Abortion and Holocaust comparisons

November 10, 2008 | 73 comments

This is a Part II to my post from last Wednesday. (*) = link contains photo or video of an abortion or its results.

A little over a year ago, shortly after I converted to the pro-life position from being rabidly pro-choice, I started to come across pro-life writing in which abortion was compared to the Holocaust. I balked at such comparisons. The rhetorical strategy of comparing whoever you dislike to Hitler and any kind of oppression you disagree with to the Holocaust is as weak as it is offensive, and I didn’t like to see pro-lifers stooping to that level.

The injustice I sensed in the comparison was that the victims of the Holocaust experienced a level of suffering that is unparalleled in the human experience, a kind of suffering that no unborn baby, even the victims of late-term abortions, would or could ever know. During the Nazi reign mothers had toddlers torn from their arms to be sent to their deaths or, perhaps worse, walked hand-in-hand with their children into gas chambers. Millions of people were yanked from their homes, shoved into cattle cars, then starved, shot, gassed, and subjected to sick medical experiments — and they all knew it was coming.

Ever since I learned about the events of the Nazi Holocaust in grade school not a week has gone by that I don’t think of its victims and feel a little queasy to imagine what they went thorough. To minimize the horror that took place there is unconscionable, and I detest loose comparisons to the Holocaust.

One thing that has surprised me, then, as I’ve researched the pro-life position further, is that I do see a critical similarity between abortion and the Holocaust. To be very clear, I do not think it’s the same thing. I do not think that they are directly analogous in every way. But I do think that both scourges are born of the same seed, and that it is not only appropriate but important to highlight what that is.

Radio Silence

As I looked more closely into the issue of abortion, one thing that struck me as odd is that you hear so little about the details of it in the media. One of the unfortunate hallmarks of our modern media is a zeal for reporting ratings-boosting stories of graphic crimes (the expression “if it bleeds, it leads” being common wisdom at modern newsdesks). From the local news to primetime shows like 20/20 and Dateline to much of the programming on networks like A&E and TruTV, salacious stories of blood and gore, cruelty and violence are recounted in detail, sometimes even showing photos of the bodies of murder victims.

These same camera crews probably wouldn’t even have to drive two miles to get shots of arms and legs and heads in medical waste bags* outside their local abortion clinics, yet you never hear anything about it. Shocking stories of murder and drama and coverups, such the Shanice Osbourne story, get zero airtime so long as they happen within the walls of an abortion clinic. The footage from the Spanish TV crew that filmed an abortion* that included shots of chubby little arms and legs stacked on a medical tray* was not picked up here. When the documents from the Supreme Court case of Stenberg v. Carhart were released, the following grizzly testimony was given by abortion doctor Leroy Carhart:

The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off. Dr. Carhart agreed that “[w]hen you pull out a piece of the fetus, let’s say, an arm or a leg and remove that, at the time just prior to removal of the portion of the fetus…the fetus [is] alive.” Dr. Carhart has observed fetal heartbeat via ultrasound with “extensive parts of the fetus removed, ” and testified that mere dismemberment of a limb does not always cause death because he knows of a physician who removed the arm of a fetus only to have the fetus go on to be born “as a living child with one arm.”

It was met by the sound of the proverbial crickets chirping

The more I thought about it, the more I found it to be an odd inconsistency that in our modern world where we love gore and sensationalism, the horror and drama that take place in abortion clinics in every major city every day are met with complete radio silence.

Inconsistent Terms

The inconsistencies weren’t only in the media.

I’ve mentioned before that I did a lot of looking the other way when I was pro-choice. I never watched a video of an abortion* to get a good look at just what I was supporting, and just rolled my eyes when those lunatic pro-lifers put pictures of aborted fetuses in my face. I went into more detail here about the psychology behind it, but even glimpses of bloody little severed arms* from first-trimester abortion photos didn’t raise my heart rate when I saw them — because they were just photos of “fetuses.”

Yet I noticed that when I became pregnant with my first child, I wasn’t terrified of losing the “fetus” to miscarriage; I was terrified of losing the baby. When I was 10 weeks pregnant I didn’t buy a handheld Doppler so that I could lie in bed and listen to the “clump of tissue”‘s heartbeat; I was listening to my child’s heartbeat.

When my doctor first told me that I was pregnant, I remember her asking me what vitamins I was taking. I told her about a brand I liked from Whole Foods, and she cut me off in mid-sentence to give me a stern lecture. It was my responsibility to look out for this little person, she told me, and proceeded to inform me of all the amazing development my baby was going through right now. She gave me a prescription for superior vitamins and rattled off a list of dietary changes I needed to make to nourish my baby.

Less than a year later an acquaintance went to this same doctor with a surprise pregnancy that she did not want. The doctor assured her that the procedure for expelling the “fetus” was a simple one and scheduled her for an abortion. This woman was at the same stage of pregnancy as I had been at that first visit, but the word “baby” was not used at her appointment. I was offered an ultrasound to see my new child with my own eyes; she was not.

I once visited a friend’s baby who was born prematurely in a local hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and became dizzy when I realized that these children, with the little cards and decorations on their incubators, these precious little boys and girls who had names and moms and dads, were the “fetuses” described in late-second-trimester abortion medical literature. It would be a horror to think of someone reaching into one of glass cribs and harming one of these children, yet to kill them in the most gruesome of ways was legal and accepted as long as it was called an “abortion.” When I was exposed to videos of doctors smiling when talking about such practices (and acknowledging that they’re often performed for non-dire reasons) and applauding their colleagues when it was demonstrated live [MP3], I felt ill; when I saw the smooth, euphemistic terms abortion clinics used to describe their procedures in their literature and then compared that to the accurate details of what actually happens in those procedures without the glossy terms, I felt like I was surrounded by widespread misinformation and deception.

I began to notice that as a culture, by default, we consider new life in the womb to be babies — precious children. But as soon as they get inconvenient we downgrade them to “fetuses” and exile them from human society. It was around this time that I began to see the common thread between abortion and the Nazi Holocaust.

The Root

The practice of abortion is far different from what took place in the Nazi concentration camps.

Even in later-stage abortions, infants don’t experience the horror of knowing ahead of time that they’ve been marked for execution. They don’t know what’s happening to them as they’re dismembered or burned with chemicals (or, as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends, delivered alive and killed outside the womb so that their bone fragments and “free-floating heads” don’t cause complications). And though we have video* of babies at 12 weeks pulling their heads back, moving their arms and legs and contorting their bodies to avoid abortionists’ instruments before they’re killed, we can be certain that at their young age they experienced nowhere near the level of sickening dread that the people in the concentration camp barracks lived with every day.

What I came to see, though, was that for all the many differences, there is one thing that is the same about the Holocaust and the modern practice of abortion, and it is something critical:

At the root of both scourges is a particular strain of evil, the most virulent that the devil possesses. It is the kind of evil that works to take away the humanity of human beings. It whispers in the ears of one group of people that a certain other group of people are something less than human, less worthy of life because of race or religion or physical ability or age. And once this is accomplished, once a group of people have been thoroughly dehumanized in the mind of their society, evil can run wild while the populace yawns.

From personal experience, I came to see why it is so very important to always be on the lookout for this most insidious, malignant type of evil that spawned both the Holocaust and the modern abortion movement: because it is the kind that allows normal people like you and me to look at the corpses of our fellow human beings*, to know that they’re piling up around us, and shrug.


  1. Serena

    I’m not quite sure what to say, except that I really appreciate everything you write. You put into words what I can’t. The double-standard that the world has regarding abortion is sick. It’s so easy for us to justify our sins.

  2. Isle Dance


    Legalizing “procedures” creates acceptance.



    After all, why be burdened with reality?

    Keep blogging.

