The older I get, the more I value freedom and the more
I desire others to know true freedom.
I desire it particularly for women who find themselves
facing an unexpected pregnancy.
Those who do not feel free to choose life. Those who
feel coerced by the baby’s father, or parents, or friends.
Those who feel stifled by society’s lingering
stigma regarding unplanned pregnancies and adoption.
Those who feel imprisoned by fear of an unknown
Those held hostage by an abusive relationship.
And those whose vulnerability is preyed upon
and exploited, trapped into ending their own child’s life.
Two-thirds of post-abortive women report feeling
explicitly or implicitly forced into abortion.
That is not freedom.
We must set them free.
We must embrace every opportunity to help women be free to choose life.
Free to protect the child within their womb, even those deemed “imperfect,” or not perfectly timed.
Free to parent a child or free to lovingly place him for adoption.
Free to pursue their dreams, even in the midst of pregnancy or parenting.
When we empower women, whether through our laws, our words, our material support, or whatever is needed to walk with them on their journey, we offer them true freedom. We give them what they need to make the best choice possible for themselves and their child. That choice can never be death.
I am so grateful that my own family gave me the freedom to choose life when I was just 18 years old.
My mother, relieved that I did not have a terminal
illness, assured me we could deal with a baby.
My oldest brother, a new father himself, told me that
all babies, at all times, are a blessing.
My youngest brother embraced me and thanked me for not
getting an abortion.
Does not every young woman deserve such support so
that they have the freedom to choose life?
As we celebrate our many freedoms, let us renew our
commitment to giving every human being, without qualification, the freedom to
live first and foremost, for without life, no other freedoms can exist.
On June 9, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban abortions solely because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. This pro-life victory served as a small but significant step to promote the dignity of all human life.
The bill, known as House Bill 1500, was introduced by Rep. Kate Klunk, R-York, in December 2020.
“Most of us know of a family touched by a Down syndrome child, and know these children grow to lead joyful and fulfilling lives,” Klunk said when introducing the bill.
In current Pennsylvania law, it is legal for a woman to
receive an abortion prior to 24 weeks gestation for any reason deemed necessary
by a physician, with the exception of selecting the sex of the child. This bill
will broaden that restriction through the same means in the case of a positive
Down syndrome diagnosis.
“People with Down syndrome are living longer than ever and they’re happier than most of us,” said Rep. Kathy Rapp. “So why are many of them being aborted, why? It’s a curious and heart-wrenching question, because there never has been a better time in all of history for people with Down syndrome.”
“We need to stand up for those who do not have a voice here
in Pennsylvania,” added Klunk. “And that’s what this bill does. We have the
responsibility to stand up for those children who receive that Down Syndrome
diagnosis in the womb, and we shouldn’t allow them to be discriminated against because
they have one extra chromosome.”
Rep. Paul Schemel acknowledged unborn babies with Down Syndrome as falling under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which protects the disabled from discrimination in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and public/private affairs. “The principle underlying the legally protected classes is that we don’t treat certain people differently because of their condition, be it race, sex, disability, etc. We don’t treat the disabled differently just because they are disabled. That would be wrong.”
The bill came through the House with a passing vote of 120-83,
a major victory for the pro-life movement. But why is it so significant?
The reason is not only because unborn babies with Down
syndrome are receiving justice and protection, but the bill itself is one of
the first steps to shift the focus of the abortion movement from the woman
alone to the unborn child in her womb. Once we can shine a small light on the
humanity and life of the unborn, we can open a door to complete, undeniable
justice for them all.
May we continue to pray for our state senators, as they
prepare to vote on the Down syndrome bill in the weeks to come. May we pray
that Governor Wolf may also begin to see this bill in a different light. And
may we continue, one small step at a time, to proclaim the humanity in all
This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 edition of LifeLines and is re-published in honor of Father’s Day.
My dad was a Marine.
