The 1990s were a time filled with political and social unrest about abortion, on both sides. The streets were filled with imagery of abortion victims whose plight had been deliberately censored for years by the media. As Americans were confronted with the truth of abortion, they gradually became uneasy about the number of abortions happening every year — and uncomfortable with realization that abortion actually takes innocent life in the womb.
Below is a video narrated by former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, showing the process of a first trimester abortion, and how it gruesomely takes a human life:
In 1995, Naomi Wolf, a prominent pro-choice feminist leader, stunned the pro-choice community and caused a shock wave of responses when she stated that “the death of a fetus is a real death,” and noted the need for a “radical shift in the pro-choice movement’s rhetoric and consciousness about abortion.” Wolf sounds nothing like the rabid pro-abortion movement in 2017, which continues to attempt to deny that children in the womb are human beings.
Admission #1: The deaths shown in abortion victim images are “biological facts”
Wolf wrote in her October 1995 piece for The New Republic:
The pro-choice movement often treats with contempt the pro-lifers’ practice of holding up to our faces their disturbing graphics. We revile their placards showing an enlarged scene of the aftermath of a D&C abortion: we are disgusted by their lapel pins with the little feet, crafted in gold, of a 10-week-old fetus; we mock the sensationalism of The Silent Scream. We look with pity and horror at someone who would brandish a fetus in formaldehyde — and we are quick to say that they are lying: “Those are stillbirths, anyway” we tell ourselves.
To many pro-choice advocates, the imagery is revolting propaganda. There is a sense among us, let us be frank, that the gruesomeness of the imagery belongs to the pro-lifers: that it emerges from the dark, frightening minds of fanatics: that it represents the violence of imaginations that would, given half a chance, turn our world into a scary, repressive place. ‘People like us’ see such material as the pornography of the pro-life movement.
But feminism at its best is based on what is simply true. While pro-lifers have not been beyond dishonesty, distortion and the doctoring of images (preferring, for example, to highlight the results of very late, very rare abortions), many of those photographs are in fact photographs of actual D&Cs; those footprints are in fact the footprints of a 10-week-old fetus, the pro-life slogan, “Abortion stops a beating heart,” is incontrovertibly true. While images of violent fetal death work magnificently for pro-lifers as political polemic, the pictures are not polemical in themselves: they are biological facts. We know this.
In the middle of all the turmoil of the ’90s came the conversion of the woman at the very heart of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand. Norma McCorvey, known in 1973 as “Jane Roe,” recanted her pro-choice views and became staunchly pro-life.
Wolf noted McCorvey’s conversion in her piece, writing, “To me, the first commandment of real feminism is: when in doubt, listen to women. What if we were to truly respectfully listen to this woman who began her political life as, in her words, just “some little old Texas girl who got in trouble.” We would have to hear this: perhaps Norma McCorvey actually had a revelation that she could no longer live as the symbol of a belief system she increasingly repudiated.”
Wolf openly admitted that “the death of a fetus is a real death” and called the “country’s high rate of abortion” a “failure.”
Admission #2: Pro-choicers have developed a “lexicon of dehumanization”
Wolf went after pro-choice rhetoric regarding the preborn child, writing, “Many pro-choice advocates developed a language to assert that the fetus isn’t a person, and this, over the years has developed into a lexicon of dehumanization… when we defend abortion rights by emptying the act of moral gravity, we find ourselves cultivating a hardness of heart.”
In an interview with intellectual William F. Buckley, on the TV show, Firing Line, Wolf admitted that she had “been raised all her life” to “demonize” the pro-life movement. “I have to reckon with the fact that many of the people I’ve heard from on that side [pro-life] of the divide are thoughtful, ethical people who respect women and who believe that it is a deep moral concern and even a deep religious concern to raise the status of women in society,” she said.
“I believe that the pro-choice movement would thrive by reclaiming the moral framework around abortion that recognizes that there is a spectrum of culpability of accountability that is not uniform. But, that recognizes… that the fetus should not be denigrated to the status of dependent mass of protoplasm. That we should not have to, we must not dehumanize the fetus in order to humanize a woman’s right to reproductive… access,” Wolf told Buckley.
Admission #3: Legal abortion is a “destruction of something precious always”
Wolf went on to state, “We suffer as a society by devaluing the act by emptying it of moral content in order to defend abortion…. We who are pro-choice must stop trivializing the loss involved….”
Wolf, who continued to hold a pro-abortion view because she believed the lie that tens of thousands of women died from illegal abortion — a point Live Action News has rebutted several times — also referred to legal abortion as a “tragedy”:
I think that the act of choosing abortion… I agree with most Americans that it is always a tragedy. I think that it is always a loss. And always an act that is destruction of something precious always…. But, I also think that the right of women to control their reproductive lives including sometimes to make the terrible, heartbreaking, tragic decision to end the life within their lives is a fundamental necessity if women are going to participate equally in society.”
While Wolf contended that she opposed criminalizing abortion, she admitted that “abortion is more morally grave as the pregnancy progresses,” and “second and third trimester abortion profoundly disturbs me.” She called out the pro-life movement for claiming the child is a “baby” and then approving of abortions for “rape and incest.”
“The only reason to say abortion is okay in the case of rape and incest is pure misogyny,” Wolf stated.
In response, pro-life leader Helen Alvare corrected Wolf and noted that the proper pro-life position was a consistent ethic that all life begins at fertilization and ends at natural death, no matter how the child was conceived. “The pro-life movement takes the position… on rape and incest… that a child should not have the circumstances of his or her conception held against them…. We feel morally obligated at the same time to the mother.”
Alvare also addressed Wolf’s theory that simply admitting that the preborn child is a person but then advocating that you can then legally kill that human being “creates new kinds of moral problems”:
[…W]hat you have instead of breeding what Naomi would say is a hardness of heart on the part of those who won’t even consider the unborn a human being, or who take life with impunity. You create a new type of hardness of heart of people who say, now it’s even kind of a worse one, ‘I acknowledge it’s a human being and I assume the power to take it.’ That’s a new kind of moral problem.
Wolf’s opinions were not well received by her own side, with some seeing her as a turncoat of sorts. But despite the conflicts the feminist leader had with seeing the baby as a human and yet openly approving of that baby’s life being snuffed out according to the mother’s will, Wolf correctly acknowledged that a “cheapened view of human life” was destructive. She wrote:
[T]he pro-choice movement has relinquished the moral frame around the issue of abortion. It has ceded the language of right and wrong to abortion foes. The movement’s abandonment of what Americans have always, and rightly demanded of their movements — an ethical core — and its reliance instead on a political rhetoric in which the fetus means nothing are proving fatal….
Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. And we risk becoming precisely what our critics charge us with being: callous, selfish and casually destructive men and women who share a cheapened view of human life.
Here we are, 22 years after Wolf’s comments, and we simply see more of those same “self-delusions” on the pro-choice side. But today, even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, those delusions have grown stronger, and human life is valued even less.