  3. chickadee@afamiliarpath

    you have such a way of writing that i wish i had. i am so glad you are talking about this. you’re right-this needs to be out there. on the news, on the radio, in the papers every day. maybe it will start in the blog world.

  4. Bender

    Much to say here, but only a few thoughts for now.

    Parallels between abortion and the Final Solution and related programs are not as strong as between euthanasia and assisted suicide on the one hand and the Final Solution*, etc. on the other, but there are definitely undeniable parallels. Both abortion and the programs of the National Socialists share the idea of the untermenschen, the sub-human or non-human who can be morally exterminated. Both also arise out of the same root of medical utilitarianism. Both have the medical profession at the center. Both arise out of the same idea of the “will to power.”

    Also, we tread dangerous ground when we think of Hitler and Nazi atrocities as being singular epitomes of evil, such that nothing we do could ever approach such depravity. The fact is, despite the cries of “never again,” such horrors have been repeated over and over and over throughout human history. Look to a prior “Year Zero” in Cambodia, which brought about the extermination of millions. Or look to Rwanda, where hundreds of thousands were hacked to death by machetes because they were from the wrong socio-economic group and, thus, called “cockroaches” by those who slaughtered them.

    Hitler and the Nazis were not singular evils. To think of them as such is to provide cover to excuse our own complicity in evil. No one could ever be that evil and, thus, there could be no other evil of any type, and we certainly could never be guilty of such evil.

    But dead is dead and evil is evil. We could be guilty of such evil, we can be guilty of such evil, we are guilty of such evil.

    * The German euthanasia programs (promoted as acts of mercy) were the direct predecessors to the Final Solution, indeed, the poisoned showers were first implemented in mental hospitals before being moved to the concentration camps.

  5. Bender

    It should be noted that the German medical profession and the National Socialists appropriated many of their murderous ideas from the eugenic and related movements in Great Britain and the United States.

  6. Jane @ What About Mom?

    I struggled with the abortion question recently after Palin became the VP candidate. I’d always been pro-life, but my church admits the common exceptions of rape, incest, and the mother’s life being in danger, and so did I. Pro-life but not extreme, if you will.

    I didn’t even know that there were pro-life people who took exception to these exceptions.

    But if I think of a “fetus” as a human being, as anyone who is remotely pro-life usually will, then these exceptions make no sense whatsoever. Who are we to say that a mother whose life is in danger has more right to live than the fetus/baby inside her? If we submit to God’s will, it seems that He should be making those decisions.

    The exceptions seem to me to be a way to waffle forever.

    (And thank you for warning of the abortion pictures. I can’t bear to click on them. Just imagining is enough, thank you.)

  7. Carrien

    Chilling post, and important.

    I am wondering what you would say to those who accuse the pro-life movement of being “anti-abortion but not truly pro-life since they don’t really have a plan to take care of women with unplanned pregnancies and their babies if abortion isn’t legal.”

    I’ve been having conversations like this recently, and wondered what your take would be.

  8. Wayne

    Thank you for your post.

    I have added a link to your post from Genocide on the unborn in the USA

    Without getting the truth out innocent life will continue to suffer.

  9. Rebekka

    This is a gorgeous post about a chilling topic… I just wish I could get my non-Catholic husband to read it. 🙁

  10. Kylie w Warszawie

    Very good explaination. I understood what you were comparing the first time (the use of inhumane words to justify behavior, it’s been done many times all over the world).

    To be fair, most of those who were lead to the gas chamber (at least at Auschwitz) were lied to and told they were “showers”. I’ve been there and seen it. The railroad tracks end right there at the gas chamber. People were chosen to be gassed and taken directly to the gas chamber never to interact with the other prisoners. Had they known, it may have caused them to rise up against the oppressors, so the Nazis didn’t tell them.

  11. Deborah

    Wow. This (and clicking the links) should be required reading for all pro-choicers.

    Like you I was very much pro-choice until I became pregnant with my first daughter. I had a threatened miscarriage at around 6-8 weeks and knew in my heart that this was not just a cluster of cells and indeed when we saw those tiny little hands on the ultrasound it just backed up what I already knew. My stance on abortion had ultimately changed.

    Even if you take religion completely out of the equation, it is still innately wrong. We all know it, that’s why people don’t talk about it and desensitise themselves to what’s actually happening.

    I had never seen the graphic images and videos that you linked to and feel absolutely sick to my stomach. If you are going to support abortion you should be required to view all of that and if you still choose to support it well then good luck to you.

    Looking at those piles of baby parts evokes the exact same feeling of despair and horror in the pit of my stomach as does looking at piles of bodies in Holocaust pictures. No matter how you choose to look at it and compare it, I pity anyone who can see those pictures and not know abortion is wrong.

    I’m devastated. I just wish I’d seen them years ago.

  12. SuburbanCorrespondent

    Point taken, Jennifer. But the comparison still offends (for the reasons I stated), and (more importantly) prevents you from bridging the gap between the prolifers and the proabortionists.

    As I stated in my comment, the prolifers can be completely right and still not save any babies, so long as they don’t speak to the proabortionists on their terms. The issue here is how to persuade. Calling a frightened, desperate woman a murderer (and that’s what you are doing by waving a picture of a dismembered fetus in her face as she walks into a “clinic”) does not convert her and does not save her baby. It pushes her more deeply into denial.

    The prolife movement needs to change its tactics (or, rather, its emphasis) if it wants to save babies. At this point, outlawing abortion will not save babies. Reaching out in love to poor, misguided, abused women just might. We don’t have nearly enough pregnancy crisis centers available, we don’t have nearly enough people willing to stand in front of a clinic all day with offers of help (and not judgment).

    I have no idea how to reach the doctors. That seems almost hopeless. But we can at least reduce the demand for their nefarious services. And we’ll only do that by changing our tone.

  13. Lerin

    Your posts on abortion have been hitting home to so many of us, and I appreciate what you are doing for the pro-life cause. Stripping away the euphemisms and posting images of what abortion truly IS can only lead to conversion of hearts.

    Unless… their hearts are already too hardened against the preborn babies to listen. As I read the comments left to you and at other websites by pro-abortion, I think there is a point where they make the choice to turn away from the images, to roll their eyes and declare you fanatical.

    But as Mother Teresa says… God doesn’t ask us to be succesful. He asks us to be faithful.

    Bless you and your family… and many prayers fopr the conversion of hearts in this nation.

  14. Joanne

    This post makes many great points, but I strongly agree with Suburban Correspondent on this one.

    Nobody WANTS to have an abortion, no matter how pro-choice they are. Anyone who is considering an abortion must be pretty desperate, even if they are pro-choice. Making abortion against the law will not stop abortions — women will just have them done illegally or travel to places where they can be done legally.

    But if making abortion against the law won’t stop abortions, then what will? It will be much more complicated. I think a good start would be to make our culture more family and kid-friendly. Our culture right now is set up to be geared mostly towards adults, not families. I can see why a young woman with a crisis pregnancy would feel that “her life would be over” if she were to have a child.

  15. Liz

    The question of the doctors is one that has puzzled me for years. When I was pregnant with my daughter and was threatened with a very early delivery due to a placenta previa my obstetrician was nothing short of wonderful. She hospitalized me for the remainder of the pregnancy. Each day when she came into my room she would pat my growing belly and say, “Good morning, baby.” I knew nothing of her politics, and finding a high risk doctor who was openly pro-life was impossible in our area. Still I was shocked the week before my daughter was born to discover that my wonderful doctor was the head of Physicians for Pro-Choice in our state and routinely did abortions in her office. How could this be? How could she recognize the humanity of my baby and kill all those others? I didn’t understand it then, I don’t understand it now. How does what the mother want determine someone’s right to live or whether they are a baby or a clump of cells?

