A Child Is Not A Word

After 35 years of decriminalized abortion, it seems that the press is searching for new reasons to justify the reasons why mothers abort their children. One of the most interesting perspectives can be found in a recent Associated Press report.  (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-20-abortion_N.htm?csp=34)

We are told that 60% of those mothers who are aborting their children are mothers who have already had at least one child. This is both disturbing and at the same time indicative of how the culture has come to view the very existence of a pregnancy. It would seem that words like “unwanted,” “unintended” and “unplanned”–all of which are negative–have contributed to a further dehumanization of the child who dies when an abortion occurs.

As one Rhode Island Planned Parenthood official, Miriam Inocencio, says, “Women face years and years of reproductive life after they've completed their families, and they're at risk of an unintended pregnancy that can create an economic strain."

Contemplating the full impact of this statement took me a while for, at first glance, it sounds as though Inocencio is feeling compassion for those mothers who face the stress of economic woes that confront each of us when we are young and raising a family. But that is not what she is expressing.  What Inocencio is telling the reporter is that aborting a child who is perceived to be a costly addition to the family is the best choice for everyone in the family.

She is not viewing the mother as someone who would set aside her self-interest and economic concerns for the good of a child but rather she is telling us that this mother would prefer to kill someone in order to maintain a certain comfort level. May I hasten to add that I do not think that the mother in Inocencio’s scenario considers her pregnancy in terms of a child who exists and is already part of her family against the outcome of an abortion.  In other words, this mother is not considering the difference between being the mother of a living child and the mother of a dead child. Far from it! In this day and age of self-absorption it is a foregone conclusion for most women that when all else fails, abortion is just another option in the smorgasbord of decisions that she must make in order to maintain the status quo. 

The following excerpt from the same news report makes my point.

About 13% of American women are black, yet new figures from the Centers for Disease Control show they account for 35% of the abortions.

Black anti-abortion activists depict this phenomenon in dire terms"genocide" and "holocaust," for example. But often the women getting the abortions say they act in the interests of children they already have.

"It wasn't a hard decision for me to make, because I knew where I wanted to go in my lifeI've never regretted it," said Kimberly Mathias, 28, an African-American single mother from Missouri.

She had an abortion at 19, when she was already raising a 2-year-old-son.

"It wasn't hard to realize I didn't want another child at that time," Mathias said. "I was trying to take care of the one I had, and going to college and working at the same time."

In other words, aborting a child is the equivalent of acting “in the interests of children.” Such a comment tells me that these mothers do not consider the humanity of the child in utero to be the same as that of their living children. The child in utero becomes a thing that has to be treated in much the same way as this same mother might treat a boil or an ingrown hair. 

The dehumanizing of the child in the womb is a fait accompli for the majority of American citizens in our age. The negative language has relegated such children to the category of curable diseases.

While I commend the writer of this Associated Press article for digging in to the perspectives many black pro-life leaders have on the effect abortion has on their community, it concerns me that words like “expectant mother” and “child in utero” failed to make the cut, if indeed they were in the original story. It affirms the ongoing struggle we pro-lifers face in focusing attention on the second person in every single pregnancy, the child. He or she is not a word in a report; he or she has a soul and is in every sense of the word a human being who is also a person equal to you or to me.

I personally feel sorrow for any mother who loses a child. But my sorrow for the child who is intentionally murdered by an act as violent as abortion far exceeds any concern I might have for that baby’s mother. After all, each of us as human beings are resourceful, have the ability to overcome hardships and should have the moral compass to discern what is right and what is wrong, even when our finances are in jeopardy or our further education is at stake. 

Killing a child, for whatever reason, is not a moral choice. The very fact that so many mothers in our midst do not see this should be wake up call for every pro-life American.

It is high time that we pro-lifers examine the rhetoric of our opponents and, may I say, our peers in this movement. The child dies; the mother survives. Let us expend equal amounts of energy focusing on both of them, their humanity and their personhood. After 35 years it is time to take back the languagelives depend on it.