I read a lot of terrible abortion stories for my job, but some break my heart more than others.
A few weeks ago, I came across a column in the New York Magazine written by an abortion doula. Curious, I clicked on the story and read about the young woman, who provides emotional support for women as they have abortions.
I began to feel more and more horrified as I read about her work and her attempts to justify really terrible things. She writes:
“A year ago, when I was just starting out, Mitchell met with me and the other trainees to talk about the job. We sat in the park, eating pie. She gave us a sheet with situations so exaggeratedly horrible they seemed unreal: An 11-year-old in for an abortion who asks for birth control when she’s alone with the doctor. Her mother works nights; she’d been left with a friend who has a twentysomething son. She calls him her boyfriend; he will go to jail. A woman who says she’d like to do another ultrasound to see if it’s definitely a girl, because she’ll only keep it if it isn’t. …
“’What do you assume?’ Mitchell asked of each case. ‘How can you be supportive?’ We talked about what would be hard for us to overcome, things we might say or do and how we might feel. I felt embarrassed by my assumptions, and the limits of my compassion. I judged these women on the worthiness of their reasons (‘Would she really only keep a boy?’ I wondered) and found myself questioning why those who come in for late-term abortions had waited so long to decide. Later, I learned from Mahoney that all the examples were real cases that had come from her first six months working as an abortion doula.” (You can read the full article here. Parts of it are graphic.)
I hung my head in anger and shame as I read about this young woman from my own generation, a young woman so caught up in the net of moral relativism that she believes it is compassionate to dismiss the rape of an 11-year-old or condone the woman who is aborting her baby simply because she’s a girl.
My generation place high moral value on the idea of acceptance and non-judgment. I think it comes from college, where we’ve been taught moral relativism – your morals aren’t better than mine, and mine aren’t better than yours. We have no right to judge someone else’s actions or beliefs. There is no right or wrong.
Acceptance, inclusiveness, a judgment-free attitude – these are all good things. But when these concepts are taken to the extreme of moral relativism, they become dangerous, and this article is a perfect example of it. Acceptance and non-judgment are no excuse for ignoring things that are truly terrible.
Sometimes people are wrong. Rape is wrong. Taking advantage of a child is wrong. Sex trafficking is wrong. Ignoring the victim of a crime is wrong. Killing an innocent person is wrong.
I could feel the columnist struggling with right and wrong throughout her column. Some situations seemed wrong to her, and rightly so. Yet, moral relativism won the hour.
Let’s not let it win the day. Abortion is wrong. We must never shy away from saying it – though we also must be compassionate when we do. Contrary to what moral relativists would have us believe, realizing that something is wrong opens the doors for us to extend a hand of compassion and love to those who are hurting. And that is true compassion.