    Still we must have concern for not only mothers and babies, but the doctors as well. There are doctors who once were rabidly pro-abortion, who did hundreds or even thousands of abortions who are now, by the grace of God, pro-life. We need to pray for them. We need to extend compassion to the mothers, and not just at the moment of decision, but later on when they are struggling with a newborn or a toddler without the support they need. We need to become truly a people of life.

    It costs to be truly pro-life. It may mean hours and hours of your time sitting at the bed of an elderly person, or doing laundry and housework for a young mother. It may well consist of things that most people don’t notice at all. It may be more dramatic to get arrested at a clinic, but providing meals and housework for a struggling young mom faced with a second or third unexpected pregnancy and few resources may be what is actually needed. Of course it won’t get any press and people will still say that pro-lifers only care about the mother carrying the baby to term because they won’t notice what you do at all.

    Little by little bit by bit we can change the world and people’s attitudes, but it’s going to require us to do more than talk.

    Still I think Jen has really hit the nail on the head here. As a society we have turned our heads and looked away.

  16. Jill Davis Doughtie

    I think abortion needs to be fought first by making it less socially acceptable. The money that is spent right now on fighting abortion politically might be better spent on pro-life advertising and public relations. I think the way our society thinks about abortion needs to change substantially before the choices we make change and the laws we make for ourselves change.

    This is a powerful post. Thanks for writing it. It affected me, and it changed my thinking a bit.

  17. meta

    To those who don’t think passing laws is an effective way to reduce abortions:

    U.S. Abortion Rate Lowest Since 1974, Guttmacher Report Says.

    Interesting that that decline happened during the Bush Administration with the ban of partial birth abortions, parental notification laws and other laws (all of which the Freedom of Choice Act would nullify), don’t you think? Yes, this article sites more than just laws for the decline, but still, you can’t help but wonder why they didn’t go down while Clinton was in office.

  18. Faith

    To take up some of the points Sub Corr brought up: the tone has changed considerably over the last few years, at least. I just participated for the second time in 40 Days for Life which is peaceful witnessing and prayer in front of abortion clinics and apparently some women did choose not to have abortions and one clinic in TX I think is closing down. You’ll have to check their website. There are women who have stepped forward to say they regret their abortions in order to save those contemplating abortion from the pain and guilt they have suffered. There are crisis pregnancies centers (woefully underfunded. Crisis pregnancy centers don’t get funding like PP) and I have a distinct impression that though our tax dollars may be used to provide abortions they can not be used to provide crisis pregnancy centers (is that impression wrong? Not sure of myself on this point. Can anyone tell me if I’m right?). Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that the very changes you are suggesting have been part of the prolife movement for years but you don’t seem to be aware of them. Now to be sure, we could make these changes a lot more profound in the movement and I think that would be the best way to go.

    If you get your news from the MSM you won’t learn much of what is positive in the Pro-life movement; however if you are connected to the pro-life movement in a tangible way, you will see that there has been for several years a real focus on charity in trying to change people’s minds one person at a time especially in the Arlington diocese. We have the Gabriel Project, Rachael’s Vineyard, HOPE house, Tepeyac Center, etc.

    If you are at all familar with Priests for Life, you will see that they are dually focused on the the big arena of public policy as well as on trying to convert one heart at a time. If you go to Priests for Life you can read at least 8 testimonials of abortion providers who have changed their minds. And they don’t include abortionist Bernard Nathanson, the atheist/Jewish doctor who co-founded NARAL, but gradually came to realize that abortion was murder. He made the movie The Silent Scream because he felt that if people knew that the fetus could feel pain, they would reject abortion. He admits to aborting his own child. He says that one reason that he changed his mind was the dedication and love he saw among the pro-life protestors.

    The thing is, it is very easy to criticize the failure of the pro-life movement to change the hearts of Americans. It is very easy to get offended by their tactics, but unless every single person who claims to be prolife gets out there and strives to change things then I think those folks are part of the problem (I include myself in this group). Mere criticism and lip service won’t save babies.

    So the challenge to each of us individually is to ask ourselves: What will I do this week to fight for an innocent baby’s life? What will I do every week to try and change the culture? We can write letters and blog posts, we can be a peaceful presence outside of local abortion clinics, we can become sidewalk counsellors, we can donate time or money to a crisis pregnancy center, we can mentor a young mother to be who chose not to abort, whatever we can give we should give and give often, vigorously, to the point of personal sacrifice. It is the least we can do for those innocent lives.

  19. Nzie

    Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

    As a student of genocide (prevention, not practice, I assure you!), I think there are a number of valid comparisons to be made. A comparison does not mean things are the same, but that there are similarities which may point to an overall trend.

    The trend here is a disregard for human life. The Nazis saw abortion, sterilisation and euthanasia, as well as the death camps, as a way of getting rid of undesirables. For them, these were Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, communists, homosexuals, disabled persons, etc. In our time, is this really all that different? African Americans make up somewhere between 10-13% of the US population, but they make up a much higher proportion of abortions. Most abortion clinics are located in low-income minority neighborhoods. And as cited by someone else earlier, 90% of children with Down Syndrome are aborted.

    Is this an accident? I don’t say that people believe they are exterminating entire groups. They think they’re helping. But that doesn’t change what is happening. Margaret Sanger was openly racist and stated her belief that abortion was a good way of getting rid of Black people. Marie Stopes in the UK saw it as a way of getting rid of lower (working) classes (and she wrote Hitler letters of admiration before the war broke out). These things go together! Sanger and Stopes knew they did, and they agreed with it. It’s all rooted in eugenics, that if we can weed out the undesirables from the gene pool and society, we can create some sort of utopia. I guess it might feel nice to live in a world of pretty people, but what a price, how bereft we will be!

    Can we eliminate abortion through legislation? Probably not. But allowing it isn’t going to help, either.

    I highly recommend reviewing these Eight Stages of Genocide at Genocide Watch. They’re not entirely applicable, but pretty darn close.

  20. Katie

    Powerful and disturbing post, Jennifer. Thank you for posting it.

  21. Renee

    Seen multiple ultrasounds of my own children. #4 was a surprise to me and I remember getting an ultrasound to get a due-date. A year ago I didn’t even know I pregnant, and wouldn’t for several weeks. Now I have a four month old. My child isn’t an extra, a spare, or a burden. He’s unique individual and was from the moment of his conception, before I was even aware of his existence. My obligation is to him, as to my other children. I do not love one child over another, simply because she or he was planned or because it took cycles of trying over being a surprise.

    People say children aren’t respectful to adults, but I’ve always wonder is it because we live in a culture that in which we are not respectful to children. Children are seen as burdens to not only to a mother but to the whole society even a threat to the environment. When it is convenient to society’s script we tell a woman it isn’t a child. Children, especially teenagers, who are seen to be uncivilized are witnessing adults very own selfishness are simply mirroring the actions of those who are suppose to guide them.

  22. Elizabeth

    Thanks for the post, Jennifer. I think much of it comes down to the approach people have to ethics. As I was taught, way back in high school, there is a tension between the deontological and the consequentialist approaches. The consequentialist approach would encourage (certainly from the Christian viewpoint and also from many others) a focus on suffering. Of course, it can also be used to justify abortion. The deontological approach focuses more on the offense against personhood, the taking away of the right to life. A Catholic approach incorporates both, but ultimately the deontological aspect sets limits that can’t be crossed.

    When it comes to the pro-life movement, the comparisons with the Holocaust make more sense from the deontological viewpoint (as your post has demonstrated) than from the consequentialist viewpoint. I think suburban correspondent’s comments really bring this out and get to the heart of the problem. Equating the levels of suffering of victims of the Holocaust and victims of abortion doesn’t make sense within the consequentialist framework usually used to justify abortion in the first place. So yes, there is a real communication problem.

    The question then is, how to deal with it? How can the pro life movement craft a message that means something, that hooks onto the way people think about themselves, their place, their rights and responsibilities in society?

