Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network (a pro-abortionist organization) recently debated Scott Klusendorf on the Unbelievable radio show. When pressed as to why it is morally permissible for a pregnant woman to end the life of a human being in her womb, Mara Clarke said,
Mara: “At the end of the day, all I can go with is: women who are living outside of the womb absolutely have a right to- and I don’t say this term- I never say this term- bodily autonomy, right? They have a right to continue with or not continue with a pregnancy.”
Justin (the host of the show): “Ok. So that in a sense overrides any issues of whether we’re dealing with a human in the womb or not for you.”
Justin: “The autonomy of a woman over her body trumps that- and that presumably is the distinction then we’re drawing between the toddler and the child in the womb. A toddler is separate to the woman at that point, obviously. There’s not a question of her having control of her body at that point. You’re dealing with a separate individual.”
Mara: “Yeah, we can send the toddler to Scott’s house and Scott can raise it.” (Laughing ensues)
I never cease to be amazed at pro-abortionist logic. It does not matter if it is human life. It does not matter if it is a child. All that matters is whether or not the pregnancy is wanted. That is the simple, direct, unambiguous moral justification for killing a baby in the womb. So long as the child is in fact located within the womb of its mother that is reason enough to end its life. Period.
In the debate (which can be found here), Scott Klusendorf certainly pressed Mrs. Clarke, pointing out the flaws in her thinking; but in the end, logic just didn’t matter. Expediency only matters- personal fulfillment is everything. If a mother of three children finds out she is pregnant and feels having another would be too much of a burden on her wallet or time, well, then that is reason enough to end a life.
It’s hard to imagine how we have come to this point. Perhaps it is my own unfamiliarity with what proponents of abortion have typically expressed in the past, but it seems to me that there has been a shift over the past 5-10 years. Pro-abortionists are growing more and more brazen. No longer do they seem to care if the fetus is a baby or not. Biology/science is downplayed. It’s not about that. It’s all about a mother’s right to end life. Even if we grant that it is a baby, the baby’s rights are secondary to that of the mother’s... which is frightening, for sure.
It is one thing to hide behind a faceless fetus, claiming that it isn’t a person, but it is another thing entirely to admit that it is a baby and kill it in the name of bodily autonomy.
That is whole other level of hardness of heart.
Consider in this respect a recent opinion piece in The New York Times. In “This is What An Abortion Looks Like,” Merritt Tierce says the following:
“This is how it really is, abortion: You do things you regret or don’t understand and then you make other choices because life keeps going forward. Or you do something out of love and then, through biology or accident, it goes inexplicably wrong, and you do what you can to cope. Or you do whatever you do, however you do it, for whatever reason, because that’s your experience.”
You do whatever you do, however you do it, for whatever reason, because that’s your experience? What a sad commentary on where we are at.
I’m going to paste the entirely of her article below. I would encourage you to read it and not simply come away feeling angry (which is easy enough), or feeling hopeless (given the present trajectory of this issue), but resolved to pray. It is easy to forget about this silent atrocity in our land. I know I do. But it is just that, an atrocity. And the church needs to continue to pray, not only for the sake of the unborn, but for the multitude of mothers who are callousing their hearts through a kind of rationale that injures the mind and soul of person made in the image of God.
DENTON, Tex. — I MET Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator and Democratic candidate for governor, for the first time last week, and I told her how much it meant to me that she wasn’t afraid to talk about abortion. But we need a much larger conversation about abortion — one that also includes, without prejudice, the stories unlikely to generate much sympathy. Stories like mine.
Ms. Davis’s background feels familiar to me. She became a single mother at 19, her first marriage lasted only two years, and she worked as a receptionist and waitress until she could afford to go back to school. I had two children by the time I was 21, filed for divorce at 23, and worked as a secretary and waitress. Thanks to the support of friends and family, and especially my ex-husband, the father of my children, I was able to go back to school in 2009. And like Ms. Davis, I have also had two abortions.
In her memoir, “Forgetting to Be Afraid,” which came out this week, Ms. Davis writes about the two wanted pregnancies she terminated. The first abortion ended a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. (That this procedure must even be reported as an “abortion” is a tremendous failure of taxonomy.) The second pregnancy ended in the second trimester because the fetus had an acute brain abnormality.
Abortions like these represent the basic currency of the debate. These are the stories used to teach us the value of abortion, and the standard against which all other abortion stories must be gauged. By repeating only the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, terrifying abortion stories, we protect a lie: that abortion isn’t normal. We have learned to think of abortion with shame and fear. We have accepted the damaging idea that a person who wants an abortion must grovel before the consciences of others.
I admire Ms. Davis for having the courage to say the word “abortion” over and over for 11 hours, as she did last year, while filibustering a Texas law that would have restricted access to the procedure. And I deeply respect her for telling her own stories now.
But those stories are not groundbreaking. They are politically safe, because no rational person could be anything but sympathetic and thankful that her experiences are extremely rare.
Abortion itself, however, is not rare.
I have been pregnant five times. I had a son, then a daughter, and my third pregnancy ended in abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic, at a gestation of about six weeks.
I had an abortion because we were poor and I was depressed and I didn’t know who the father was. I had been having an affair. My kids were 2 and 3, and the debilitating morning sickness, which I experienced early in each of my pregnancies, made it difficult to work or care for two toddlers. I got pregnant again soon after, but miscarried. A few years later I had another abortion because the man I was seeing was emotionally abusive. I had no control in that relationship, so I sabotaged my birth control to get some back. The whole situation was a complete abscess. In spite of my awareness of our miserable present and inevitably doomed future, I didn’t really want to have an abortion. I wanted the man to love me or at least be forced to publicly acknowledge our relationship existed. But he didn’t want to have a baby with me, and I knew that having that baby would have been a terrible thing for my children. And for me.
This is how it really is, abortion: You do things you regret or don’t understand and then you make other choices because life keeps going forward. Or you do something out of love and then, through biology or accident, it goes inexplicably wrong, and you do what you can to cope. Or you do whatever you do, however you do it, for whatever reason, because that’s your experience.
It’s not Ms. Davis’s job to be groundbreaking, and I’m sorry that her personal reproductive history has to be declared and described (not to mention leveraged for votes). Do we approve of what she wanted? Did she suffer enough? These questions are not ours to ask.
We have to stop categorizing abortions as justified or unjustified. The best thing you can do if you support reproductive rights is to force people to realize that abortion is common, and the most common abortion is a five-to-15-minute procedure elected early in the first trimester by someone who doesn’t want to be pregnant or have a child. It’s our job to say it’s O.K. if that’s the end of the story. It’s O.K. if it’s boring or not traumatic or if you don’t even know what it was.
The reasons, the feelings, the personal contexts — these we can also talk about, but only after we grant to each woman the right to make and do with her body what she will. Regardless of whether or not a compelling story is on offer.