Pro-life advocates in Washington demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 1, 2021. CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters

Getting to the heart of abortion and MAiD

By  Andrea Mrozek
  • April 13, 2022

Since the legalization of euthanasia in Canada in 2016, I’ve had two people tell me of their parent who would be dying in this way. These were acquaintances who did not know me well, not even my last name, and yet they shared this deeply personal information. Yet in my entire life, I’ve never had even one woman mention in passing that she had an abortion. I’ve never had anyone casually tell me they accompanied someone to an abortion.

There’s an interesting reality packed into that contrast: Decades-worth of intense efforts to destigmatize abortion have failed. Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in the U.S. and the Canadian Morgentaler decision in 1988, efforts to normalize abortion have failed even as they have picked up steam, or perhaps precisely because of that.

Take the language game, for example, so pervasive in all debates over life. Ultrasound technology undid the spurious “clump of cells” argument a while ago. The latest effort calls us to reconsider what a heartbeat is. When Texas passed the so-called Heartbeat Bill in September 2021, effectively banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, we began reading reports asking whether a fetal heartbeat is the invention of pro-life mythology.

That quick fluttering muffled sound? It’s not a heartbeat after all. It’s “cardiac activity.” “Doctors are partly to blame for the confusion,” a New York Times journalist writes. She goes on: “Many physicians whose patients are excited about a desired pregnancy will use the word ‘heartbeat’ to describe the cardiac activity heard on an early ultrasound. The word has even crept into the medical literature.” Even.

Then there’s the growing strangeness of pro-choice activism, pushing not for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare,” but rather to be celebrated. Enter the movement to “Shout Your Abortion” using gold pendants and T-shirts. Have you never thought about a “Thank God For Abortion” onesie as a gift at your next baby shower?

The painful excessiveness of this is not lost on one post-abortive feminist. She feels no regret at this “sad interlude in my young life.” Instead, she notes that it’s “gross” when “advocates for legal abortion have made this deeply serious issue into a chic lifestyle… I see a pro-choice movement that has become unmoored from reality…. the ugly truth is that the contemporary mainstream women’s movement cannot be trusted with such a sacrosanct moral question,” she writes.

For the average woman, abortion-as-sad-interlude sounds about right. It’s not something to celebrate, to be proud of or to advocate for. There are countless “tell your abortion story” web sites out there, and if you read too many, all posted for the purpose of normalizing abortion, there is but one theme. They are just plain sad. To me, this speaks to something shared between all women: the innate knowledge that when you get pregnant, it’s not a potential life or a future life. It’s your baby.

There is the very real possibility of Roe v Wade falling when the Supreme Court south of the border delivers a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization imminently. It’s a case that will consider Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks. There’s a serious chance of returning decisions about abortion to the states, rather than enforcing a divisive law at a federal level.

That Roe could end is profoundly encouraging. It signifies the pending end of (another) dark blight on our countries’ records — though that blight continues under the Morgentaler decision in Canada, at least for now.

But I suspect any celebration would be muted. We’ve lost too many countless lives. It’s taken so long. It remains divisive. And there is so much more work to do. But I’d feel a sincere wash of quiet relief that we are finally on the right track.     

There is another sadness embedded in the opening paragraph. For as unacceptable and foreign an idea as abortion has remained over decades, the trend line with euthanasia is the opposite. With lightning speed, talking about the death of your loved one by a doctor’s needle is not, apparently, strange at all. I’m not diminishing the anguish of this. Y

et we can still pause for just a short moment to be grateful that respect for the beginning of life is increasing before returning to protection and respect for all life, from conception to natural death.

(Mrozek is Senior Fellow at Cardus Family.)

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