  23. rtb

    @Joanne and SuburbanC-

    I see the points you’re making, and I agree that this strategy won’t be effective with everyone. Yes, many women who have an abortion do so regretfully and with much pain, and showing them photos such as these will only increase the pain. Those who protest/counsel at abortion clinics need to show much more compassion and care, and as someone else has pointed out, many of these street counselors do. The MSM only shows us the fanatics on the pro-life side.

    That being said, I think the strategy here would be most effective with those who have never had an abortion and say they never would, but don’t think much (if at all) about the reality of abortion. The targets of arguments such as this one should be the indifferent, not those who have had to suffer through an abortion. For most of the latter group, the horror of abortion is all too real. The ones who need to be moved by arguments like this are those who don’t even think about the issue or realize the gravity of the situation.

    Just my $.02

  24. Anonymous

    Meta..do you think that the abortion rate has dropped due to the baby boomer/pro abortion women are heading toward menopause and the fact most women in that age group had smaller (if any) families? I had read somewhere that the average age of abortion providers is in the 60’s and few people are going into that specialty…Katrina

  25. Lalycairn

    Wow. I have very little to add to your well thought out, and well voiced post and the comments that follow.

    There is a strong “grass roots” movement out there for supporting those who choose life, but it never gets reported. I know several people who’ve invited girls gtruggling with their decision into their homes, supported themthrough out the pregnancy and afterword.

    The pregnancy care center where I work has ongoing clsses for moms of infants, toddler and preschoolers. We hook them up with WIC, give them points for coming to class which they can then use towards everything from diapers to toys to pacifiers and formula.

    Unfortunately, what little bits of public funding the PCC’s have gotten will be wiped out by our president elect. I wish he could see the good that is being done.

  26. Diane L. Harris

    Jennifer, I thank God for not only the massive talent He’s given you, but the desire He has planted in your heart to use that talent for His glory. You may not realize yet where God is taking you, but continue to let Him lead. Surely there are few writers who could have handled this topic as deftly as you have here.

    By the way, I visited just to let you know I mentioned you on my blog in yesterday’s post (11/9).

    Diane L. Harris

  27. Gretchen

    Suburban Correspondent pushes the idea that horrific pictures of dead babies will only harden a woman in her denial. Bunk. As someone who has had an abortion, I can tell you categorically that being presented with the truth of what I was about to do would’ve stopped me cold. As lonely and desperate and coerced as many women are, they are not cold-blooded, and if shown the truth I am convinced most will make great efforts to save their babies. Also, the idea that we should not try to legislate against murder is downright blind. Abortion is murder. Let us show it for what it is, and let us shout it out for what it is. We now have forty years of a very one-sided education on abortion, let us not continue in such a way.

    This is not the time to be delicate in our sensibilities. The pro-abortion contingent has managed to control the message for many years and to mock and denigrate the pro-life movement. A level playing field would do much to save babies.

    I happen to live in Margaret Sanger’s hometown. The local Planned Parenthood is named for her. The local corporation that employs thousands here is staunchly pro-abortion (giving generously to keep the clinic open), as is the newspaper, and many Catholics. I just joined our local Respect Life committee, which is a muted group, afraid to challenge the status quo and go up against one of our priests (who tows the liberal line) as well as our parish staff. The fear is palpable. We do not even have a budget from the parish to do something as simple as hold a talk. Fr. Jay Scott Newman likens the the abortion issue of the 21st century to the slavery issue of the 19th century, saying it is the preeminent civil rights issue of today.

    This is a spiritual war for the souls of women and the lives of unborn babies. We must fight it along those lines and not along the lines of enervated diplomacy. The time for diplomacy is long past.

  28. Betty Beguiles

    A Square Peg:

    To borrow from the Pro-Life Alliance…

    “The fact that each of us possesses a full and unique set of human DNA from the moment of
    conception is irrefutable proof that we are members of the human race or ‘persons.'”

    I have to agree with that. Where do you draw the line? Are they not human until the take their first breath? Until a heartbeat can be detected? If you’re not sure, how can you in good conscience support an act which could be the killing of a human? When in doubt, we all must err on the side of life.

  29. Brian

    Let me start off by saying that I am “rabidly pro-choice”, so you of course I don’t completely agree with your analogy.

    First of all, your whole argument is based on the premise that terminating a zygote, embryo, or fetus is morally equal to killing a person who was born. This premise is accepted by pro-lifers, but not by pro-choicers. If you could convince me that a fetus is equal to a born human, then I would agree with you that abortion would qualify as genocide, but I, along with many other pro-choicers believe that the fetus is not a full person yet.

    “During the Nazi reign mothers had toddlers torn from their arms to be sent to their deaths…”
    The interesting thing about this quote (second paragraph of blog entry) is that it specifies that the Nazis forced the children to die against the mothers’ will. That makes the analogy to abortion because the pro-choice position, as you know, is about choice, specifically the choice of the mother to to determine what goes on inside her body. You may not agree with me that abortion isn’t murder, but I don’t think you can deny that an abortion is the mother’s decision. It’s not like a doctor holds a gun to a woman’s head amd leads her to an abortion clinic.

    Radio Silence:
    So why doesn’t the media discuss abortion?
    1) As you suggest, the job of the media is to inform the public, rather than entertain. But is there anyone who needs to be informed that abortions are taking place? Have you ever met someone who wasn’t aware that abortions were legal?
    2) The most reliable news sources are objective. In other words, if you present one side of an issue, you have to present the other side too. If a news source were to present a story like the one you suggest, it would lose its objectivity unless it came out with a story explaining that abortions are necessary.
    3) Some aborted fetus pictures/videos look disgusting. But this is unimportant for two reasons: a) Just because something looks bad doesn’t mean it is bad. I’ve seen open heart surgeries that were much more disgusting, but I’ve never heard anybody complain about open heart surgery. b) By far, the majority of abortions take place in the first trimester. The pictures that “bleed” and therefore “lead” are of abortions late in the pregnancy. The average abortion would not involve removing limbs.

    Inconsistent Terms:
    You felt that your gestating fetus was worth as much as a fully developed baby in your eyes and that’s great to hear. (I would never criticize a mother’s love for a child.) But abortions are performed based on a mother’s decision after careful thought. It’s not as if women get abortions for the hell of it. Rather, it tends to be because of some unforseen circumstance or inabiility to raise a child. Pro-choice women also care for their developing fetuses. If pro-choicers had something against fetuses in general, they would never see obstetricians. (I can assure you that they do see them.)

    You went on to mention that doctors use euphemisms to describe aspects of abortion. In reality, though, these phrases are accurate medical terms:
    Induced abortion – means exactly what it sound like
    Luteal phase pregnancy termination – ending pregnancy while the woman has yet to reach her missed period and is stil in the stage of the menstrual cycle known as the luteal phase
    First trimester pregnancy termination – first trimester abortion
    mid-trimester abortion – second trimester abortion
    non-surgical abortion with mifepristone – inducing an abortion with a hormone called mifepristone
    None of these terms from the link in the blog are misleading. You shouldn’t realistically expect them to refer to procedures by ridiculous names to scare the patient.

    As for your comment about downgrading to fetuses: The term fetus always has been the accurate medical term for an in-utero organism.

    Your last section of the blog entry is more about subjective descriptions of painful-looking procedures. You say that the fetus doesn’t know what’s going on. If that’s the case, then it feels little to no pain, which I’m sure you’d agree is preferable.

  30. Ouiz

    Fantastic article… and I’m left asking, “Lord Jesus, what do You want me to do?” I pray, I cry, I speak out… but what else am I supposed to do?

  31. Anne Marie

    A square peg:

    “I feel there is no way to know for sure when a “clump of cells” becomes what I think of as a baby. When there is a brain and a heart and fingers and toes? Then it’s easy for me to see a baby, and easy for me to be horrified at the thought of that baby being killed.”

