American social commentator Dennis Prager nailed it when he said this: “Good societies can survive people doing immoral things. But a good society cannot survive if it calls immoral things moral.” He may well have had in mind an ancient Israelite prophet who long ago wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
This of course has now become a national pastime in the West. And with the mainstream media fully on board, then you know things have spiralled out of control. Consider this true story cheerily being promoted in the press recently.
The headline is this: “Killing is a woman’s choice, I don’t regret exercising mine.” And this jarring paragraph is the main takeaway from the article:
The procedure itself was relatively painless. I pointed the gun, pulled the trigger, and that was it. When it was over, I was offered a cup of tea and a biscuit by my supporters, and then my mum took me home. Ten years later, I think about that killing with sadness, but not regret. I will never regret my decision. I have done so many things and had so many opportunities that I may not have been able to do with my husband. I have run a business, lived on four continents and am studying a Master’s degree, and I intend to keep studying.
OK, so I changed just a few words – otherwise it is a perfectly true story. Here is the actual version of events as promoted and endorsed by the Nine network’s mastheads, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The real title says this: “Reproductive choice is a woman’s right, I don’t regret exercising mine.” And the actual quote is this:
The procedure itself was relatively painless. I was given a short-acting anaesthetic, that kept me awake, but unable to remember exactly what had happened. The last thing I remember is going into a surgical theatre style room, and wearing a special gown. When I woke up, I was offered a cup of tea and a biscuit, and then my mum took me home.
Ten years later, I think about my abortion with sadness, but not regret. I will never regret my decision. I have done so many things and had so many opportunities that I may not have been able to do with a child. I have run a business, lived on four continents and am studying a Master’s degree, and I intend to keep studying. Since it happened, I have had to live with fear and guilt for doing something that was, and still is, against the law in NSW. This should not have been the case. I did nothing wrong.
Morally speaking, is there really a major difference between these two accounts? Let’s say a married woman has a controlling and paranoid husband. He refuses to let her into the paid workplace, and he insists that she stay home and be a good homemaker, depriving her of all her dreams to make it big as a career woman.
She is at her wit’s end and does not know what to do. Finally, it occurs to her: if I can just get rid of this burdensome and parasitical man, I will be free to do my thing. So she goes out, buys a gun, and the rest is history. In both cases a human life was viewed as an impediment and an obstacle to making it big time as an adult student and career woman.
One need not pick on this individual, as so many others have done the same. And the ‘justifications’ are always forthcoming. How does killing an unborn baby because of concerns about the world being “overpopulated” differ from eugenicists who kills thousands for the same reason?
Indeed, isn’t that a good reason as well? Doesn’t the end justify the means anyway? Or what about poverty? So many people will suffer in a world of scarcity, so the loving thing to do is bump them off in the womb. And again, why not take it to the logical conclusion? Suppose you live in a run-down tenement with nine other people, and you are doing it real rough trying to pay the rent and feed everyone. Maybe the best course here is to kill a few of these people.
One more example: Suppose I am running late for an important appointment, and a slow-moving old lady is crossing the street in front of me. She is preventing me from getting to this key meeting which may result in a big advance in my career. By the article’s “logic” I should have the right to step on the accelerator and run her over.
But all that we keep getting here is Orwellian Doublespeak about “choice”. It is nothing of the sort. Where was the choice for the unborn baby in the article? How did he or she benefit? This was all about one thing and one thing only: the author’s self-interested choice to make it big in the world, to travel, to study, to get a nifty job.
While those may all be good things in themselves, since when do we ever justify them by killing someone else? As American prolife activist Scott Klusendorf rightly put it:
I am vigorously ‘pro-choice’ when it comes to women choosing a number of moral goods. I support a woman’s right to choose her own doctor, to choose her own school, to choose her own husband, and choose her own career—to name just a few. But some choices are wrong, like intentionally killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way and cannot defend themselves. We shouldn’t be pro-choice about that.
Exactly. Here we have a seemingly intelligent and progressive young woman celebrating the fact that she is really making it in a big way because she was willing to kill her very own baby. But the answer is surely never to kill the baby. Adoption is always an option. Indeed, there are far more families wanting to adopt babies than there are babies available. So just because the mother does not want the baby does not mean it is unwanted by everyone else. Many would desperately love to be able to raise, nurture and care for the baby.
But it seems selfishness reigns supreme here. And just as bad, these newspapers happily run with her story like she is some sort of Mother Teresa. No she is not. She is simply a selfish woman who thinks it is OK to do anything – even kill your own child – to make it to the top in the world of careers, wealth and fame. But there is nothing virtuous about that. It is in fact the height of selfishness, callousness and hard-heartedness.
As has once been said, “Love says, ‘I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person.’ Abortion says, ‘I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself’.”
Bill Muehlenberg is a Melbourne cultural commentator.
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