Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Safe, Legal, and Celebrated: Where Do We Go From Here?

Above: an abortion activist attempts to
erase women who regret their abortions
With the chipper “Shout Your Abortion” movement now an established staple in the pro-choice arsenal, the idea of abortion as a necessary evil has given way to celebration of it. As recently as 2008, Hillary Clinton declared that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare, and by rare, I mean rare." One decade later, the concept of shouting one’s abortion has become so en vogue that enough women submitted stories to complete an entire book about it (with the Amazon description unironically heralding the women who “breathed life” into the movement).

What happened? How did the abortion industry successfully rebrand a life-altering, and life-ending, action into a peppy display of feminine empowerment?

The Abortion Lobby’s Guide to Rebranding 

He presumably wasn’t foreseeing Michelle Wolf’s cringe-inducing “Salute to Abortion,” but consider the relevance of Alexander Pope’s cautionary words:

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

In other words, the abortion business has smoothly inserted the issue into casual conversation for so many years that it ceased to be shocking and became downright comfortable, then finally laudable. Instead of feeling motivation to avoid it, some women now see it as a mere rite of passage. Or worse, they view it as a badge of honor to be won in the fight for female autonomy (see Lena Dunham bemoaning the fact that she has not had one).

Taking Back the Conversation 

So, as we watch the abortion folks twisting the popular narrative to ensure maximum success for themselves, how do we untangle it? How do we make the “Silent No More” campaign more persuasive than the “Shout Your Abortion” movement is pervasive?

Broaden Our Platform. Despite writing frequently on the subject of abortion, I have rarely spoken about post-abortion regret. Why? Because I have felt that these women’s stories are their own and that I am not entitled to share on their behalf. It sounds absurd now, and I realize that if their stories are to reach a larger audience, we all have to spread them on the unique platform to which each of us access. I can’t count the number of friends I have seen post erroneous articles touting the “benefits” of abortion, and I know I personally need to work harder to counter the false with equal doses of truth.

Be There from the Beginning. I have read numerous pieces of advice from post-abortive women who have eventually found their way to the pro-life side, and one of their most frequent tips is a don’t: Don’t treat them differently while they are still on the pro-choice side. Attacking will not change their hearts in the first place, and it will render them silent about their past abortions if they do come to regret them. Women have complex reasons for choosing abortion (get some insight into them here) and they need compassion, not condemnation.

Donate What You Can. The pro-life lobby does not have Planned Parenthood money, and we rely on grassroots support. By bringing cute baby clothes to the local pregnancy resource center or donating time to volunteer for a fun pro-life event, we are helping women to see that joy comes along with any trials of pregnancy. Show them that life, with all its beautiful surprises, is the choice to celebrate.

[Today's guest post by Aubrey Wursten is part of our paid blogging program.]

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