    If you aren’t sure is there any reason not to err on the side of life? For those who are more sure about the question of when life begins we feel a tremendous burden to protect our fellow human beings, small though they may be. They have no one else to protect them, no one to speak up for them, no one to care that they exist but those in the pro life movement and the God who created them.

    The period of gestation is not what makes a person human. The unique human person with a complete set of genetic material outlining everything from eye color to IQ exists from the moment of conception.

  32. sarah p

    Another amazing and profound post. Thank you. I wish I had the courage to share my views in the same way.

    I agree with what many of your commenters have already said. It’s a pity the fight against abortion has become a religious one. Even as an atheist I was vehemently against abortion (except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger). I also think the tactics and language being used by pro-life people are more harmful than good. Having said that, I don’t think anything will get through to some doctors and women. They clearly have no instincts to protect the human race, and so no call to humanity will move them. And although their inhumanity is extreme, they create a culture where desperate, misinformed, desensitized women can undergo abortions with the confidence they are doing nothing wrong.

    Abortion has been around for thousands of years. But what we are seeing these days, the extremes of it, the outright murder, is terrifying.

  33. j. christian

    while I believe a “fetus” is a baby, I feel there is no way to know for sure when a “clump of cells” becomes what I think of as a baby.

    Square Peg,

    Wouldn’t you agree, though, that a matter as important as the right to life should be based on objective reasons rather than subjective ones? It doesn’t matter when any of us thinks of it as a baby; it only matters if it *is* a human life, which science pretty clearly demonstrates that it is.

    Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a very well-reasoned argument for this regarding embryonic stem cell research; here’s the key excerpt:

    For many people, it is obvious that the embryo is not a person. It has no limbs, no eyes, no awareness. Many times people have said that the embryo “does not look like a human being.” It has fewer human qualities, columnist Michael Kinsley has said, than an insect. But scientists are not interested in stem cells taken from the embryos of another species; it is precisely the fact that they are human that makes these embryos valuable. In any case, the one-celled human embryo looks exactly like a human being—it looks like a human being at that stage of development. Every human being on the face of the earth once looked like that.

    Our moral sentiments are an indispensable prop to our moral conduct. Many times, we can see that an injustice is being done without having to think too hard about it. But moral sentiments are not an unfailing guide to justice. Much of the task of a moral education is to train the sentiments to accord with justice. It is very easy for human beings to assume that others who do not “look like us” do not have any rights that we must respect—especially when ignoring their rights offers, or seems to offer, benefits to us. We need to think about the human embryo, not just look at it and conclude it is worthless except as an object of research.

    We know that the embryo is alive, not dead or inanimate. We know that it is not just alive the way that one of our skin cells is alive: It is a distinct organism, not a part of some other organism. It has the capacity, under the right circumstances (circumstances that are in an important sense “normal”), to direct its own development from the embryonic to the fetal to the infant stages of development and beyond. And we know that this organism is human and does not belong to some other species.

    We do not generally believe that the right of members of the human species to live—that is, not to be killed—depends on their size, age, location, condition of dependence, or number of limbs. Any claim that the embryo does not have a right to be protected from killing has to involve a denial of the idea that “mere” membership in the human species is enough to confer that right. That right will instead have to be posited to depend on some accidental quality that some human organisms have and others do not. Perhaps that quality is sentience or rich relationships with others or an ability to perform high-order mental functions or something else.

    But whatever that something is, making the right to life depend on it creates serious problems. First, it is not just embryos who will be denied protection. Newborns can’t perform high-order mental functions either, which is why philosophers who are consistent about denying the importance of membership in the human species, such as Peter Singer, approve of infanticide. Second, these qualities vary continuously. It is impossible to identify a non-arbitrary point at which an entity would have enough of the quality in question not to be killed. Third, for the same reason, it is impossible to explain why some people do not have more or fewer basic rights than other people depending on how much of this quality they possess. The foundation of human equality is denied in principle when we allow some members of the human species to be treated as mere things.

  34. Christine

    Thank you for this post. Very well written. I also did not click on any links….I would have cried.

    To “square peg”….every biology class and even some Drs. if you asked them when life begins would say “at conception”. Jesus was once at that stage and so was every person walking on this planet.

  35. Tara Sz.


    Excellent post. Education is key in the pro-life movement, as is compassion and mercy. My husband and I are in the midst of trying to conceive, and we agreed that we would readily adopt from a woman considering abortion. We’re looking into the possibility now; pray for us!

    Just a note from a different perspective on the Holocaust comparison: When I use that comparison personally, it is for two reasons. First, to compare numbers. Abortion has killed far more humans than the horrible, awful holocaust. Second, for action. The people in Poland and Germany and other nations who hid Jews and saved lives are considered heroes today, and those who stood by and did nothing are at best questioned for their inaction. The Pro-Life movement today offers each of us a similar opportunity to step up and become SAINTS. That’s how God brings good out of evil.

    Thank you for your blog, Jen. Would that more people used their talents for the Lord!

  36. Kate

    square peg – the standard answer to your position is to answer that so also are those who support the availability of legal abortion incapable of saying with certainty that there is NOT a baby there. You may be unwilling to push your belief on them, but they are sure willing to push their belief on society at large. Can you think of any other situation when the answer to “it may or may not be murder” is “well then, go ahead!”?

  37. Eliz

    joanne said, “Nobody WANTS to have an abortion, no matter how pro-choice they are.”

    I used to believe that but I now see it as just another pro-abortion lie. I used to believe it because I had to, because it was part of the network of delusions I had to believe in order to call myself pro-choice. If you don’t see it as a human life, if it is just a lump of cells, then of course there are many, many women who don’t mind having an abortion at all. I’ve seen women leaving the clinic after an abortion. Don’t tell me nearly everyone who has one is conflicted and broken up about it.

  38. Anonymous

    Square Peg, I have heard that argument before that since some folks aren’t sure when human life begins (cuz it’s so small!)that creates amibiguity in their minds about the evils of abortion. While that might speak to some forms of abortion, legally the law no longer differentiates between first and second trimester abortions, so any surgical
    abortion is necessarily killing something that is beyond a fertilized egg that hasn’t implanted or a fertilized egg just starting it cell divisions.

    Also, this take on abortion always reminds me of the old argument that when a hunter goes deer hunting he can’t just shoot into the rustling bushes hoping he is shooting a deer. He has to be absolutely sure of what he’s aiming at. So much so if we are uncertain at what exact point someone becomes human we are morally obligated to not kill until we are know for a fact. The most logical answer is conception.


  39. Mamacita (Mamacita)

    As long as women continue to believe that “At the time, it was the best decision for ME” and “It would have been a big mistake to have this baby” and “Having that baby would have ruined my life” etc, women will continue to do away with the inconvenience which is NOT “choice,” but rather the consequences of a choice. The choice was to have sex or not. Babies are a consequence, not the choice. MAKING it a choice is deciding whether to let the child live, or to kill it before you can see that it has a face. For many women, never actually seeing that the “cells” inside of them look like a baby, lets them go ahead and believe they’re exorcising a tumor. When women cry about how cruel it is to show a pregnant woman those pictures, what they really mean is that it makes them feel guilty about what their previous actions resulted in and what they’re going to do with “it” in spite of knowing full well what it really is.

  40. Amber

    Ugh. I feel ill and I feel helpless. What now? I am adamently pro-life, but I don’t know what to do beyond praying (and praying, and praying). I live in California – a state that won’t even pass a parental notification law to protect minors – so it seems like legal avenues are completely hopeless here.

  41. Marianne Thomas

    I am left breathless after reading this post. Although I am a pro-life Catholic, I never envisioned such carnage.

