Monday, July 8, 2013

Hailing Satan

Confronting a culture that is all too comfortable not making sense

Pro-abortion demonstrators in Austin, July 1, 2013.
Kathryn Jean Lopez

I made the mistake of walking away from my computer after hitting “play.” All of a sudden, the room was filled with hails to . . . Satan. This was the comeback from some Wendy Davis fans outside the Texas statehouse to opponents of the Texas legislator’s attempts to kill a bill that would restrict some abortions (20 weeks and later) in the state. Given that Davis has become effectively a heroine of our slouch — if not plunge — toward a culture comfortable with infanticide denial, the scene was fitting, however, I pray, jarring.

It came during a week that had begun, as our weeks frequently seem to nowadays, with unholy exchanges on the Sunday-morning talking-head shows. In between expressions of glory and praise to Davis on the various channels, there was a lot of talk about the Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage. One of the hosts asked a marriage-redefinition dissenter how it could possibly make a difference to a child if he were raised by two “married” men or a man and a woman — mother and father is what we call them, you may still recall.
Men and women are, actually, different. And yet we deny it. And, yes, on Sunday morning.And that’s what is at the heart of these debates, now isn’t it? It’s all complicated and emotional given our mixed experiences and encouragements, desires and heartaches, pains and attractions. These neuralgic questions we debate concern the most intimate of issues, and yet we pretend they can somehow be solved by just the right legislation or court ruling. But there are some basics we’ve lost sight of, or have decided that we must necessarily dismiss — even suppress. We do this, too, as we embrace the pursuit of individual gratification, sometimes at the expense of life and liberty. We cannot reasonably expect a senator or president or Supreme Court justice to satisfactorily make sense of this; what we need is to rebuild and renew our culture, working together to recapture some fundamental understandings.

Another “hit play” moment came with the latest video release from Live Action, the pro-life group that does undercover investigations at abortion clinics, motivated by the belief that unborn children need protection and women deserve better. Men won’t be worse off, either, if they are challenged to rise to their responsibilities — if they are expected and wanted as loving protectors.

In Live Action’s latest, a doctor explains how labor is induced during a late-term abortion — “so you will deliver, a still-birth.” An “injection . . . stops the heartbeat of the fetus,” the doctor explains. “On day two, we’re gonna check and make sure that that worked. That is not something that we are going to let slip through the cracks.” The third day, though, is “hard,” she explains to the actor/investigator she believes to be a woman wanting a late-term abortion.

“It’s like you’re having a baby, basically?” the investigator asks.
“Yeah,” the doctor replies. “It’s intense.”
No less intense when we pretend it’s only “like” a baby.

A counselor at the same Albuquerque clinic explains that if the woman doesn’t make it back to the clinic in time — “if we can’t catch it early enough, which has happened” — she’ll want to unlock the hotel door, call the clinic on her cell, and “just sit on the toilet. You don’t have to look at anything.”
That’s probably good advice to a woman who is being advised to deliver her dead baby into a hotel toilet. But this isn’t something the rest of us can afford to look away from. Whether it’s a hotel bathroom or a state-of-the-art women’s clinic, this is a gravely miserable state of affairs, as we drown in euphemisms about women and health and freedom. Does anyone really think this is healthy? Unless, of course, you’ve made a sacrament of abortion itself. But most of us haven’t, even those who consider themselves “pro-choice” and who are concerned about the toughest situations a woman might find herself in, but who know abortion involves life and death and is not a good. At least, we haven’t consciously embraced abortion, even as we drown out the horrific details with anodyne rhetoric.


Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a director of Catholic Voices USA. This column is based on one available exclusively through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.

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