Thursday, August 13, 2009

Making the 'easy' choice

Jay Watts at Life Training Institute reflects on the influence of coercion in many women's decisions to have abortions. Abortion seems so "easy" to our culture, a solution to the problem of unwanted, inconvenient unborn children who stand in our way. How can we build a culture of life when we -- mothers, fathers, friends, grandparents -- are so selfish?
Women, even young women, cannot technically be forced to get an abortion they do not want. They can however be threatened, bullied, lobbied, manipulated, and strongly encouraged. The father of the child can and often does threaten to leave her. The grandparents of the child can and often do threaten to kick the mother out of the house. Friends can and often do assure the mother facing an unexpected pregnancy that not getting an abortion will ruin her life, restrict her future, and make it impossible to live the life they want to live. For all of the talk about abortion empowering women I have seen plenty of young women harassed into abortions by those people they think love them the most. More than I care to recall.

As the story about Coach Rick Pitino's marital infidelity has come out and the fact that he paid for his mistress to abort the child that came as a result of their drunken tryst in a closed bar, it occurs to me that abortion seems so easy. It is such an easy answer for the unfaithful husband looking to cover his tracks. It is such an easy answer for the boyfriend not wanting to stop the party to be a father to his child. It is easy for the parents that see the future they dreamed for their child threatened by an unexpected grandchild. That is one of the hardest parts about convincing the world abortion is wrong. People can be intellectually convinced that the unborn are human beings of moral worth but when the chips are down and it is their life being affected abortion seems so easy.

You see, abortion is more than 1.3 million mothers per year in the U.S. paying a medical professional to surgically destroy their child. It is also fathers persuading the mothers to kill their children. It is often grandparents bullying their child to kill their grandchild. It is a culture and a society that sees a path that seems so easy and cannot help but continue to venture down that path no matter how many polls say that more people are pro-life than not. It is unimaginably evil and its dark shadow is cast over our culture well beyond the women, the doctors, the unborn, and the intellectual arguments on either side of the debate.

As is so often the case, the seemingly easy choice exacts a cost that is profound in ways we never imagined when we set ourselves to the path of least resistance. Before we know it, we are a generation and a culture that is killing our offspring at a chilling rate and stopping means admitting we have participated in the violent deaths of our own children and grandchildren.
There's hope. Note that we collectively reject killing newborn babies, toddlers and teenagers as a means of "bettering" our circumstances. Why are unborn children different? Because many in our society still do not see the unborn as bona fide, full-fledged, rights-bearing members of the human community (like newborn babies, toddlers and teenagers) -- even many who say that abortion is wrong.

When our culture fully understands that unborn humans, just like you and me, are valuable persons deserving of respect and protection, abortion will be recognized as a moral atrocity and be relegated to the ash heap of American history.

By the way, the prevalence of coercion in the abortion decision means that effective legislation combating it -- such as that proposed earlier this year by MCCL -- could save many unborn lives. You can find our coerced abortion brochure here.