The abortion industry creates a fine line between what is and what is communicated.
27 March 2021
In 2005, Associate Professor of Sociology Susan A. Farrell explained that defining abortion as “reproductive justice… could be a new frame for the debate over abortion.” She cites Linguist George Lakoff, who discusses how progress within a cultural dialogue often simply requires re-framing the debate, as he writes in his book Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate.
Ever find yourself in a position where you have to address the elephant in the room? It’s an uncomfortable situation, isn’t it? Unfortunately, our current culture has done exactly that within the pro-life movement — they have diverted the discussion from science to semantics, from correctness to convenience. Addressing what the pro-life movement “gets right” is an elephant in the room. Addressing the fundamental premise that a preborn child is a human deserving of rights is an elephant in the room; the room of the public arena, the room of public expression and thought. Time and time again, the pro-choice movement will do all they can to avoid the elephant. After all, ignorance is bliss.
What is the basis for such a bold assertion against the pro-choice movement? This assertion of ignorance is founded upon basic trends we see regarding how the pro-choice movement educates and expresses their agenda.
First, it is essential to address how the pro-choice movement fails to sufficiently educate people on the nature of abortion, beginning with their patients. According to the Guttmacher Institute in February of 2011, while a mere 10 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion, only 8 of these 10 require the provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image. Regardless of the motives cited for the lack of an ultrasound, the reality is that the abortion industry places little emphasis on allowing mothers insight into the reality of the abortion procedure. Although the abortion industry claims that an abortion is a mother’s choice, they fail to provide the any foundation for woman seeking to make an educated decision, which should raise an immediate red flag.
Furthermore, the scientific community’s perspective on the humanity of the fetus quite often fails to hold standing in the pro-choice education. In a peer-reviewed study conducted by Steven Andrew Jacobs, for the University of Chicago – Department of Comparative Human Development, it was concluded that “95% of all biologists affirmed the biological view that a human’s life begins at fertilization (5212 out of 5502)… including biologists that identified as very pro-choice (69-90%), very pro-life (92-97%), very liberal (70-91%), very conservative (94-96%), strong Democrats (74-91%), and strong Republicans (89-94%).” Too, Princeton University compiles an assortment of 15 leading embryologists and medical experts who provide an undeniable scientific defense of the perspective that a preborn fetus is human.
Yet to all my fellow pro-lifers: how many times have you engaged in argumentation with pro-choicers who deny this fundamental claim? Why, then, does the pro-choice narrative fail to encompass the majority of scientific opinion? Is this yet another reflection on how the pro-choice narrative fails to align with the narrative of statistics in order to provide a palatable narrative? Is this yet another example on how ignorance is bliss?
It is fascinating to note that former abortionists — now pro-life advocates — Abby Johnson and Bernard Nathanson explicitly describe how their “conversion” to the pro-life movement began with education. As Dr. Nathanson states, “In any case, [my] change of mind began with the realization, the inescapable reality that the fetus, that embryo, is a person, is a protectable human life” (quoted in John Powell, Abortion: the silent Holocaust. Tabor, Allen, Texas. 1981). True discussion begins by addressing the elephant in the room, something that the pro-choice movement tends to ignore, not only in failing to inform their patients, but in failing to inform politics.
Politically, the specifics about Roe v. Wade is reflective of the underlying notion that ignorance is bliss. Upon reading the text of Roe v. Wade, it becomes clear the court decision created a right to abort a child for any reason or circumstance. According to Cathy Clever Ruse (ESQ) and Rob Schwartzwalder for the Family Research Council, Washington D.C., in 2011,“the Supreme Court gave abortion doctors the power to override any abortion restriction merely by claiming that there are ‘emotional’ reasons for the abortion…the Supreme Court created an “absolute right to abortion” under which ‘any abortion can be justified.’”
Again, to all my fellow pro-lifers, how often do you engage in argumentation with a person who endorses such a radical view? The growing discrepancy between the pro-choice narrative which celebrates Roe v. Wade yet also grants limits to abortion (perhaps recognizing that there is some sort of moral barrier to be conceded?) is too indicative to the increasing gap between what is and what is communicated.
Again, true discussion does not shy away from addressing the elephant in the room. For example, the Polling Company conducted a survey of 800 students of varying religious and political backgrounds, wherein findings demonstrated that after students knew the facts behind Roe v. Wade, over 70% changed their minds to support restrictions on abortions. In a culture where youth are targeted, where 79% of Planned Parenthoods are 5 miles from a college and 52% of abortion seeking women are under 25, let it not be said that a lack of patient and political education was our demise.
For abortions cannot be performed on the streets, they happen behind closed doors. The voices of those who regret abortion cannot be heard, lest they face political backlash or personal shame. However, our knowledge regarding the difficult truth on abortion must not remain behind closed doors. Our voices must not be silenced. Georgette Forney, Co-Founder of Silent No More, an organization dedicated to supporting women who regretted their abortions, expressed her anger at the cancel-culture of Planned Parenthood, stating, “I was angry at how they had exploited our fears of motherhood, our pains.” Forney helps us to understand the stark reality that ignorance cannot be bliss, for it leads to exploitation. And as long as we allow ignorance to pervade throughout our discussion and our culture, the longer we allow for this exploitation.
Exploitation ends with expression, and expression begins with education. In his groundbreaking pro-life book, Persuasive Pro-Life, Apologist Trent Horn offers his advice to assist us in educated expression, which begins by asking “ten dumb questions”:
- What is abortion?
- What is a child?
- What is a human?
- What is pregnancy?
- What’s wrong with being pro-abortion?
- Why is it wrong to kill a newborn baby?
- What does abortion do to the fetus?
- Is there a difference between a condom and an abortion? (If so, then what is it?)
- Why is abortion a sad or difficult choice?
- What is so upsetting about pictures of abortion?
Starting such conversations allows us to open doors to truth, and perhaps open hearts to it as well. The stakes are too high to ignore the “elephant in the room.” The longer ignorance is allowed to fester, the more it becomes increasingly apparent that ignorance leads to suffering, to misinformation, to decadence, to regret, and to death. Let it not be said that we as a generation were responsible for the termination of thousands of lives off the sole basis of ignorance.
Next time that we hear the misleading words indicating that we should “reframe the abortion debate,” we must stand our ground and return to the framework of education and the integral principles that determine our perspective. I invite you to continue exploring your resources to equip you in standing for life, for in a nation that is the land of the free and the home of the brave — ignorance is NEVER bliss!
- Interview: Georgette Forney and Abby Johnson