In 1969, my best friend was a junior in high school and pregnant. She would be the homecoming queen a year later, her beloved, a star football player, would stand beside her on the field. Both were from good upper middle class families living in a conservative small town in the east. Despite the rumblings of change coming from abortion advocates, abortion was illegal; so most girls who “got in trouble” were either sent away to live with extended family until the baby was born or sent to stay in our town’s home for unwed mothers. But that fate did not befall my friend. She had an abortion. Swearing me to secrecy, she told me about it afterwards, and we both cried. She assured me she was Ok, as her father, a lawyer, knew a doctor, and so it had been done. No one was the wiser, as far as I could tell, as we went on with our lives during our senior year. We drifted apart after high school, but the girl with the brains, beauty, and self-confidence I had admired so much, turned a little darker with each passing year until she just disappeared; I never saw her again.
Just four years later, the once unthinkable had happened. In 1973, Roe vs. Wade ushered in a new era, where a woman’s body became her own, and abortion clinics were quietly opening all over the country. But from that moment on, the passionate, controversial fires of pro- and anti-abortion advocacy would rage to the present day.
Between 2000 and 2011, something amazing happened. “The number of states that were middle-ground in their abortion-related policies dropped from 19 to nine, while the number of states that were hostile to abortion increased from 13-26.” (courtesy of www.guttmacher.org) How did this happen?
It was not solely because of religion. Religious groups do not present a united view on the issue in terms of their official positions on abortion. In fact, if religion speaks for God, then God is schizophrenic on abortion. According to PEW Research’s Religion and Public Life Project:
- The Roman Catholic Church labels abortion a major sin, calling it infanticide. Protestants take a stand somewhere between major sin/infanticide and something about which a couple is “to seek spiritual counsel as they prayerfully and conscientiously consider their decision.” (American Baptists)
- Buddhists claim no official position on abortion; however, many believe “life begins at conception and that all killing is wrong.”
- The Mormon Church believes elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God.” However, in the case of rape, incest, or the mother is endangered, abortion is permissible.
- The Hindu faith teaches nonviolence and condones behavior that brings the least harm to those involved, therefore abortion would be wrong.
- Islam prohibits abortion in any case after four months, when the fetus is thought to become a living soul; and in cases of abortion up to four months, it is only permitted in cases of rape or where the mother’s life is endangered.
- Judaism. “Traditional Jewish teachings sanction abortion as a means of safeguarding the life and well-being of a mother. While the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements openly advocate for the right to safe and accessible abortions, the Orthodox movement is less unified on the issues.”
The tide of states starting to push back against Roe vs. Wade is not purely the result of politics as politicians would like us to believe. Despite all of the money and lobbying spent to protect abortion, despite all the liberal hysteria around “women’s rights,” and despite the lecturing by conservatives about how wrong abortion is, these are not the primary drivers for the middle-ground states moving into hostile state territory on the abortion issue. If not that, then what IS it?
Certainly it is not the silent voices of the 55,000,000+ babies killed to date in the US alone. Nor the 1,353,623,218+ silent voices of aborted babies across the world as of 11/3.2014 (http://www.numberofabortions.com/ – * Documentation for the basis for the Abortion Counters (Guttmacher, etc.).
Neither religious beliefs nor preachers or politicians, despite their loud clamoring on abortion, have been effective in changing people’s views. If anything, they have served to divide the population. Instead, think back to the mid-1990’s when a truly ubiquitous event occurred with the launch of the World Wide Web. The exponential growth of the web and of people with Internet access brought abortion up close and personal to us by pulling back the curtain on the hideousness of it.
Think Internet crowd funding and how Indiegogo easily squirted past the gate keepers to the film industry, politicians, and PRO-CHOICE advocates, to raise more than enough money to begin producing the movie about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia man who ended thousands of babies’ lives, many of them while they were still alive. This was information the liberals did not want to see come out into the light of day. The City of Philadelphia’s Grand Jury investigative report on Gosnell reads like a horror story, but unfortunately, it was absolutely real. The Gosnell movie will finally begin to give the ghostly voices a stage from which they may tell their wretched, ungodly story of pure evil visited on them in a shabby office in Philadelphia. While the mainstream media ignored Gosnell and his wickedness, the web ran the stories and made available the Grand Jury’s report within days of its release.
The web served in other important ways to help turn the tide on abortion. Paired with cell phone and video technology, social and alternative media brought people together who could then have very intimate recorded conversations about abortion. We saw videos filmed in Planned Parenthood offices as counselors coached young women about birth control, including the finer points of deciding to have an abortion. The alternative conversations were all but absent from those discussions that are funded with American taxpayer dollars. But the blinders would really come off as our nation’s OBGYN nurses and aids spoke privately with interviewers about what happens when a late term baby is aborted alive, and how it is placed in a room out of sight to die alone without comfort from the very human beings who are charged with giving care and not causing harm while saving lives. The web’s exposure of these unscripted discussions and confessions helped people to face the facts that lead to the truths of the heart. Nurses speaking about picking up such babies and rocking them until they died so they would not have to be cold and alone. These stories were heartfelt and visceral. Nothing spoken from a pulpit or on a campaign trail comes close to bringing these passions to the fore.
Unless your veins run with ice water, you cannot hear or see these many extreme personal moments and not be moved from sadness to shame and even outrage. Before the web, people could ignore or never even hear about, let alone see the effects of infanticide on those people closest to it. Especially the babies.
Trolling the web, I saw a very short video – let’s call it “Pure Evil.” I clicked it. To that point, all of my interactions around the abortion issue had been distant and fuzzy; mostly an intellectual argument or religious assertion about what is right or wrong with abortion. After seeing this video, the weight of it became crystal clear. A purple/bluish glob of tissue the size of a tiny, hairless puppy, still swimming in the ooze that is the afterbirth that was just seconds earlier the protective home of this Being. The blood on the surgical glove makes it obvious the procedure had just been completed on an operating table somewhere in the world. This Being was still moving, stretching, living its last moments before it would die a cold death, another voice silenced before it ever had a chance to speak.
What can be said of a nation or world that condones such practices? These ghost voices demand our attention and Christ’s redemption for the horrors committed on them.
Guttermacher Institute – Troubling Trend: More States Hostile to Abortion Rights as Middle Ground Shrinks – http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/15/1/gpr150114.html
RELIGIOUS VIEWS ON ABORTION – PEW Research – http://www.pewforum.org/2013/01/16/religious-groups-official-posi=ions-on-abortion/