    And I didn’t even click through to your links; just the descriptions of what happens, of the children torn to pieces has left me reeling.

    You’re absolutely correct in calling out our MSM as co-conspirators in this horror.

    Blessings to you and kudos for your bravery and faith in posting this.

  42. Your humble author

    Excellent discussion.

    One of the most helpful arguments against abortion I’ve ever heard came, not from a religious source, but from a best-selling novel of the late 1960s. (It’s worth noticing how malleable public opinion is in the face of public policy: the book predates Roe v. Wade by only a few years, but articulates what was then a pretty generally accepted view in the United States. Since Roe, well, pfffft.)

    The novel was Airport by Arthur Hailey. In a suspenseful moment, our hero the pilot reveals to his co-pilot that his stewardess-girlfriend is pregnant and that he wants her to obtain an abortion. The response of the co-pilot is unambiguous: it would be wrong. His reasoning was new to me when I read it, and it still articulates something valuable that I suspect Mr. Hailey might by now disavow: It is the mark of every civilized society that it protects those in its midst who are unable to protect themselves.

    I concur with that. It clarifies the parallel with Dred, the Holocaust, et al. The quarrel about whether abortion is bad enough to be equated to the Holocaust is, in my view, a bit of a red herring, as is the hair-splitting about exactly when a life needs to be protected. (Do we really want to twist ourselves into pretzels to possibly-sort of-maybe excuse something of this magnitude?)

    It comes down to this: For the sake of our own humanity, we need to protect every single person, no matter what age, stage of development, or level of dependency, who is not able to look after his or her own interests.


  43. Jennifer F.

    Square Peg – it might be worth noting that shortly after your comment was posted I left the house for a couple hours and wasn’t able to approve comments, so that’s why you got so many responses. Wouldn’t you know that the one time I actually leave the house is right after you post. 🙂

    Carrien –

    I am wondering what you would say to those who accuse the pro-life movement of being “anti-abortion but not truly pro-life since they don’t really have a plan to take care of women with unplanned pregnancies…

    I’m never sure what to say to that, because now that I’m involved in pro-life circles it hasn’t been my experience at all that the movement doesn’t take care of women. In fact, when pro-lifers I know take action and volunteer their time and donate their money, much (probably most) of it goes to things like awareness campaigns that offer hotlines for moms in crisis pregnancy to call or supporting our local maternity homes that offer full care (place to live, baby supplies, job placement, clothes, food, etc.) to moms who need help *and* any existing children they have. So while some of the rhetoric may be unbalanced, when I see pro-lifers take action I see them doing a LOT to help moms in crisis pregnancies.

    Just my personal observations. 🙂

  44. Kimberly

    Jen –
    Good post, as always. Clearly it makes people think. And changing hearts is the first thing to changing minds. And changing minds is the next thing to changing the culture.

    I don’t know if making abortion “illegal” (which, obviously a mere overturn of Roe would NOT do) would really reduce the number of abortions or not. Logically, to me, it would, but I understand the argument that “women will just go underground”. I don’t know that that would happen. I just don’t know.

    I DO think that there is a huge cultural bias against pregnancy and children, though not against the acts that create those “problems.”

    I think of the furor over Bristol Palin’s decision to carry her child to term and, GASP, marry the father. The furor was not about whether or not she GOT pregnant, it was about her decision to STAY pregnant. I found the whole thing weird and disturbing.

  45. frizzy scissorhands

    we, as a society, have such little regard for life ~ we like to see it as a sort of pawn that we can manipulate for our own convenience and self-interest. the history of humanity contains many examples of our dark nature … slavery comes to mind.

    i do not see Hitler and the Nazi’s or slavery or Rwanda as singular epitomes of evil. instead, i see them as a product of the society of the time.

    perhaps the real evil is the fear-based apathy that infects people and renders them inert. here i have in mind the average German citizen who lived in Nazi Germany.

    a powerful post.

  46. Jess

    I’ve always found it ironic that public breastfeeding is illegal in many states yet abortion is legal.

    I’ve always been Pro-Choice, not Pro-Abortion. However, it has always been with the caveat that *I* would never choose an abortion yet I couldn’t restrict the rights of another woman to make choices about her own body. Yet, I’ve always been uncomfortable with the actual details of abortion and what it really means when one takes place. And I’ve always been horrified by the cavalier attitude many of my friends have about the “procedure”.

    All those who have commented before me who have stated that abortion are not going to stop unless we collectively change the perception of what abortion is, what is truly happening during the procedure, are right. I believe that most pro-choice people like me just choose to educate themselves on sparse details and focus instead on why we believe the woman has the right to make the choice. The more I read and educate myself the less I am able to continue to support Choice because the choice only applies to the woman and not to the baby she is aborting.

    The videos and pictures were truly horrifying, as they should be. The Spanish video of an actual late term abortion and the photos of the aborted babies found in the trash are images that I will never forget. I almost vomited while watching the video of the abortion taking place in Spain. And that is as it should be. As someone who has actively worked to support Choice I should have to witness just what I’ve promoted. It is heart-wrenching to realize just what I’ve supported.

  47. The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino

    ” . . . once a group of people have been thoroughly dehumanized in the mind of their society, evil can run wild while the populace yawns.”

    Powerful stuff, as always. May God bless your ministry!

  48. SegaMon

    First blog that I read from you. Wonderful job! God bless you and keep up the good work. All of those wishing to protect innocent human life need to act! Act by counseling women, by helping families, loving all people, educating the public, and showing the love of God to all.

  49. Jeana

    In response to when life begins…

    A fertilized egg, left alone, will eventually develop into a baby and then eventually into an adult human. (“Fully developed” is relative, since humans really never stop changing.) To me, that makes it the most logical to see that conception is the beginning of the process, and therefore the beginning of life. An eyeball, left to itself, will never become a full human. Neither will sperm or an unfertilized egg.

    I agree with the previous commenters, that if there is any doubt you err on the side of life. If someone accidentally shot someone and later admitted that he knew there might be a person there but he wasn’t sure so he just shot…would we see that as justification for his actions? In any other situation people and the law would expect us to err on the side of saving a life.

  50. meta

    Anon – No, I hadn’t considered the impact of menopausing baby boomers and aging doctors, but I’m not convinced that those reasons alone could reduce abortions by so much in such a relatively short time–esp. to bring the numbers back down to what they were when abortion was first legalized.

    Brian – your point about Jen’s premise only proves Jen’s entire argument–that the pro-choice side fails to recognize fetuses as persons and thus deems their lives disposable at will. In relation to her post, asking her to prove fetuses are persons is like asking those who protected the Jews from the Nazis to prove they were human.

  51. Flexo

    It may be of interest to note what connections, if any, Germans themselves have seen between abortion and the Holocaust.

    In 1975, the Federal Constitutional Court of West Germany struck down a statute that had legalized abortion in the first twelve weeks, ruling that, by permitting the destruction of human life, the law violated the West German "Basic Law" (Constitution), especially when viewed in light of Germany's history of National Socialism. 39 BVerfGE 1 (1975) (reprinted at 9 John Marshall J. Prac. & Proc. 605).