That alone tells you something about my childhood. We woke on first call, ate what we put on our
plate, and attempted perfect corners when making beds.
Although my father spent just three years in the
Marines, his service would have a lifelong impact on him and the family he
would make. The military gave my dad,
whose own father died when he was just eight, structure, discipline, and pride
in a job well done. These qualities would influence how he and we would live.
My dad also played ball with us, made our tea every
morning, and without so many words, showed us he loved us. He endured the loss
of his 16 year-old daughter as well as his oldest grandchild, and due to an
injury sustained during his military service, retired on disability earlier
than he would have liked. Life’s trials toughened but never defeated him. At
times, he seemed indomitable.
When I was 19, I saw a different side to my dad, one
that surprisingly emerged after having my first child.
Suddenly the man I was afraid to ask for the car, the
dad who stayed awake until everyone was home in bed, the meticulous Marine who trained
us to put everything where it belonged, was magically transformed into a big,
soft teddy bear of a Papa. All because
of a little baby girl who came into our lives at a most unexpected time.
I won’t lie. He was not happy when my now-husband and
I told him we were pregnant. But it didn’t take long for him to model the resilience
he’d demonstrated his whole life. He and my mom would support us under one
condition: I went back to school to finish my degree.
Growing up poor and without a dad, he’d never had a
chance at an education. And he wasn’t
going to let mine slip by.
He would care for our baby when I was in class. As the youngest of five, I had a hard time picturing
this because I had never seen my father even hold a baby, much less care for
Then she arrived. Suddenly, the strong disciplinarian
who raised me was now held captive by a newborn weighing not even seven pounds.
With her, he was gentle, attentive, nurturing, and
even silly. My invincible and sometimes rigid father transformed into a doting and
whimsical grandfather, and for the first time revealed a vulnerability I had
never before seen.
The miracle and power of new life!
When we had our son three years later, my father helped watch both kids while I completed my Master’s Degree. He thrived on being a caretaker to them, and they thrived under his care. A special bond was formed with them, and subsequently, with all 16 of his grandchildren. “Papa” was his new vocation and he embraced it with the same enthusiasm he had embraced military life.
So it was especially hard for all of us to watch our
family patriarch, the soldier-caretaker, enter into his final battle combatting
Stage 4 Mesothelioma. Given just a few months to live, he defied the prognosis
by actively living for a full year.
Eventually, though, hospice care did become necessary.
Remaining true to self, he offered gentle instruction to the home health aide
on how to properly make a bed. Once a Marine…
He ultimately lost the battle. He entered into eternal
rest on May 1 after bidding us all good night and gently dismissing us from his
room…Always a Marine.
A man of deep faith, he leaves a rich prolife legacy
that the gift of self, whether to country or to family or even to the stranger
we encounter, is the noblest of callings. A lesson deeply ingrained in us by
Today I offer you some alarming food-for-thought: we are
living in a society in which people have the authority to determine that one
human being is more worthy of life than another.
Pennsylvania Representative Kate A. Klunk introduced legislation that would amend the Abortion Control Act to prohibit the abortion of a child solely because the child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Last session, the bill passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 117-76. Though it passed in the Senate as well, it was ultimately rejected after being vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf. However, Klunk is not going to let down that easily—she just reintroduced a similar bill known as House Bill 1500.
For those who may not know, Down syndrome is the most common
chromosomal disorder in the United States. According to the CDC, the condition affects
about 1 in every 700 births. Children with Down syndrome experience a variety
of social and intellectual disabilities, as well as a range of medical
complications. They are generally identified by physical characteristics such
as eyelids that slant upwards, decreased muscle mass, and a trademark crease
through the palms of the hands.
Aside from physical identifiers, those with Down syndrome
experience cognitive and social impairments that can vary in degree.
Over a hundred years ago, Down syndrome was a dismal
diagnosis for new parents. In 1910, children with Down syndrome typically did not
live past the age of nine. That life
expectancy soon increased to 20 years with the discovery of antibiotics, and
now, the majority of Down syndrome adults live to be older than 60.
