[Today’s blog post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com.]
Every now and then, during my research on abortion, I come across a quote or statement that just makes me shake my head. Such as this quote from a post-abortive woman named Sue Nathanson. Nathanson, a self-proclaimed feminist, apparently regrets her abortion. But she regrets it not because she lost her child, even though she acknowledges this fact. No, she wishes that her child could have been “sacrificed” in a more “compassionate and loving” environment:
I wish now that my fourth child could have been sacrificed with my love and tears, even with my own hands, in a circle of a family or community of women, in a circle of a compassionate and loving community of men and women who might be able to perceive my vulnerability as a mirror of their own, and not as it was, in a cold and lonely hospital room with instruments of steel.
Wow, what a lovely sentiment! She wishes that she could have killed her baby herself. It’s hard, as a pro-lifer, to understand this kind of mentality. However, it is a logical outgrowth of the pro-choice position. I have debated many pro-choicers, and I have found that many of the most hard-core ones are willing to admit that abortion takes a life. As shocking as this is, it is an argument that sometimes stops the debate cold – if your opponent thinks killing babies is okay, it’s hard to know what to say next. The argument they put forth is that of bodily autonomy – a woman has a right to kill her baby because the baby is residing in her body. This argument overlooks the fact that the child is an innocent victim who, in 99% of cases, was put there by a consensual act of the woman herself. (According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, only 1% of abortions are done because of rape or incest).
They claim that if the woman’s circumstances are bad, abortion is the best choice for both her and the baby. Under this mentality, killing can be compassionate – it can relieve the woman of a bad situation, and it might even be kind for the child as well, who does not have to grow up “unwanted.” Killing people to help them. What a twisted concept. Perhaps telling themselves that killing a baby is good for the baby is the only way that some of these pro-choicers can sleep at night.
If Nathanson’s idea of “love” is killing, I sincerely hope she never “loves” anyone else. Killing with love. Wishing you had killed your unborn baby with your own hands, because somehow that would be more “loving” and “compassionate” than having an abortionist do it? I’m not sure how many pro-choicers would flinch at this quote, maybe many of them – but Nathanson has obviously been persuaded by the most virulent and extreme pro-abortion rhetoric to come to the opinion she has. It is a truly twisted philosophy.
Editor’s Note: The idea of abortion as “sacrifice” seems to be becoming a minor theme in pro-abortion rhetoric. Sarah has actually written about it previously; in that article, an abortion worker talked about “respecting” abortion victims by “thanking [them] for [their] sacrifice so that the woman could continue on the path she was on.”
At the risk of sounding judgmental (oh, who am I kidding), this strange way of thinking about “sacrifice” always makes me think of Lord Farquaad from Shrek; specifically, this scene:
“Some of you may die… but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.” Yeah, that about sums it up.
With friends like her, who needs enemies….
Prolifers who've studied ancient near-east history occasionally draw various parallels between the gruesome ancient infant sacrifice practices and abortion. Doing so comes off as rhetorically extreme (despite legit commonalities)… and then pro-abortion-rightists go talking about sacrificing their kids. Unbefrickinleavable.
Is she wishing that her abortion environment was more warm and fuzzy, or is she imagining some sort of humanistic infanticide ritual?
I'm curious about the extenuating circumstances re: her fourth child. Wishing you'd killed it *after* you've already had it and presumably raised it for some amount of time? Not saying extenuating circumstances could justify abortion/infanticide, but it seems there are interesting details left out here.
Getting away from the "sacrifice" angle and getting back to a more basic level, we often hear, as the author reminds us, the argument that if we kill an unwanted baby before birth, it "does not have then to grow up 'unwanted.' Killing people to help them."
I think that it is possible, sometimes, to determine that there's a high probability (never a certainty) that an unborn child will end up leading an unhappy life. But if it is possible to predict with near certainty that an unborn child will have an unhappy life, then it is equally possible to predict the same for many two-year-olds. Yet we do not kill two-year-olds. Sometimes we can be pretty sure that they will lead unhappy lives, but we don't kill them. Why not? Maybe because there's always that possibility that things will work out for them? Let's just say that a voice within tells us that killing is not the solution.