    The German court ruled that:
    "the Basic Law also protects the life developing itself in the womb of the mother as an intrinsic legal value. The express incorporation into the Basic Law of the self-evident right to life —- in contrast to the Weimar Constitution —- may be explained principally as a reaction to the “destruction of life unworthy of life,” to the “final solution” and “liquidations,” which were carried out by the National Socialistic Regime as measures of state. Article 2, Paragraph 2, Sentence 1, of the Basic Law, just as it contains the abolition of the death penalty in Article 102, includes “a declaration of the fundamental worth of human life and of a concept of the state which stands, in emphatic contrast to the philosophies of a political regime to which the individual life meant little and which therefore practiced limitless abuse with its presumed right over life and death of the citizen.” . . .
    Therefore, the protection of Article 2, Paragraph 2, Sentence 1, of the Basic Law cannot be limited either to the “completed” human being after birth or to the child about to be born which is independently capable of living. The right to life is guaranteed to everyone who “lives”; no distinction fcan be made here between various stages of the life developing itself before birth, or between unborn and born life. “Everyone” in the sense of Article 2, Paragraph 2, Sentence 1, of the Basic Law is “everyone living”; expressed in another way: every life possessing human individuality; “everyone” also includes the yet unborn human being. The security of human existence against encroachments by the state would be incomplete if it did not also embrace the prior step of “completed life,” unborn life. . . .
    The duty of the state to protect every human life may therefore be directly deduced from Article 2, Paragraph 2, Sentence I, of the Basic Law. In addition to that, the duty also results from the explicit provision of Article 1, Paragraph 1, Sentence 2, of the Basic Law since developing life participates in the protection which Article 1, Paragraph 1, of the Basic Law guarantees to human dignity. Where human life exists, human dignity is present to it; it is not decisive that the bearer of this dignity himself be conscious of it and know personally how to preserve it. The potential faculties present in the human being from the beginning suffice to establish human dignity. . . .
    Underlying the Basic Law are principles for the structuring of the state that may be understood only in light of the historical experience and the spiritual-moral confrontation with the previous system of National Socialism. In opposition to the omnipotence of the totalitarian state which claimed for itself limitless dominion over all areas of social life and which, in the prosecution of its goals of state, consideration for the life of the individual fundamentally meant nothing, the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany has erected an order bound together by values which places the individual human being and his dignity at the focal point of all of its ordinances. At its basis lies the concept that human beings possess an inherent worth as individuals in order of creation which uncompromisingly demands unconditional respect for the life of every individual human being, even for the apparently socially “worthless,” and which therefore excludes the destruction of such life without legally justifiable grounds. This fundamental constitutional decision determines the structure and the interpretation of the entire legal order.

  52. another Jon

    The personhood debate is irrelevant. Induced abortion is wrong because a human being usurps God’s authority and kills another human being. God very clearly said in Genesis 9 that we may not kill anyone belonging to the same species as Adam (Man), whom God had created like Himself. Anyone or anything that does so must himself (or itself in the case of an animal) be killed.

  53. Jon

    It doesn’t seem plausible to me to identify the idea that fetuses aren’t human as the root of abortions. Dehumanization doesn’t come from nowhere and conflicting ideas generally don’t win or lose based on which one is more plausible. They win or lose based upon the underlying reality. For example the dehumanization of Jews in Nazi Germany was driven by Hitler’s rise to power which was itself driven by Germans’ desire for a functioning economy and desire for a sense of national pride, both of which had been destroyed by the treaty that ended WWI. For abortion there hasn’t been a single powerful figure driving its acceptance, but the assumed social and economic costs of having an unplanned pregnancy appear to have been enough to drive up support for abortion (relativley unsurprising if one notes that humans have a much stronger aversion to loss than they have a willingness to take risks for a gain). Of course since abortion has been legal for decades we now have folks who assume that abortion is fine. Making abortion illegal would certainly stop some of the last set of people from getting abortions, but if abortion was made illegal (assuming it could be made illegal, which is by no means a sure thing at this time) without addressing the feared social and economic costs the end result would be to criminalize an increasing portion of the country assuming the defense of marriage folks are right to insist that there actually are social and economic costs. The only way to deal with the real economic costs is to put resources in place including making sure things like WIC and SCHIP have sufficient funding and ensuring that there are jobs available that pay a living. For the social costs and the feared costs the only answer is probably lots of quality advertizing, probably on something like the scale of the budget (and saturation level) Obama had for his campaign in swing states. If the advertizements are restricted to a few simple messages (Children are a joy, an unplanned pregnancy doesn’t mean not being able to follow one’s dreams because there are local resources to help, Mom’s who do what it takes to take care of their kids are heroes even if their kids spend all day in daycare, etc.) and claims that resources are available are clearly backed up by links to those resources, then the middle class would probably become pro-life very quickly. After all, the pro-life position can offer a more positive view of life than the pro-choice position. However, focusing on giving a rosy but realistic view of how life could be with an unplanned kid would probably preclude spending time talking about how the unborn have a right to life since it isn’t rosy to tell people that they’re horrible, rotten people.

    If and when the middle class is won over to the pro-life position it should become relatively easy to outlaw abortion, although it might take an amendment to the federal constitution.


  54. Susan

    I was saying the rosary last night after reading your blog, and as I contemplated the Annunciation it struck me very forcibly that if Mary were here and pregnant right now, everyone would be urging her to have an abortion: “You’re only a teenager – you’ll ruin your life”; “You can just forget it ever happened”; “You’ll be stuck in poverty for the rest of your life”; “You know what happens to children of teens – he’ll just grow up to be a criminal.” It brought the horror and criminality of abortion fully home to me.

  55. a square peg

    jennifer and all,

    sorry. i removed my posts.

  56. Anne Marie


    I’m not sure many in the pro-life camp can agree that increased funding of transfer programs is the solution to the problem. Most in the pro-life movement have accepted God’s design for humanity as out lined in scripture. That plan is quite clear. Marriage between one man and one woman for life, joining with God’s plan for sex in bonding of that union and procreation in that context only, and the rearing of the fruit of that union.

    The solution does not ultimately lie in throwing money out after the fact. The solution lies in humbling ourselves before God, begging for his forgiveness in straying from his commands, and seeking to win back the hearts and minds of our country men for Christ.

    In doing so the virtues of chastity, charity and humility will be reawakened, marriages and families will be strengthened and children will be afforded the stability and love that is their birth right.

    Sex needs to be placed in it’s proper context and that context isn’t the hooking up culture that results in unplanned pregnancies. Tossing money at a skewed viewpoint won’t correct the cause of the problem.

  57. Kathleen

    Jon said,

    “For the social costs and the feared costs the only answer is probably lots of quality advertizing, probably on something like the scale of the budget (and saturation level) Obama had for his campaign in swing states. If the advertizements are restricted to a few simple messages (Children are a joy, an unplanned pregnancy doesn’t mean not being able to follow one’s dreams because there are local resources to help, Mom’s who do what it takes to take care of their kids are heroes even if their kids spend all day in daycare, etc.) and claims that resources are available are clearly backed up by links to those resources, then the middle class would probably become pro-life very quickly.”

    I’ve never seen something so concrete suggested as an alternative (or addition) to criminalizing abortion before. I’m strongly pro-life, but it DOES sometimes seem like the legal battle is lost, unless the country has a massive change of heart. If only the resources were available for a massive, sustained, ad campaign that DID focus on being pro-life more so than anti-abortion.

  58. A New Life

    Again, great post, Jen.

    I think with these last two posts, everyone is realizing how complex of an issue, abortion is. There are many factors that drive a woman to make such a sad decision.

    Previous commenters have made good suggestions; everything from WIC to crisis pregnancy centers, to education.

    There are so many issues at hand, especially what place sexuality has. We’re living in a culture of casual sex, where men and women use each other for their own pleasure, and then get surprised when there’s a pregnancy.

    There are many approaches we need to take. Which one to start though?


  59. Anonymous

    Square Peg – just wanted to mention that I read your comments before you took them down. You impressed me very much as someone who wants to learn the truth and is honest enough with him/herself to admit when they haven’t found it. The fact that you were so supportive of Jen’s post when you still weren’t sure if you believed it is a sign of a humility that I strive for. I am sorry that you felt marginalized and insulted. I, for one, am interested in hearing what you have to say and hope to read your comments again on this blog. God bless.