Today, people with Down syndrome are diving into their
communities in ways never thought possible. They work in schools, health care
facilities, and all throughout the work force, and they engage in a variety of
recreational activities like music and sports. They are university
graduates, professional musicians, fashion designers, business owners and
professional athletes. In addition to these, however, those with Down syndrome
have always been friends, family members, neighbors and members of our
As writer Ziad Abdelnour wrote, “Success is not found in what
you have achieved, but rather in who you have become”.
In a research survey of over 3,000 family members and people with the disability, nearly 90 percent of siblings indicated that they feel like they are better people because of a sibling with Down syndrome.
If you’re like me, you might know of several people with Down
syndrome in your community. You are familiar with the way they can light up a
room the moment they walk in. You might remember a sense of humor, a unique
personality, or a refreshingly optimistic outlook on life. Just like many
others, those with Down syndrome can radiate a sense of joy that can impact
anyone they cross paths with, perhaps for the rest of their lives.
Currently in Pennsylvania, the only limitation to abortion
per the Abortion
Control Act is for sex-selective abortions. This seems self-explanatory—no person
has the right to deny the pursuit of life to another person based solely on the
discrimination of gender. The question left standing is: what makes Down syndrome
the President, mainstream media, and Hollywood elites all in their corner, it
would seem that the abortion lobby is living their misguided dream.
recent news that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of
Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban has sent them into a tailspin. They’re
panicked that not only will the ban be upheld by a more conservative Court, but
that Roe itself may be reversed. If
there is strong legal precedent and overwhelming public support for abortion,
as activists often claim, what are they afraid of?
The truth. Many in the abortion industry know what many pro-lifers know: Roe v. Wade was a decision built on proverbial sand, a feeble foundation that has been steadily eroded by science, experience, and reason over the last 50 years.
Legal scholars on both sides of the
issue acknowledge the shaky ground on which Justice Harry Blackmun’s majority
opinion was based. His own pro-abortion clerk, Edward Lazarus, admitted years
later, “As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial
method, Roe borders on the indefensible…And
in the years since Roe’s
announcement, no one has produced a
convincing defense of Roe on its own
abortion supporters often refer to the Constitutional right to abortion, the truth
is there is no such thing, and there never was. Simply stated, there is no explicit right to abortion in the
U.S. Constitution. So on what basis did the Court legalize abortion in 1973?
Roe said that a woman’s “right” to abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment. Yet, the amendment itself makes no mention of right to privacy.
“Nor shall any State deprive any person of life,
liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Court referred to a right to privacy that was invented in a 1965 case
about contraception, Griswold vs.
Connecticut. In that majority opinion, Justice William O. Douglas wrote of penumbras (shadows) formed by emanations (rays) of the Bill of Rights,
and surmised that from these shadows and
rays arose a “zone of privacy,” later referred by the court as the “right of
In essence, Justice Douglas proposed that the Bill of Rights emanates other rights, and in the shadows of those other rights are additional rights, none of which are specifically declared in the Constitution. It was on this precarious, ever-shifting bed of sand (and shadows) that the right to abortion as part of a right to privacy was founded. A fabricated, weak argument.
What is undeniably explicit in the 14th amendment are guaranteed fundamental rights: no State shall make a law depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny equal protection of law. The 14th amendment, first and foremost, upholds the right to life. And yet this amendment is used to imply a right to privacy that is prioritized over an explicit right to life.
But what about the word person,
another frequent protest of abortion supporters? Are fetuses persons? Even Justice Blackmun himself conceded in his
opinion that the right to abortion would not exist if the
humanity of the fetus could be proved. “If
this suggestion of personhood is established, [Roe’s] case, of course,
collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically
by the [14th] Amendment,” he wrote.
