Abortion: In a Class of its Own
At the age of 21, I had an abortion. Although my boyfriend and I used birth control throughout our three-year relationship, it failed (the relationship and the birth control). I knew that none of the birth control methods we used were 100% guaranteed. Perhaps I had in the back of my mind that should "something" happen I would have an abortion. Or perhaps I was living in the omnipotent state characteristic of youth, figuring "it" would never happen to me.
When "it" happened and I became pregnant I was shocked. I vaguely considered carrying the baby to term, but quickly refocused myself toward abortion. Any appreciation I had for the serious implications of having an abortion were trumped by my desire for life to go according to plan. (My life, that is.) It was not convenient to be pregnant. A baby would throw things off course. And that couldn't be.
So I spent a day or so mulling things over, immersed in my emotions over the unpleasant ordeal and the disturbing feeling of having to have an abortion. It was as if I was on some pre-determined path over which I had no control. I felt I had no real choice: I had to have an abortion.
I called Planned Parenthood and scheduled it. When the day of my appointment arrived I felt a bit somber and perhaps a little nervous. But for the most part, I was pretty dissociated from what I was about to do as I sat in the crowded waiting room. When my name was called, I was escorted into one of several "procedure" rooms. The person I presumed to be the doctor was in the room along with one or two assistants. I don't recall the doctor introducing himself. What I do remember is that things got down to business very quickly. Many years have passed since that day. What became seared in my memory was a machine positioned very close to my body that had an extremely loud motor and a vacuum noise that blasted on and on and seemed as if it would never end.
But end it did. And far more than the noise.
After a few days of feeling physically and mentally unwell, I proceeded to get on with my life. I thought about the abortion from time to time, especially when filling out forms in doctor's offices that inquire into the number of pregnancies one has had. And the number of births.
But I never reflected on the actions I took that day in any deep or meaningful way until I began my journey from left to right. Along the way, I have taken a deep and hard look at abortion and have reached what now seems a glaringly obvious conclusion: Abortion is wrong. Worse than wrong.
As my perspective shifted I reflected on many things about my abortion and about abortion in general. Among them is how the abortion industry is treated as a class unto itself due, in part, to manipulative language.
The word many in our society use when speaking about a baby in the womb changes according to whether that baby will be carried to term and born. Or whether that baby will be murdered along the way. A lexicon with double standards has emerged.
If you do a Google search and type in words like baby, fetus, womb, uterus, and such, you will find site after site corroborating this inconsistent lexicon. I selected the first few web sites that came up during my search. I did not hunt for these resources or cherry pick them. What I found was beautiful and accurate language celebrating the development of a baby inside the womb.
WebMD uses the term "baby" to describe an 8-week old fetus. A caption for one of the developmental pictures in sequence reads:
Development at 8 Weeks: The baby is now a little over half an inch in size. Eyelids and ears are forming, and you can see the tip of the nose. The arms and legs are well formed. The fingers and toes grow longer and more distinct.
At MedicineNet, there is celebration over the pregnancy and the word baby is used repeatedly. There is no talk of "clumps of cells" or "tissue." The caption of the first picture that is part of a month-by-month slide show reads:
Your Baby's Growth: Conception to Birth: Congratulations on becoming pregnant! We are sure you are curious about how your pregnancy will progress, and how your body will develop week to week over the next few months. In this slideshow we will take a look inside the womb to see how a baby develops through the first, second, and third trimesters.
Over at Photo Buck there are countless photos that come under the banner heading "Baby in Womb photos." There are also many videos available for viewing and here, again, title after title uses the word "baby."
At Livestrong, concerns are noted about things that can be harmful to the developing baby.
Embryonic Stage (2 - 7 weeks): ...During this developmental stage, because of the rapid anatomical development, the embryo is very susceptible to damage from teratogens--substances such as alcohol, drugs, radiation and infection. It is always good for an expectant mother to avoid teratogens, but it is especially important during the embryonic stage.
I wonder if people who wrote about these medical facts think it is just as harmful to an embryo to suck it out through a hose attached to a vacuum suction. Or to dismember a baby during an abortion. Apparently, as they say, even the tiny "embryo is very susceptible to damage..." Indeed.
At Baby Center there is enormous enthusiasm to educate every step of the way, beginning at conception.
Inside your womb: Take a peek inside your womb and see exactly what your baby looks like at the moments of fertilization and implantation, throughout all three trimesters, and at full-term. Find out how big your baby is at every step along the way and see our slide show of fruit and veggie size comparisons. Plus, discover what twins look like inside the womb. Get a clear view of your developing baby with our incredible lifelike fetal development animations.
Would the same people who wrote that provide the same tender and enthusiastic education to a woman who is considering an abortion? I doubt it.
Now contrast the WebMD language in their overview of a baby's development in the womb to their page on abortion. In the section on surgical abortion, they write: A surgical abortion ends a pregnancy by surgically removing the contents of the uterus. There is no longer a "baby" in the uterus. It has become "contents" to be removed. In this way, the language is manipulated to distance the woman and those who work in the abortion industry from the reality of what abortion means.
In this undercover video, an employee at an abortion clinic makes a point of saying they don't use the word "kill." Instead the abortion is a "termination" that involves the removal of "pregnancy tissue." Is there any normal doctor out there who refers to a woman's developing baby as "pregnancy tissue" when the baby will be carried to term and born? "Congratulations on the birth of your successfully non-terminated pregnancy tissue!" It has a certain ring to it, though I don't see Hallmark jumping to print cards anytime soon (though a company called Exhale does make abortion e-cards).
When a baby is born, its life is celebrated. Just as miscarriages are mourned. Why then can we not use truthful language for abortion which is about "kill," "death," "dismemberment," "the taking of an innocent life?" "Termination" is what happens when you lose your job. Not when you intentionally kill a developing baby in the womb.
