chronicle told how a typical young woman "came back from the abortion smiling" and telling her patiently waiting mother, "I'm starved. Let's go to lunch."
Thirty years ago, journalists predicted that the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision would end the abortion debate. The Milwaukee Journal crowed that "politicians and policemen and judges" would no longer have to be concerned with the "distractive" issue. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called the decision "remarkable for its common sense [and] its humaneness."
That was conventional liberal talk in those days. Now, even feminists admit that abortion is sorrowful, and that the conflict about it will not go away because of the gut guilt that abortion intrinsically yields. They want to mourn abortion but continue it, much as the Japanese do.
Aborting mothers in Japan typically make or buy mizuko jizo, small statues of babies. They dress the statues in bibs and knitted caps, and leave next to the statues bottles of milk, baby rattles, and furry toys. You can find stacks of mizuko jizos in cemeteries and also in special temples where they are housed, with mourning parents paying hundreds of dollars per year to have a small statue bathed and dressed, with incense burned and prayers recited.
One survey showed 86 percent of Japanese women and 76 percent of men saying they felt or would feel guilty upon having an abortion or pressuring their partners to have one. In this country, abortion advocates have generally sneered at the reality of post-abortion syndrome. Maybe now they will accept it and call for government provision of "grief-recovery specialists."
Mourning is important when death has visited. But mourning becomes electric only when people are moved to action, and particularly to help other innocents from dying as well. Confession should be followed by repentance, but abortion defenders seem content to confess and run.
WORLD last month noted the publication of a new book by Alexander Tsiaras and Barry Werth, From Conception to Birth (Doubleday, 2002). It uses the latest technology to show in marvelous detail the clearly human (and very cute) unborn baby at many stages, including at eight weeks of age, the time many abortions take place.
Time also reported on the new book, under a headline, "What scientists have learned about those amazing first nine months-and what it means for mothers." Sadly, Time did not suggest that it means mothers should protect their children. Instead, Time reported without comment that "the new technology allows doctors to detect serious fetal defects at a stage when abortion is a reasonable option."
How can abortion still be reasonable when it so clearly stops the beating heart of an innocent human being? The ignorance or pretense of some folks 30 years ago is no excuse, but now that the evil is acknowledged, do we need any clearer indication of our sinful natures than when people recognize an unborn child's humanity yet refuse to offer protection?
Let's glance at one other aspect of suppressing the truth. From Conception to Birth includes not only wonderful pictures but an explanation of "the grand plan for human reproduction." Whose plan? The book clearly shows God's glory, but it begins with a quotation from Charles Darwin and sprinkles in periodically a line suggesting that these marvels are the result of mindless evolution.
And so, despite the evidence, we still face a traditional movie scene. Behold a locomotive (fueled by both feminism and male selfishness) barreling down the tracks. Cut to a lovely lass (in this case a lovely unborn child) tied to the cold rails. Cut to train. Cut to lass. Then cut to the hero riding his horse hard as he races to untie his sweetheart before she is sliced to bits. Suspense mounts.
This is no movie. The locomotive has run over 40 million unborn children, sometimes cutting them up piece by piece, sometimes vacuuming them up, sometimes poisoning them. But will most of the next 40 million be rescued? Depends on whether many of us are content with guilt without action, except the action of paying for our mizuko jizos.