Longtime readers know that pro-abortion publications like Slate, RH Reality Check, ThinkProgress, and Jezebel don’t exactly have the most stringent evidentiary standards for their attacks on pro-lifers. But for a community as large, influential, and self-righteous as the pro-choice movement, you’d think that at least a few of its websites would be intellectually honest.
So, in the interest of fairness, let’s see how some of the less prominent outlets fare. Here’s one: Medical Daily sounds like a pretty evenhanded name. What does Samantha Olson have to say…
Okay, maybe finding fair-minded pro-choicers won’t be so easy after all.
Pro-life Americans like to keep their blinders on, ears shut, and mouths zipped tightly closed when it comes to their own abortions. An anti-abortionist fears judgment from her peers when she undergoes an abortion herself, which is exactly why her entire party has a different perception of the truth than pro-choice Americans.
The idea that the average pro-lifer would of course have an abortion the moment she found herself in need of one, then turn around and continue demonizing others for doing the same without a twinge of guilt, is a popular trope among anti-life zealots. They love to pass around dubiously-sourced anecdotes about “anti-choicers” who believe “the only moral abortion is my abortion,” or call Rick Santorum a hypocrite for the induced labor that saved his wife’s life at the cost of their child’s, despite the fact that he’s never advocated restricting treatment of life-of-the-mother cases (neither have any other pro-lifers, by the way).
I don’t doubt there exist some pro-lifers whose principles crumble when they find themselves or a loved one pregnant. But I also know there are also pro-aborts in good “feminist” standing who rape, demean, and exploit women, anti-gun activists who employ armed bodyguards for themselves while restricting everyone else’s right to carry, socialists who get rich off of capitalism, school choice opponents who send their own kids to private schools, politicians who exempt themselves from the healthcare they impose on everyone else, affirmative action supporters who don’t hire minorities themselves, equal pay champions who neglect their own gender gaps, charity workers who cheat on their taxes, health nuts who smoke, animal rights activists who wear fur, environmentalists who litter, etc., etc.
What does any of that tell us about any of the above political views? Nothing.
Human nature is fallen. None of us are fully immune to selfishness or temptation. Hypocrisy occurs in all walks of life. But no group — especially no large subculture, such as the pro-life movement — is judged by the acts of a few individuals who identify with it. To observe the mere existence of pro-life hypocrites is meaningless unless that hypocrisy is practiced by a statistically significant percentage of pro-lifers, or condoned, excused, or encouraged by any sort of pro-life authority.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe Ms. Olson titled an entire article on the premise because she’s uncovered evidence of exactly that:
Pro-lifers are indeed less likely to find out someone they know has had an abortion, and researchers from New York University delve into the details in their blindfold -dropping findings published in the journal Sociological Science.
“Americans who are opposed to abortion are less likely to hear that their sister, mother, or friend had an abortion than their pro-choice peers,” the study’s coauthor Sarah K. Cowan, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Sociology, said in a press release. “Abortions are often kept secret both by women who have had them and by their confidants. Moreover, abortions are especially likely to be kept secret from those who are pro-life. These disclosure differences affect who hears about others’ abortions and may help explain the relative stability of Americans’ opinions on abortion.”
When researchers asked 1,600 American adults across the country their knowledge of others’, their own, or their partner’s abortion and miscarriage experiences, they found a big difference between the groups. Americans who believe abortion should not be legal under any circumstance were 21 percent less likely to hear about someone else having an abortion.
…or we could be dealing with a brand-new low in pro-abortion burdens of proof.
Obviously, “pro-lifers secretly have abortions” and “friends and relatives keep their abortions secret from pro-lifers” are two completely different claims. A study indicating the latter in no way proves the former. The difference isn’t even subtle enough to earn the name bait-and-switch.
The closest Ms. Olson comes to a specific number supporting her charge is that “Of the Republican party, 69 percent are pro-life, which means nearly a third of their party is inclined to have secret abortions because they fear of their party’s disapproval.” But by her own admission, she’s talking about a pro-choice third having secret abortions, not pro-lifers. Seriously, none of Medical Daily’s editors noticed a disconnect here?
Anti-abortionists’ deceptive dishonesty only fuels a façade of lies and shame.
But you haven’t identified any of our deceptive dishonesty. At all.
Why would someone want to tell you about their abortion if you’ve openly expressed you don’t think it’s right? Those who were more liberal and accepting of abortions were more likely to hear about their friends and family having one because they’ve welcomed the concept […] “A third of women who have had an abortion have kept it a secret from someone with whom they usually talk about personal matters,” Cowan said. “In addition, one-quarter of confidants also keep the secret. Abortions are predominantly kept secret from immediate family members. People keep abortions — their own and others’ — a secret for reasons of privacy and to protect the woman who had the abortion from stigma.”
Even though it’s not the accusation her own title and opening paragraph promised, this still deserves a response. It’s true that balancing the horror of abortion with compassionate openness for post-abortive women is a moral and tonal tightrope. We don’t want to sugarcoat the gravity of abortion, but we don’t want to alienate those it’s affected, either. Killing children inevitably spurs the most intense emotions, so sometimes people are going to let anger and disgust get the better of them. There will always be some pro-lifers who sometimes fail to maintain balance, and we should always strive to do better.
But no honest person can deny that overall, the pro-life movement is working hard to show post-abortive women love and understanding. We recognize how scared and well-intentioned people can be deceived by institutionalized scientific lies and a predatory abortion industry. We devote entire organizations like Silent No More and Rachel’s Vineyard to providing them safe spaces for healing, and to give a voice to those suffering from abortion regret. We embrace converts like Abby Johnson and Norma McCorvey. We are the ones who fight for the families of women the abortion industry kills and neglects. And the Christianity so prominent in the pro-life movement reminds us to humbly acknowledge that we’re all sinners and that nobody is beyond redemption.
We know that there are a select few pro-choicers who don’t feel the need to deceive, from Alan Dershowitz’s honest admission that the Constitution doesn’t mandate the “right” he supports to Peter Singer’s disturbing candor about how “there is no doubt” that what he favors the unconditional power to destroy is a living human being. But among the pro-abortion media, they are still the exception.