    – Becky H

  60. Elizabeth

    Oooooo, a positive pro-life ad campaign! If only we could raise several million dollars to film a short movie that tells a brief, uplifting narrative about a young, unwed, pregnant mother. She chooses life for her unborn child. And despite being born into less-than-ideal circumstances, the baby is cherished. The child is moved around a lot, attends various schools, never really knows his father. He works hard in school, somehow manages to gain admission into a good college, goes on to become a lawyer, then a Senator and then….oh wait!

    Wasn’t that guy elected President last week?

    I think we already have our pro-life ad campaign. It’s called Barack Obama’s life story!

    Does he know that? 🙂

  61. Jennifer F.

    SquarePeg – Just wanted to echo what Becky H. said. I feel bad that it seems like people “jumped” on you since I wasn’t around to approve comments after you posted yours. My bad!

    Elizabeth – Great point.

    Speaking of positive pro-life ad campaigns, I LOVE Majella Society. They do mass media ad campaigns (TV, billboard) that offer women encouraging messages about keeping their babies and give a toll-free number to call to be put in touch with a maternity homes that offer full support for moms in crisis pregnancies. It’s a really good idea for a pro-life organization.

  62. Betty Beguiles

    Square Peg,

    Let me second (third?) what Jen and Becky said. I never would have responded had I known that so many others already had. I’m so sorry that it felt like you were being ganged up on. 🙁 Come back out and play! 😉 I really appreciate your perspective.

  63. Jon

    Anne Marie, whether tossing money at a problem will solve it depends on the nature of the problem. If abortion is the problem we want to solve, then I think throwing money at it could largely solve it. If, on the other hand, the problem is that most people don’t hold to a conservative Christian view of God, marriage, and family there probably isn’t a viable solution, although one might be able to sell it with advertising.

    I’m glad folks like the idea of an ad campaign, but if, when folks try life, they find that support is hard to find and inadequate when it can be found, then the feel good advertisements will wind up being blown off as wishful thinking. Most people are n’t willing to suffer greatly almost no matter what the cause, so they’ll only go against abortion if they think they can do it without costing themselves to much.


  64. a square peg

    becky, jennifer f., betty, (and all)

    no worries, seriously. i just felt a bit overwhelmed to have all those messages in my in box at once, and honestly, a couple of the statements seemed to be insinuating that i lacked basic knowledge that everyone else has or that i’m incapable of logic. and then i guess i overreacted–my apologies. that’s why i removed my comments. i just thought that would be easiest.

    the thing is, whenever i post in a discussion about a controversial topic, i’m a little nervous, simply because unlike many people that participate in these sorts of discussions, i’m not necessarily confident in my opinions, but at the same time feel people like myself need to have a voice. and on a blog such as this, where most people agree with what jennifer says (which is fine, i don’t have a problem with that), it puts those of us who may see it differently automatically on the outside.

    you have to understand for those who see things in a completely different way, it’s similar to someone who speaks a different language altogether. talking LOUDER, or s-l-o-w-e-r, won’t help them understand your point of view. the reason i commented with my perspective was not because i disagree fundamentally with your points of view, but because i think it’s important that the “other side” recognize that we’re sometimes speaking different languages, and condescension or patronizing or coming on really strong with words like “evil” (even if it is evil) isn’t always the best approach. i don’t know what is, but i’m pretty sure that isn’t.

    thank you for your kind words.



  65. lana

    I thought Jon’s idea of positive message campaigning was interesting. It resonated because since Jen’s first post on this subject I have found myself thinking about a couple of things. Briefly:
    #1: the message of pro-choice is a very hopeless one. The future looks entirely bleak. There is no other alternative for the mother. It is best for her. It is best for the child. The child would never have a good life. and so on. It is not only hopeless about the fetus, it is also hopeless about the mother.
    In contrast, the Church teaches that our greatest happiness comes when we allow ourselves to be crucified. Very different kind of hope, but perhaps no one has told these mothers that their lives will be better–and happier–if they allow their child to live.
    #2: i have been thinking of Mother Theresa and the missionaries of charity. I don’t think it was coincidence that she was chosen for a particular task in a particular country where female infanticide rates and gender-selective abortions are off the charts. As I understand it, many couples in India feel that a girl baby will not have any chance at a decent life and is better off, well, dead. Lots of reasons, but among them: poverty, no dowry (= no marriage=no respect in society), discrimination against women of all kinds, and many more.
    And then Mother Theresa and a bunch of UNMARRIED women become a vehicle for the salvation of many of these unwanted infants.
    Mother Theresa was known to have said that there is no such thing as an unwanted baby because she wants them. I think, in the world’s second most populous nation, from a women who left everything familiar to her at a young age to go into a life of service, this is no small statement. It’s not like she didn’t know what she was getting herself into by making such an offer!

  66. Anonymous

    The two posts that you have done on abortion have been some of the best I’ve ever read. I have sent them to friends of mine who are pro-choice, and I have also sent them to friends of mine who are pro-life, and they are now reading your blog regularly. I am praying that the one athiest-turned-newly-curious friend will continue to read your blog because I think it is so great.

    Thank you for taking the time to writew all of this down.


  67. Theresa

    Brian said “As you suggest, the job of the media is to inform the public, rather than entertain. But is there anyone who needs to be informed that abortions are taking place? Have you ever met someone who wasn’t aware that abortions were legal?”

    People know abortion is legal, but in our 40 Days for Life experience, we talked to people who did not know that abortions were taking place right there in their neighborhood. And yes, I myself knew that abortion was legal, but it is a whole new experience to stand at an abortion clininc and know that you are witnessing people going in there to kill their living babies, often under the false perception that they have no choice. Yes, they made the decision, but the culture does not allow them to make an informed decision. People know abortions are legal, but a pregnant woman often does not know that help is available to her in any area she needs help through the generosity of caring people who do not deny the humanity of her baby any more than she does. Money, legal help, housing, job search assistance, adoption placements, etc. All available, and many of these women have not been given a chance to consider their options, because they don’t know they have them.

    Pregnant? Scared? Want choices? You are not alone. Call 1-800-395-HELP (Carenet/Heartbeat)


  68. Kristin

    Excellent post. Thank you for your honest assesment! –Kristin

  69. جنن أبّر

    As a Jew and a pro-lifer, I must say I thought this was beautifully written and you were right on target. Thank you.

  70. Daiquiri

    Brutal. Awful. I just feel sick to my stomach.

    I’ve been overwhelmingly burdened by this topic of abortion lately, and have been contemplating my own post. I happened to stumble across yours today, and it just screamed to me that I have to add my voice too. Thank you for this incredible, articulate, and well thought out post.


  71. Open Water

    What a great, respectful and informative blog/site. Thanks to all participating. I read with interest about the scared and needy pregnant women in need of compassion and I agree. However, il-informed women, victims of rape/incest, etc. are a miniscule percentage of all abortions in this country. The vast majority of abortions are for the “convenience” of the mother who simply had unprotected sex. If ultimately the “choice” is inherently the women’s (and I think this fact is physically undeniable), her “choice” then, is to NOT become pregnant, either through abstinence or PREVENTIVE contraception rather than REACTIVE contraception. “Unplanned” pregnancy is NOT a valid argument or justification in the vast majority of cases, since pregnancy is entirely plannable — or preventable. Bottom line: It will always be the woman’s choice to stay pregnant or not, regardless of laws. The key to reducing the rate of abortions lies in making the CHOICE sooner.

  72. Gillian

    This new movie addresses this evil in our society, it helps to illustrate the dehumanization of the unborn, as well as how the general polulation just stands by and lets it happen. It helps people to see the issue with new eyes and is really changing hearts. Defintely worth the watch.


  73. Gillian

    just in case thete are any follow up comments, I want the notifications.


  1. Forty days of blogging for life « Learning to live in love - [...] http://jenniferfulwiler.com/2008/11/abortion-and-holocaust-comparisons.html [...]

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