With increasing frequency, I find that some folks tune out as soon as the word “abortion” enters the conversation and then, there you are, talking basically to yourself. The planned recipient of my comments, explanation or expression of concern has moved on. It is easy to see in their eyes, their body language and even their stance.
So, what to do? Well, as a good, holy priest once said to me, “Judie, don’t talk to walls.” In other words, move on to fertile ground where the seeds will at least fall on soil that is not scorched to the point that the very idea of absorption of a new idea or concept is foreign.
Believe me, there are plenty of people in that category. This was brought home to me recently when I mentioned a March 2010 Society of Family Planning article entitled “Induction of fetal demise before abortion." The authors of the article, two female professors of law, were analyzing the use of a one-milligram injection of intra-amniotic digoxin before the practitioner began the surgical abortion, which would deliver a fetal corpse prior to the dilation and evacuation (D&E). The authors pointed out that the practice of induced abortion is already the second most common surgery for young women in the United States. They assured the audience that both first- and second-trimester abortions can be performed “safely” and “even in the third trimester when pregnancy termination usually is completed by medical induction for lethal fetal anomalies or other significant medical conditions affecting the pregnant woman.”
I went on to say that the key question being asked in the article is, “How could inducing fetal demise protect providers from violating provisions of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act?” According to the authors, as of April 2007, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, it also created a loophole:
To be in violation of the law, an abortion provider must therefore perform the banned procedure "deliberately and intentionally" as described … As the Supreme Court affirmed in Gonzales v. Carhart, if the fetus is "delivered past the critical point by accident or inadvertence" or if the fetus is not delivered "for the purpose of performing an overt act that the [doctor] knows will kill |it]," then the procedure does not violate the law. By electing to use an agent with established feticidal properties at a dose and by a route that have been established to ensure cardiac asystole in most cases, there is no intention of performing the banned abortion procedure.
In other words, if the injection discussed in the article is used properly and cardiac arrest occurs first, the preborn child will be rendered dead prior to surgery and then even a late-term, so-called partial-birth abortion can be done in a manner that does not violate the Supreme Court decision.
This practice of feticidal injection is clearly an important subject for clinical research among those who are striving for new and better ways to kill. However, this subject is not going to resonate when one is attempting to educate the “man on the street” that abortion takes the life of an innocent child whose humanity is in every sense no less a fact than that of his or her mother.
The individual who is bored by the very subject itself or has heard all he ever cares to hear about abortion is totally disinterested in these facts and would prefer to move on without giving such ghoulish topics a second thought. After all, he or she might say, abortion is a constitutional right in this land so why don’t you folks get a real preoccupation that matters like fighting oil spills or saving whales or something!
And that is the rub. Because pro-life Americans like you and me have to fashion our educational efforts, debate points and manner of talking in a way that helps us get into the psyche of the person who has already made up his mind and could care less how pregnancy is ended as long as it goes away.
This many sound harsh, but in today’s five-second sound bite world, it is a reality.
So, we must retool our approach, insist on the use of proper language and focus attention on babies, on abortion as an act of murder and on expectant mothers who, if given an opportunity to be comforted and have their fears assuaged, would never consider an act that would rob a baby of his life.
As we have said over and over again, PERSONALIZE the preborn human person and make his image as a member of the human family come alive for your audience, whether it is someone in the grocery story or an entire congregation. Don’t mention the word abortion, but rather focus on the victim who always dies and use the educational tools at our disposal to help others see that we are not talking about a constitutional right but rather a direct act that results in death.
As much as I abhor the entire subject of partial-birth abortion, this most recent clinical article and my attempt at discussing it with a friend reminded me once again that the language of the culture of death is the prevalent language in America. Abortion is a turn-off. Therefore, we have to convert our own vocabulary so that it is fresh, vivid and alive with challenging concepts before we can begin to have a conversation with another person rather than at another person.
And we can start with the use of the word “baby.” It may irritate the died-in-the-wool pro-abort, but if not a baby, who then is it? Watch Baby Steps, the American Life League DVD, learn how to use it and then ask your chosen listener to decide: human being or wart?
Let the conversation begin with a person, not a cold, hard practice, and see what happens next.
Here’s talking with you!