Saturday, January 25, 2003

Over the past week, we’ve been advised time and time again that “both sides” need to approach the issue of abortion with reason, calm and as little emotion as possible.

Translation:Pro-lifers, shut up.

For you see, it’s okay for pro-choice advocates (See? I can do it? Only once, though, I think…) to throw around selective statistics, present false accounts of history and mischaracterize and stereotype their opponents, but let a prolifer say the words “baby” or “kill” and let the clucking begin.

An experience that is sort of relevant:

A few years ago – okay, many years ago – I was on a radio program, debating the director of a local abortion facility. It was an NPR affiliate, so it was all very hushed and reasonable and calm. For the first part of the program, I was hushed and calm, too. This was the first time I’d ever debated a person directly involved in providing abortions face-to-face, and it sort of unnerved me. I was supposed to be a Christian, and a witness to Christian love, right? And I know that’s true – many, many of the abortion providers who have converted to the other side have been won over, not by arguments, but by the simple force of love and prayer. They’ll tell you that themselves.

So there I was. I didn’t want to offend, I wanted to put the best face on the pro-life side of things, and deep down, as I sat there inches away from a real human being, you know…I didn’t want to…I don’t know. Hurt her feelings? It’s that socialization to avoid confrontation, you know.

Then midway through the program, it hit me. Forcefully.

This woman made her living from abortion. This is how she paid her mortgage, her car payments, her grocery bills. She got a salary for managing a place where women could come and have their preborn children killed. I saw blood. I saw blood everywhere.

And it struck me: I don’t have to respect that. Sure, I have to respect her as a person, and remember that Jesus loves her and that her life is to be respected at all levels, but her opinions? The way she spends her days? The fact that she spends her days at a place where the weekly refuse pick-up includes incredibly tragic human remains? And she profits from this?

I don’t have to respect that.

So, I went on the offensive. Those of you who read this blog and have read my columns on this issue know my style: own up to the reality and defend it. Tell the rest of the world what happens in your place – exactly – and tell the rest of this why this is a good. Tell the rest of us why it’s okay to end the life at day 179 and someone not okay to end it at 180. Tell us all about it.

There are some things I understand. I understand how a person who has not faced the reality of abortion can get swamped in pro-choice rhetoric and defend it as a necessity, if not a good. I can even, believe it or not, understand how a woman can choose an abortion, and I can understand this because I’ve been pregnant. I know how difficult it is, especially in the early stages, to make the intellectual connect between the idea of pregnancy and the reality of an Independent Who living in there, especially if you don’t want to be pregnant and you’re surrounded by pressures not to be, as well.

But what I don’t understand is how a person can see – even in pictures, much less in person – the reality of unborn human life and the reality of destroyed, mutilated aborted unborn life – and still think this is a good. Or even a necessity. That bespeaks to me a coldness of conscience that is frightening and dangerous. And doesn’t merit respect, especially when one personally profits from the destruction.

So sure, I’m all for respect. I’m all for calm. But I’m not for using those terms as a technique for silencing anyone for speaking out on the reality of abortion, or refraining from pushing abortion advocates to defend the logic of their actions, which, I’m sorry to say, it usually is.

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