I understand that much of the discussion encircling the Planned Parenthood video released this week is vain, emotion-filled and futile. I am doing everything I can to avoid that today. I want to call attention to one specific aspect of the question at hand.
My point here is not to start more raging arguments. We all know that this political game we play in our society has nothing to do with actually convincing our opponnents that they are wrong, and everything to do with merely yelling louder than they do so that their voice is drowned out and ours alone is heard. I hear the yelling and the arguing every day.
As I speak to my pro choice friend, my question is simple: how do you convince yourself of this? When you truly stop and consider it all, having made all your arguments and points about why abortion is good, do you really believe it? Do you genuinely have peace in your heart as you support the termination of a “fetus” in the womb?
Do you really believe that word “fetus”?
Its so interesting to me, to see it from the new eyes of becoming a parent myself. Everywhere you go in the obstetrics and gynecology department of healthcare, in all the 9 months of appoinments and ultrasounds, not once did I hear the use of the word “fetus”. In all my conversations and all of my overhearing of conversations of people around me, I never hear anyone refer to that which is in the uterus of a pregnant woman as fetus.
When we speak to our children and tell them that they are going to have a new brother or sister we do not call them a fetus. When we mourn the heartbreaking tragedy of a miscarriage we do not call it a fetus. When we are shopping for cribs and strollers we do not call it a fetus.
Always and in every case it is a baby. It is life.
This is the vocabulary we use no matter how pro-choice we claim to be.
Yet, all that changes when pregancy oversteps the boundary of our absolute morality of personal autonomy. All of a sudden we get technical. All of a sudden we start coming up with sophisicated formulations to get around using the “b-word”. All of a sudden we get awkward and uncomfortable. We say its “personal”. We need to be brave! After all, a woman’s personal freedom lies on the line.
The medical director of Planned Parenthood in the video talks about “crushing above, crushing below, but leaving the target organs intact” as she pokes her fork into her salad and enjoys her wine.
How is it that we come to such morbid and sick realities?
It is simple. Our morality of personal freedom leads to the death of anyone and anything in the way. We of course, prefer to refer to the “anyones” as “anythings”. It makes us feel better about ourselves.
We are the ones who get to define life. Is it at birth? A certain stage of development? Conception? Irrelevant. We call it life when its planned. We call it a baby when we want to keep it and when we are excited to bulid a family. But when it’s a hinderance we will simply call it a fetus and “terminate” it. And we can make sure to “crush above, and crush below, but save the vital organs”, because they pay well.
We are the gods of our own world, bestowing upon ourselves the ultimate right to dictate and define the difference, calling it life one day and fetus the next. We will let nothing get in the way of our right to choose, no matter how much blood and tax dollars we will have to spill.
What will it take to waken the American conscience? The undeniable glimpses of moral compass still left within us points to the ultimate reality of the One who has built that compass within us. He alone knows and defines life and death, right and wrong. All will stand before Him and give an account. No poliitical argumentation will wash away our seared conscience and bloody hands then.