What would a 2021 Blackmun say about
this? Hidden in the womb, invisible to the human eye, the fetus was somewhat
easier to de-humanize in 1973. But with the revelations of ultrasound, the
evolving sciences of embryology and genetics, and the advancements of in-utero
fetal surgery, it’s disingenuous to do so today. Fetuses are as human as infants, toddlers,
and senior citizens. Clearly, both science and technology have shown us the irrefutable proof that
Blackmun sought. Those unwilling to admit to this obvious truth deliberately
turn a blind eye to the evidence and begin playing language games in an effort
to justify abortion.
The decision to legalize abortion was rooted in not
just poor legal interpretation, but also deception. Roe was based on the
lie that Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) was raped.
Roe was supported by then-abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s grossly
inflated, yet unquestioned numbers that thousands of women died in back alley
abortions each year. Roe’s
majority opinion cited Larry Lader’s non-scientific book Abortion seven
times, essentially using a piece of propaganda to justify a legal decision.
Roe is not immune to being overturned. As Justice Amy Coney Barret explained in her nomination hearings, Roe is not a super-precedent like the de-segregation case Brown vs. the Board of Education because it still faces many legal challenges in courts around the country. This vulnerability is what has the abortion lobby so worried. A tide of truth is creeping ever closer to washing Roe away.
Overturning Roe will not suddenly make abortion illegal across this county. The abortion decision would go back to each state, and we all must be ready for such a pivotal moment in history, to rebuild a culture of life that is on solid legal ground.
My name is Jessie Morgan, and I am so excited to take on an internship at the PA Pro Life Federation this summer!
I grew up in Sunbury, about an hour up the
river from Harrisburg, and attended Line Mountain School District growing up.
The pro-life caused sparked my interest in the
8th grade, when my middle school Campus Club (Christian charity
group) organized a ‘Walk For Life’ for our local Pregnancy Care Center. As
young as I was at the time, I had virtually no idea what abortion even was; I
just thought the Pregnancy Care Center was a sanctuary for new mothers in need
of support and resources.
I vividly remember the design on our T-Shirts,
with a picture of two tiny footprints displayed over the front. Underneath the
picture in italics was the phrase, “Taking
steps for those who can’t”. I wasn’t really sure what it meant, but not too
long afterwards I found out the truth—
along with helping mothers, the core of the Pregnancy Care Center was to
protect the lives of unborn babies. To save them from abortion.
It was not easy to process the unthinkable. At
a young age, children and teenagers are much more adaptable to new ideas; they
can normalize practices such as abortion because they’re growing up in an
environment where they are told these practices are okay, that they are safe.
But I never could. I would remember those two tiny footprints and my heart
would ache for the little human lives that were never given a chance to
I was first introduced to the Federation after entering their annual Pro-Life Oratory contest in 2018. My speech took first place, and I had the amazing opportunity to attend the National Right To Life Convention in Kansas City, Missouri later that summer. Following the convention, I would hop on a bus to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. every January. While the convention provided me with a plethora of helpful information about life in the womb, the March gave me the hope that there were thousands of others in this country who were willing to stand up to protect the sanctity of all human life.
During my internship, I hope to use the skills
and abilities I have gained in my own education to engage young people with the
pro-life movement. A good friend once mentioned to me that real culture change
cannot come from a change of law, but a change of heart. If we can impress the
value of unborn life onto the hearts of our young people, I believe we can
foster a society that will not only consider abortion illegal, but unthinkable.
By tossing out these needed safeguards, the administration and the abortion industry are playing Russian roulette with women’s lives, handing them “a loaded gun” in the form of chemical abortion.
According to a statement released by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), which represents approximately 7,000 women’s healthcare practitioners, the abortion pill has led to at least 24 deaths and 3,000 injuries, with 500 more women at risk of dying had they not reached emergency medical care in time.
Since the FDA stopped collecting data on the adverse
effects of the drug in 2016, the complication rate could be much higher. Death due to abortion often goes unreported,
so it is difficult to determine the true fatality rate of the drug.