Even more shocking is the twisted depravity of a doctor telling a woman that having an abortion is safer than giving birth to a baby carried to term. Apparently, there's no need to risk childbirth when you can just have an abortion.
And how did the image of a tiny fetus held in the human hand become "controversial" while at the same time twisting the head off that fetus, tearing it apart from limb to limb, sticking a sharp object into its skull, or using any other manner of barbaric means to kill it not be controversial?
Then there is the degenerate language used in the abortion industry. Dr. Leroy Carhart is documented in an undercover video referring to the dead baby in the womb prior to having labor induced as "meat in a Crock Pot." He then goes on to say that if the baby doesn't come out, he is able to "take it out in pieces," using "a pickaxe, a drill bit" and other tools in his "toolkit."
Is this really what women had in mind when they envisioned "liberation?" To sit across the desk from a doctor who refers to their developing baby as "meat in a Crock Pot and not to worry because, if need be, he can "take it out in pieces?" You've come a very long way, baby. And gone too far.
How the word abortion is defined is another area where language is manipulated in stunning ways.
WebMD notes that "abortion is the early ending of a pregnancy." So is giving birth the late ending of a pregnancy? If it is, I've certainly never heard it described that way! By shifting the focus from the "baby" to the "pregnancy" the discussion begins to refocus on the woman and her body and away from the baby inside of her.
Where is the doctor's Hippocratic Oath in all of this? "First do no harm."
When a woman plans to carry her baby to term, there is great interest and effort to monitor the health of the mother and the health of the baby. It is clearly understood that both lives have dignity and value.
But when a woman wants an abortion, everything shifts. Suddenly the medical community only sees the woman as their patient, not the developing baby. In this way, they wall themselves off in denial of massive proportions as they break their most basic oath.
Among the many manipulations involved in defining abortion it is also impossible not to notice the repeated assurances of how "safe" abortion is and how rare complications are. Some even tout how abortion is one of the safest medical procedures a woman can have. As noted earlier, even safer than giving birth. Gee, sign me up now.
Of course, there is never any mention of how safe abortion is for the baby.
How health care providers and patients discuss health issues is another area where language puts abortion in a class of its own. When someone is diagnosed with a health problem, doctor and patient talk in depth about the physiology of the disease and the impact of treatment.
In the case of abortion, patients are not informed in detail about what will happen to the baby during the abortion. What is discussed is the procedure itself. And even then, the level of detail about precisely how the fetus will be killed and removed from the woman's body is often kept to a minimum. "D&C." That sounds easy enough. As Planned Parenthood states: "...a curette is used to remove any remaining tissue that lines the uterus." Or, a "D&E" where "medical instruments and a suction machine will gently empty your uterus." Wow, it's almost like going to a day spa for a soothing treatment. Couple that with how common Planned Parenthood says abortions are and there's hardly a thing to worry about. I mean, when "1 in 3 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they're 45 years old," it must be no big deal, right? So much for Bill Clinton's and now Barack Obama's famous comments about how abortions should be "safe, legal, and rare." With areas of the country where a baby in the womb has as much chance of being aborted as being carried to term, I'd say the "rare" ship has sailed.
Not only are details about what happens to the developing baby in the womb during an abortion in short supply, but there is evidence to prove that health care providers discourage women from gathering too much information on the matter. An effort is made to keep the gory details of the barbaric procedure to a minimum.
For much of my life I have wanted to turn away from graphic pictures of aborted babies. I found the images to be horrific and provoking. They should not be seen! What's the point? Why put oneself through the emotional upheaval?
Now I realize that, of course, they should be seen. They must be seen. If a woman is going to decide to kill her developing baby, why should she not see just what that entails? It has nothing to do with guilt. It has to do with reality and taking responsibility and understanding just what one has decided to do. All of it.
Abortions are barbaric.
There are arguments on both sides about whether the developing baby can feel pain.
Yet to focus solely on these points would be a mistake. Because at the heart of the matter, it is not about whether the means to kill a baby is gruesome or whether the baby can feel pain, though these truths are profoundly meaningful. It is about the fact that the developing baby has been killed.
One could ask: would it be ok to do if it could be done in a way that did not cause suffering to the baby? And, of course, the answer would still be "no."
Because if it were ok, we'd be missing the point. And we would also open the door more quickly and more widely for that magic pill to be given an elderly person, an infirmed person, a child with a severe disability, in order to quietly end his or her life. And down the road we would continue toward an unthinkable kind of society.
In my youth, and for most of my adult life, I was marinated in the normalcy of abortion. I wasn't happy to have one. I wasn't proud of myself. But it was an option I chose. I thought of my pregnancy in terms of "it," quickly steering my mind away from any serious thoughts about what was now growing inside me - my child! I veered myself toward a vague notion of something occurring that interfered with my plans. Certainly the folks at Planned Parenthood supported my line of thought as they were all too eager to reassure me that "it" was "just some cells," as if hardly different than menstruation. Here. We'll help you slough them off with this nifty little suction device.
Yet I believe some of those who work in the abortion industry know abortion is wrong. The way they often awkwardly search for words as they skirt around the truth is, perhaps, a sign that even they realize on some level that they are in dangerous waters. If only they would pause and reflect.
There are many women like myself who have had abortions who have since realized it was wrong. Not just for themselves, but in the big picture of things.
The articles, blogs, and comments at American Thinker have helped reshape my thinking on so many matters of importance. I hope and pray that this article might plant a seed in the mind of even just one woman reading it who may begin, or may be on, a journey toward life.
If you are pregnant, your baby's journey has begun. It is moving with every ounce of energy toward life. It does not start at 9-months when he or she is born. It has already started....