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On being had

The ‘pro-choice’ side was never arguing honestly about abortion

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We have been had. The saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” And we have been fooled six ways from Sunday.

They said who knows when life begins. So we said, OK, let’s talk about when life begins. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you,” we quoted from Jeremiah 1, verse 5.

We’re not into religion, they replied. So we said fair enough, forget the Bible, let’s talk science, you like science, right? And if the science proves when life begins, then you’ll stop killing babies in the womb, agreed?

They said not so fast, we grant that life of some kind starts when sperm and egg unite and make a being with a separate set of chromosomes and blood type from the mom, but, well, it’s just a fetus at that point, and not a person, and a fetus is a blob of protoplasm lacking consciousness.

What if we show you that the fetus does feel pain, we said, would that make you rethink your policy? Maybe, they said. And so we came bristling with ultrasounds of babies flinching and recoiling in the womb at stimuli and mentioned how the state of Utah passed a law three years ago requiring docs to give a fetus slated for abortion anesthesia if it has passed 20 weeks in its gestation.

Beware the scorpion who with smooth words seduces hapless frogs to ferry it across the pond, for in the end the poor naïve amphibian will rue his gullibility.

Well, pain is a subjective thing, they countered. You don’t know for certain that the flinching is from pain. And even if it is, it’s only after third-trimester pregnancies that that would be an issue. We’re good people, we don’t do abortions after 24 weeks like that horrid Dr. Gosnell who did them at 25 weeks—may he rot in prison.

But you do perform abortions after 24 weeks, we reminded them. Oh, they said, in extreme cases: Only when it’s really, really necessary, or the mother would feel really, really bad to have a baby at this time, and has a doc’s permission slip to prove how bad she feels. We care about the mother’s health, they said, don’t you?

But they had their fingers crossed behind their backs. And when we blinked, they passed a brand-new law in Albany, N.Y., that said you can kill babies up to 40 weeks or any time you want until the day they’re born. And when Virginia and Vermont saw what New York had done, they both took courage and suggested we could go still further.

And we stood with mouths agape and stuttered: “What about the things you said for years to us about not knowing when a fetal life is viable outside the womb? You said the matter hinged on viability. Big questions of biology, you said, as if you, like us, searched for truth. And now it looks like you were lying all along, and like your wrestlings were but so much dandelion fluff that blew away upon a puff of air.”

Kermit Gosnell has been had. The now-forgotten poster boy you used and cast away, the one you once found it convenient to revile as someone monstrous and so different from you. No mention of him now, I see, who did no worse than your new law allows, but dons an orange jumpsuit in a cell while you shine pink lights on One World Trade Center. Stalin did no worse airbrushing Trotsky out of history.

Note well, all ye who take upon yourselves to dialogue with people of this world who with feigned searchings of the soul would plead their case on matters from abortion to aberrant sexuality. Beware the velvet glove that hides the iron fist. The pattern of persuasion will be similar across the board: at first the plaintive cry of suffering and social justice, to enlist your sympathy.

Then follows, in the blush of victories won, removal of the mask, abandonment of pretense, and the cackle of contempt toward all who thought they cared a whit about their former ratiocinations. Beware the scorpion who with smooth words seduces hapless frogs to ferry it across the pond, for in the end the poor naïve amphibian will rue his gullibility.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her commentary has been compiled into three books including Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides in Philadelphia, Penn.


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I'm pro-choice: I believe the baby should have a choice in whether he or she gets to live or is murdered.

Midwest preacher

Sorry about the poor spelling.  I checked back caught it and tried to edit. Didn't work well.