Earlier this month, a 23-year-old Argentinian woman died
from a chemical abortion after it was made legal in her country.
Now, in our country, the most pro-abortion
President in history jeopardizes the lives of unsuspecting young women as they
are misled into believing they can safely abort at home.
No longer will an in-person exam be required to
confirm the gestational age of the child or to rule out an ectopic pregnancy or
multiple babies or other complicating conditions or to determine if a woman is
RH negative and in need of a Rhogam injection.
Rather, the potent drugs can be delivered to a mailbox or pharmacy simply through a tele-health visit with an abortion provider. Planned Parenthood Keystone is already enthusiastically promoting this “service” on their website.
The two-pill abortion procedure is only approved up through
10 weeks, but many young women are frequently uncertain as to how far along
they are. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology estimates that
about 50% of women are wrong about their gestational age when relying on recall
of their last cycle, which is why determining the baby’s age by ultrasound had
been standard practice in the past. Taking the drugs past 10 weeks
significantly increases the chance of complications.
But the abortion drug is dangerous earlier in
pregnancy too. AAPLOG notes, “A Finnish study involving nearly 50,000 women who
had abortions at 9 weeks or less showed that immediate adverse events were four times more likely with chemical
abortion than surgical.”
That is why the safety regulations, known as REMs
(Risk Evaluation and Mitigation), were enacted in the first place. There is significant risk of hemorrhaging,
infection, incomplete abortion, and more that can threaten a young woman’s
“This requirement is not restrictive-it is
protective,” states AAPLOG.
And while there is a definite physical risk to women, there is also a tremendous emotional and psychological impact. Young women are left alone to endure hours of severe cramping and bleeding to deliver and dispose of a dead child.
It’s hard to understand that anyone could possibly
think such trauma is part of empowering women. Rather than given authentic
support at a difficult moment, women are given a pill to kill, one that might
kill them as well as their baby.
But under the misleading title of “reproductive justice,” that’s a risk the Biden Administration is willing to take.
While the celestial
heavens and the deepest pockets of the ocean remain mysterious to us on many
levels, modern technology has made them less so, providing new and fascinating insights
that we once lacked.
The same is true of
another once baffling frontier: the womb.
Although it is the origination
point of every human being who has ever walked this earth, for the greater part
of history we’ve known little about our first home and how we came to be.
It was only in the late 1800’s, for example, that scientists understood that the union of male and female sex cells creates another human being. But beyond that, much remained a mystery.
Without any means to
glimpse into the gestational cosmos, scientists could only speculate as to what
occurs during pregnancy. Even well into
the 20th Century, we possessed surprisingly little information about
As late as the 1969 edition of the Cumulative Index Medicus, a massive book listing every article published in every medical journal in the world, had just five articles under the heading of “fetus, physiology and anatomy of.”
The void of facts made
the product of abortion-on-demand easier to market. After all, it (not he or she) was just a clump of cells.
The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson addressed this lack of empirical data on human development in his autobiography The Hand of God. And he discussed the technological lightning bolt that struck him in the late 1970’s which led him to abandon his lucrative abortion practice and leadership role in the pro-abortion movement to become a staunch pro-life advocate.
That transformative tool was ultrasound which provided a window that revealed the miraculous process of human development. These scientific advancements, along with those arising from the study of genetics, sparked an abundance of research into life in utero.
Nathanson credits ultrasound with helping us “to learn
more about the fetus since its advent than in almost all the history of medicine
before that time.”
By 1979, he accounted for twenty-eight hundred articles on fetology in the Index Medicus, and by 1994 close to five thousand. Now, almost 30 years later, how much more research has been done and articles written on human life in its earliest stages?
How little we knew then;
how much more we know now.
It might be easier to
understand someone’s support of abortion back in the “Dark Ages” when so little
of fetology was known.
