As a general rule, Slate is one of the last places you should turn for advice when faced with a moral dilemma. You and I might think that goes without saying, but if it did Slate wouldn’t have an advice columnist: Mallory Ortberg, a.k.a. Dear Prudence.
This week, one of the questions concerned a woman who describes herself as pro-choice, yet finds herself struggling with her daughter’s request to help her pay for her soon-to-be-divorced daughter’s late-term abortion. Specifically…
My daughter left her husband, and now wants to abort what had been a wanted pregnancy. She is too far along to terminate in our state, but she could get it done elsewhere. She asked me for money, to cover transportation and the procedure itself. My daughter says that she can’t have a child with her soon-to-be-ex and that he would block an adoption. This devastates me. I thought I was pro-choice, but everything in me screams that this is wrong. But my daughter said that if I don’t help her, she’ll have to find “some other way,” and I’m afraid of what that might mean. Also, my husband doesn’t yet know that our daughter wants to abort, but he would be even more devastated than I am. Should I help my daughter do this, or not?
Someone who can’t help but doubt her pro-abortion assumptions the moment theory becomes reality, with her own intuition “scream[ing] that this is wrong”? This should be a springboard for an illuminating dialogue…unfortunately, being Slate, the answer is anything but.
Being pro-choice doesn’t mean the specifics of every single abortion fills you with joy; being pro-choice simply means you believe the only person who should decide whether or not a woman should carry her pregnancy to term is the woman in question.
An admission that being pro-choice means ignoring the specifics of a particular abortion—the specifics in this case being a child the mother had already thought of as a child before the divorce, and developed enough to look nearly identical to a born infant, feel pain, and potentially survive outside the womb—are to be dogmatically ignored for the sake of abortion über alles.
Apparently I spoke too soon; that was pretty illuminating.
It’s understandable that you might grieve the loss of what you hoped would be your grandchild, but you need to deal with your emotions about this on your own, and not use your sadness as a reason to pressure your daughter into carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.
No, the baby at stake already is her grandchild. He or she is really alive, really human, and really there, regardless of what anyone, even Mom, feels or thinks about him or her. That screaming sensation the questioner describes isn’t selfish resentment of the experience she might lose; it’s her conscience, calling on her to protect the newest member of her own family, because deep down part of her knows there’s someone who needs and deserves at least one loving voice.
Your daughter was happy to have a child in a stable partnership under certain conditions but doesn’t feel equipped to have one by herself in the middle of a divorce and is determined to have an abortion.
Which is why the daughter deserves sympathy and support for that situation, not why she would be justified in having her son or daughter killed—why her child deserves death rather than someone to stand up and fight for him or her if the father did interfere in either custody or adoption.
Further, Kelsey Hazzard of Secular Pro-Life notes:
A father cannot simply demand that a mother raise a child, then walk away. If a father is going to “block an adoption,” he must do so by taking on the responsibility of raising the child himself.
If the issue here is that she thinks he would make a lousy father—the column does not make that clear, but it’s certainly possible that she left because he was abusive—then it’s a matter of showing the court that he’s unfit. Custody battles are certainly no fun, but are they worse than death?
The “advice” concludes:
She’s going to get an abortion no matter how you feel about it. You can either make having one more difficult for her, or you can help. That choice, at least, is yours alone.
So not only is the daughter’s choice to abort unquestionable, the mother is to be shamed if she declines to participate—not if she tries to stop the abortion, but if she simply refuses to be a part of making it happen.
So to recap, Mallory Ortberg is an advice columnist who disregards the lives of children, tells readers to ignore their consciences, neglects examining any of the relevant details, and doesn’t even ask for clarification of any of the vague variables. We know how ugly Slate can get when going after their enemies; who would have guessed that their advice would be any worse?