Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What place for the woman's suffering then? [Jay]

In light of the earlier post concerning Dr. Beckwith’s public statements about the mistake in arguing that abortion is wrong because of the emotional impact on post abortive women, I hoped it would not be inappropriate to comment on this issue a little further.

Let me start by saying I think that abortion is wrong because it is immoral to terminate the life of an innocent human being for elective reasons. The unborn are innocent human beings, therefore it is morally wrong to terminate the lives of the unborn for elective reasons. That is my argument for why abortion is wrong. A friend of mine who is wicked smart and passionately pro-life gave a presentation where she discussed the many negative consequences of abortion. The problem with this line of argument in my mind is that stipulating that all of those things are true (post abortion stress, abortion/breast cancer links, etc) none of them speak to the question of, "Why is abortion wrong?" If they are incontrovertible facts, they do not make abortion more wrong. If they were proven to be absolute fabrications abortion is no more acceptable. Even if there were no negative emotional side effects, even if abortion produced improved physical health in women, and if every woman who ever had an abortion felt self satisfied and complete all the days of her life, abortion is morally wrong. The action against the unborn and the identity of the unborn are the issues. If the other assertions are true they only serve to demonstrate that abortion is an immoral action with terrible secondary consequences.

So what place for the suffering of women then? I do think that there is a strong argument that the proper place to discuss the suffering of women as a result of abortion in the United States is in an appeal to the uninvolved masses that are only sympathetically pro-life. I am not advocating the championing of the specifics of PAS, but I do think it is vital to focus those who see this as a women’s issue or an election issue on the inescapable fact that an alarming number of American women are personally touched by abortion. The restoration of these women is an issue that must be addressed not because their emotional state proves abortion morally wrong, but because they are valuable human beings themselves. As to my use of the broad term "suffering" being used to describe the women of America on this issue, I admit that I categorize suffering differently than others. Some women suffer psychologically from abortion while many others will attest that they feel it was the best decision that they ever made in their lives. I do categorize a woman who considers the killing of her unborn child as her greatest moment of decision making as suffering from something terrible.

Many people tell me that they see abortion as an issue unrelated to their daily living. I hope that pointing out to those who are, as yet, unmotivated to action that they are seeing the face of abortion every day in their churches and personal lives might stir them to consider it more frequently than every election cycle. I could be wrong, though.


  1. Jay,
    I think you're spot -on with your observations here. More importantly, I think you brought some much needed balance to my earlier post on the topic.

    My own view, which I might have done well to state prior, is that post-abortion syndrome (PAS) is real for some women and hardly noticable for others, perhaps many others. Still, if only 5% of women riding in SUVs began compalining about something called "big-auto riders fatiuge syndrome(BARF-sorry!), the media would be all over it and auto manufactuers would be forced to spend millions addressing it and handing out apologies.

    So yes, we should do post-abortion ministry and may it grow.

    My only concern is who leads our public education campaigns. Is it women holding signs that say "I regret my abortion" or pro-lifers of all stripes communicating the moral logic of our view? The latter establishes the truth of our position, the former attest to what happens personally when that logic is ignored.

    Both are needed, but as you say, abortion remains wrong even if there are no negative side effects.

  2. Abortion hurts women because it kills their children. The coin has two sides. You can't kill a woman's child without killing a part of her.


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