But how can anyone today,
especially those who seemingly espouse science as their barometer of all things
true, justify abortion?
They would have to be blind
to facts. Deaf to a heartbeat. Indifferent to an innocent life moving right
before their eyes. Numb to
dismemberment. Desensitized to a violent death.
Callous to the crude disposal
of human life.
They would be and, in
fact, are the ultimate science-deniers.
So let us be relentless
messengers of the beautiful biological truths we have learned in the last half
Let us incessantly proclaim the fact that every human life begins at the moment of fertilization.
Let us truly follow the science to build a culture of life.
Perhaps you remember it well. Perhaps you weren’t even
I was five years old, blissfully unaware of the
volatile changes occurring in our culture.
It would be many years before I would know what Roe v. Wade was. By that time, an abortion narrative had been carefully crafted and a misleading lexicon taken hold, phrases like “pro-choice”, “reproductive rights”, and even “access to health care.”
Which is why the movie Roe v Wade is so fascinating and so very relevant. It offers a fast-paced, fact-checked depiction of events leading to the most controversial court case of our time, a historical moment that preceded many Americans alive today.
For those familiar with the history of abortion in
this country, this movie smoothly ties together main players and events, helping
the viewer to see the big picture. For others, the film will expose how the true
story of Roe has been omitted from decades
of abortion propaganda.
Told through the lens of Dr. Bernard Nathanson (played by co-producer Nick Loeb), the movie captures his evolving relationship with abortion: from paying for a girlfriend’s abortion to co-founding the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) to becoming New York’s busiest abortionist. With over 70,000 deaths attributed to his practice, he became known as “The King of Abortion” and “The Scraper.” But as the film depicts, Nathanson experiences a heart-wrenching epiphany that leads him to abandon his lucrative work and become an outspoken pro-life activist.
As Nathanson narrates his journey, we meet his
sidekick Lader, who has authored a book called Abortion. He recruits friend and feminist Betty Friedan to the
abortion cause. Reluctant to make abortion the focus of the women’s rights
movement, Friedan does ultimately bring the National Organization for Women
(NOW) into the fight, but observes, “You boys are only in favor of abortion
because it’s cheaper than child support.”
For Larry Lader allies are not enough. He believes
every cause has to identify an enemy, and for the abortion movement, he shrewdly
chooses the biggest defender of the unborn, the Catholic Church. A master media
manipulator, Lader is able to vilify the Church while promoting his newly-coined
term “pro-choice” and his “abortion-on-demand” agenda in major publications.
Today’s viewers may be shocked to see the dominant role that men, not women, actually played in legalizing abortion. In addition, to Nathanson and Lader, the Supreme Court at that time was all male, none of whom could have ever felt the flutter of life in their belly or witnessed an ultrasound image of that life. The movie reveals that two justices, Potter Stewart and Harry Blackmun, actually had family members who volunteered at Planned Parenthood while Roe was in the courts, yet they didn’t recuse themselves.
A little-known fact explained in the movie is that
arguments for Roe were heard twice,
once in 1971 and then again in 1973. Justice Warren Burger (played by John
Voight) insisted on the second hearing since two seats on the Court had been vacant
the first time around. With a case as controversial as Roe, he felt a decision should
be made by a full court. Tragically, in the time between oral arguments, Burger
and Blackmun would switch their votes to be in favor of Roe, likely a result of
media and family pressure.
An outstanding woman in the film is the poised and brilliant Dr. Mildred Jefferson, the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Recognizing that abortion violates the Hippocratic Oath she took, she decides she cannot sit on the sidelines. “Life begins at conception. As a physician, I know this.” She goes on to become President of the newly formed National Right to Life Committee, now the oldest and largest pro-life organization in our country.
Although dense with people, events, and information, the movie flows easily, thanks to Nathanson’s retrospective voice framing the story. The extensive, detailed research that underscores the film is impressive, making this an excellent educational tool not only for today but for generations to come.