Some people do not hear that same voice regarding unborn children, but that's because they haven't thought deeply about the reality of what an unborn child is.
Note: In terms of arguments for abortion based on the burden on the mother, it is true that an unborn baby cannot be fully compared to a baby outside the mother’s body; because a baby inside the mother is a burden on her in some unique ways. But in terms of an argument of mercy killing (the argument that abortion is actually a mercy to the child), there is no difference between an unborn baby and a two-year-old or four-year-old.
"This argument overlooks the fact that the child is an innocent victim
who, in 99% of cases, was put there by a consensual act of the woman
Well, the woman and her partner, we must never forget. 🙂
There's also sex that might not get described, even by the woman, as rape, that isn't really consensual either. I'm thinking, for instance, of a woman who's financially dependent on an abusive partner. The sex she's having isn't necessarily sex she'd be having if she had a truly free choice. So it's important to be careful and compassionate in this area, and to work on educating everyone about enthusiastic consent and getting people out of abusive relationships.
Mercy killing based on outside judgments about a "happy" life doesn't just muddle the issue between an unborn baby and a two year old, but it muddles the issue for all of us. Many countries have gone down this road in the past, and abortion is one of the last places where this mentality is still accepted in the US. There are countries where "cleansing" cities of street people is not so uncommon– Columbia for example. I remember not too long ago watching a documentary where a seemingly compassionate pro-choice mother claimed she had just seen a homeless guy and thought "that's exactly why we need abortion." By compassionate, I mean, she wasn't raging for the right to abort all babies, and she believed her children's life started at conception, yet she still bought into the idea that some lives aren't worth living simply by a few moments of superficial judgment of a person she knew nothing about.
Wish I could like this comment several times. Well said. 🙂
First of all, great article! Second of all, Shrek is such an awesome movie. I'm just really happy every time it's mentioned.
There could also be a lot of coercion on the part of the partner.
I can appreciate that but I don't think if a woman being i an abusive relationship would be an excuse for her to kill a baby. Otherwise yes education and resources are needed; something many PL's won't advocate.
Very good post.
"Mercy killing based on outside judgments about a "happy" life doesn't just muddle the issue between an unborn baby and a two year old, but it muddles the issue for all of us."
Yep. Heck, using the rationale of mercy killing, someone could even argue that the Holocaust (or at least a large part of it) was morally justifiable because it eliminated the risk of having these millions of people suffer for decades under Communist rule later on.
Yes, the argument of killing due to mercy is an especially poor one for pro-choicers to use.
Abortion most certainly has the goal of ending a life. However, since it is the life of a mere animal organism, in no way inherently better than the life of, say, a tuna (fish), why all the fuss? Because abortion opponents are Stupidly Prejudiced, of course. Tsk, tsk!
You're joking, right?
Not in the slightest am I joking. A fish is ONLY an animal organism. An unborn human is ONLY an animal organism. If you want to claim it is more than that, let's see some EVIDENCE supporting the claim!
Just for the record, I was an unwanted child. In fact, my mother thought it was amusing to keep telling stories about how horrified she and my dad were to find out they were pregnant with me just as their next-youngest child had gone into full-day school. I'm glad they didn't get to "sacrifice" me. 😀
alright here is some very basic reasoning for you.
is it growing/ fulfilling the basic functions of life? you called it and "organism" so you obviously agree it is alive. Next, are its parents human? i think its safe to assume so. and the animal organism is human also. 2 humans having sex will not produce a dog or a cat or a tuna fish.
so if it is alive, and it is human, then ought not it be afforded the rights to life like an other human?
I already stated that abortion has the goal of ending a life. So does fishing for a tuna. What's the big deal, when both are MERE ANIMAL organisms? The "humaness" of the one animal? Then, like I already wrote, the foundation of your argument is nothing more than STUPID PREJUDICE.
Nothing you have written indicates that the unborn human is in any sense more than just a mere animal organism.
I don't think you were unwanted. I think the word you should use is unplanned since I am guessing your parents love you and are happy you are here.
So now you are inventing ways to demonize pro choicers. This is so much like the religious pro-lifers.