Wordsmithing versus reality | WORLD
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Wordsmithing versus reality

Abortion is a death, always, not a birth

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Wordsmithing versus reality
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You can make up your face. You can make up a story. As a parent, I’ve heard a made-up excuse or two from my kids (I’ve got to say, some of them are quite clever). Now, you can even make up new meanings of words. For instance, did you know that “bingo card” also means “a list of possible, expected, or likely scenarios?”

Adding new words or definitions to the English language can be fun. According to Merriam-Webster—which recently added 690 new words to its dictionary—these additions are a sign of a “healthy” language. But followers of Jesus need to recognize that however popular it is to find one’s own truth or be creative with language, it is not possible to redefine what we might call capital T Truth. It is a slippery slope when people end up believing what’s been made-up is true. And it’s particularly dangerous when someone says something that isn’t true in order to deceive.

Take one recent example. The University of Notre Dame—a “private research university inspired by its Catholic character to be a powerful force for good in the world”—invited an abortion doula to guest lecture. Never mind that doulas usually help women usher their children into the world, now they usher in death. It gets worse. The guest speaker referred to abortion as a “type of birth” and went on to suggest that abortion and birth are not binary. “Abortion and birth could be binary, but I believe that it is a binary worth busting, just like man and woman,” the speaker said.

To suggest that abortion means anything other than death—the opposite of birth—is to peddle a bald-faced lie. You can say abortion means whatever you want to fit your agenda, but it only ever means death for the unborn child. And heartbreak and tragedy for so many women who are told that abortion is their only option.

More than 2,000 years ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “They say that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right; that black is white and white is black; bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”

Sounds a whole lot like 2024.

Today, they say that a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man; that a man can get pregnant; and most recently, that abortion and birth are not binary.

The only way to reclaim truth is to call out radical deception when we see it, and to continually remind each other of the true story—that which is in accordance with God’s law.

The pro-abortion lobby is particularly adept at distorting language. One of Planned Parenthood’s favorite arguments against heartbeat laws passed in many states used to be that fetal heartbeats “aren’t real” but just electrical impulses. Yet Johns Hopkins says “[t]he heart is beating,” something Planned Parenthood now recognizes. And before the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood’s website clearly stated that treatment for ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion. For good reason. An ectopic pregnancy is not viable and to treat it is to deal with a tragedy, not to take an unborn life intentionally. After the Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, however, it became politically expedient for pro-abortion groups to frighten women by telling them that their lives might be put at risk by pro-life laws if they had an ectopic pregnancy. That is nonsense. No state treats the treatment of ectopic pregnancy as an abortion.

Words and ideas like these have consequences. Our children hear them and think it’s normal. Our young people, cynical and mistrusting, don’t know what to believe. And our older people begin to question if they’ve been too narrow-minded.

The only way to reclaim truth is to call out radical deception when we see it, and to continually remind each other of the true story—that which is in accordance with God’s law. Let’s remind our higher education institutions of the high calling they have in educating our young people. And let’s remind them and our other cultural influencers, of a few basic truths.

First, no amount of wordsmithing can change reality. The dictionary—or visiting speakers—can spin the hottest lingo, but at the end of the day, biological reality and common sense will continue to dictate what a man is, what a woman is, and how to tell the difference. The Truth is that every girl and boy is wonderfully and beautifully made in the very image of God. Every young person is uniquely valuable, just as they are.

Second, abortion and birth are indeed binary. One leads to death, the other life. And no amount of wordplay can change this reality. The Truth is that a baby’s heart beats at 5 to 6 weeks gestation and that every life no matter how small or defenseless is worthy of protection.

Third, none of us have a corner on the truth; Truth has a corner on us. We’re prone to being carried by deceiving voices that make us question what we believe. But thankfully, mercifully, we can know the One who is Truth, and through His word, better discern between what’s false and what’s true.

Erin Hawley

Erin Hawley is a wife, mom of three, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, and a law professor at Regent University School of Law.

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