Many scenes will give the viewer pause: the arrest of clergy involved in a secret abortion-referral network, Planned Parenthood fundraising at the Playboy Mansion, Nathanson’s overseas training in “assembly-line” abortion methods, the emotional recitation of the diary of the unborn, and the stirring closing argument offered by Robert Flowers.
Many of the lines are thought-provoking. Throughout the film, Constitutional law professor Robert M. Byrn offers bits of wisdom, quotations from historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.
But perhaps it is his own words to his students that should resonate with us long after viewing the movie, impelling us to never stop advocating for the innocent, vulnerable child in the womb.
“Don’t you think someone’s hopelessness should motivate us to protect them, not destroy them?”
(For $12.99 plus tax, you can stream Roe v Wade to any device by clicking here.)
A happily married woman who delights in her two
children may not seem like someone who would get an abortion.
Yet, Sue Ellen Browder did. In her book Subverted: How I Helped the
Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement, she reveals the mindset that
led her to a decision she would later regret.
It’s a mindset that, decades later, still lures women
to abort. At its core is the universal emotion of fear.
Browder feared that she and her husband, struggling writers working temp jobs to keep the lights on, could not afford another child. The 1970’s Cosmo culture in which she was steeped validated that fear and gave her “permission” to act on it. “In my mind, abortion was an integral part of the women’s movement, a right as fundamental as equal pay for equal work,” she writes. As “watered-down Christians,” she says her husband even tried to find justification for abortion in the Bible.
But Browder admits that she would never have considered abortion were it not legal in 1974. “Looking up some sleazy criminal abortionist in a back alley would be too hideous a prospect for words.” An important admission that we need to bear in mind today as we seek to change laws to protect life.
Getting a legal abortion in the “bright, clean hospital” where she had already given birth, however, gave it an air of legitimacy, as though it were just like any other medical procedure. “I didn’t think of myself as killing a child. I thought of myself as solving a problem.”
The abortion was excruciatingly painful, both physically
and emotionally. In an act of self-preservation, Browder blocked much of the
details from her mind, rendering the memory a blur.
Afterward, she numbly returned to work. “I have just
snuffed out a tiny life over my lunch hour.
I have betrayed the bond of love that holds the universe together. And
no one I work with seems any the wiser.”
To prevent any possible feelings from surfacing, Browder
buried herself in distractions. She blamed the persistent angst and depression she
felt on the couple’s continually volatile finances. Her husband struggled emotionally as well, and
they chose to stifle their pain by never speaking of the abortion.
One day, however, Browder found herself offering a gesture
of atonement. She spontaneously purchased a brand new wooden crib and mattress
and donated it to a pro-life center for “some struggling mother who, despite
her poverty, had chosen to keep her baby and to reach out humbly to others for
help.” Something she wished she had done.
Browder’s thinking shifted and she questioned the faux
feminism that portrayed abortion as the great liberator. She recognized that
she herself was deceived by the very propaganda she helped disseminate as a
writer for Cosmopolitan.
Her entry into the Episcopal Church, coinciding with her
work on a book about human interactions, resulted in a new understanding of personhood.
She realized an interconnectedness between all humans, especially mother and
It gradually became clear to Browder that the women’s
movement embodied by Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women was
rooted in flawed thinking that “falsely isolates a woman from God, from a true
relationship of love with a man, and even from the dance of life in her own
Browder had succumbed to fear in getting her abortion, but she would no longer succumb to the lies that pitted women against their children.
Her journey was taking a new turn, one that would lead
her to a surprising place.
(Please join us in reading Chapter 13-18 and the
Epilogue for next week.)
“It’s not only a tiny little life who dies on this
gurney. Part of my heart dies along with him.” (p. 105)
“Men, stripped of the maturity than comes with
responsible fatherhood, were becoming self-absorbed Peter Pans who couldn’t
grow up.” (p. 122)