Voices
Krieg Barrie

Against the current

Roe v. Wade | Rowing hard amid an ocean of abstractions

Issue: "The wonder of life," Jan. 25, 2014

Last year The Great Gatsby movie took in $349 million at the box office, which is $23 million more than the total assets of Planned Parenthood as of June 30, 2013. Still, that $326 million makes for a strong current against which crisis pregnancy centers need to row. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last line of The Great Gatsby describes where defenders of life are: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

But might the past also be the future? Last year one journalist touched by Christ, Kirsten Powers, descended to the lowest rung of the ladder of abstraction in 2013 to describe the crimes of a Pennsylvania abortionist: “Infant beheadings. Severed baby feet in jars. A child screaming after it was delivered alive during an abortion procedure. … The revolting revelations of [abortionist Kermit] Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.” 

When Powers called out secular journalists for not covering the trial, some reporters showed up for a day, and NBC-10 Philadelphia even “described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it ‘literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.’” But the Gosnell revelations will not sink the lucrative abortion regime. After all, when the Chicago Sun-Times in 1978 ran a two-week-long series sensationally exposing the city’s abortionists, death did not take a holiday. (It didn’t matter that an abortionist’s dog, “to one couple’s horror, accompanied the nurse into the operating room and lapped blood from the floor.”)

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Astoundingly, some on the pro-abortion side in 2013 persisted in arguing and perhaps thinking that abortion is easy. “One in three women will have an abortion by the time they’re 45, and yet we’re treating this like it’s some extreme procedure, when it can be a lot safer than even having your wisdom teeth removed, and is almost just as common.” said Kari Ross, spokeswoman for the Feminist Majority Foundation, as she normalized atrocity. 

Almost as astoundingly, some who admitted what Salon columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote—“My conviction that the fetus is indeed a life”—went on to her chilling next four words: “A life worth sacrificing.” Keeping the argument at an abstract level, Williams wrote, “A fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.”

“Always”—so we beat on, boats against the current. Making the argument a bit less abstract, Jessica Winter in Slate took a crack at a good question to ask pro-aborts: “What if your mother had aborted you?” She wrote that both she and her husband were “extremely unplanned,” and if “neither my husband nor I would be here … that’s fine. … We are both rabidly pro-choice.” What’s most important, Winter wrote, is that her mother was “autonomous of the blastocyst that turned into me. … I’m glad I’m here … but she was here first.”

Lots of others were here first, and we should thank our ancestors who did not have abortions. Millions of Americans owe much to a doctor few today have ever heard of, Horatio Storer (1830-1922), who led the 19th-century “Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion.” The pro-life laws and compassionate help that grew out of the crusade saved many babies not only in Storer’s time but in future generations as well. Horatiostorer.net points out that, “If only one generation showed an increase in surviving pregnancies amounting to 3 percent of children this would provide a parent (or two) for 5.9 percent of the next generation, at least one grandparent for 11.5 percent of the second generation, at least one great-grandparent for 21.6 percent of the third generation, etc.”

In other words, if abortion had been as rampant a century ago as now, at least one of five Americans would not be here. That still may not strike home: Our attitude could be, We made it to birth, and let the devil take the hindmost. Or it could be, Thank you, God, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made—and let’s beat on, boats against the current.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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