Chris King: Using desperate fantasies to justify abortion
Jane St. Croix Ireland’s recent column, “A larger view of this life,”(The Aspen Times, Feb. 1) restates the same tired pro-abortionism I have heard all my life. Her attempt shows yet again that no one can defend abortion morally and rationally. Realizing this, I suppose, Ireland takes the predictable track: She excuses it with mythology.
In opening, Ireland renounces the limits we observe in ordinary life — that is, “this dimension of reality we’re currently inhabiting.” The statement cuts away rather a lot, I think. It proclaims her intention to imagine what she likes, and right at the get-go.
She then chides right-to-lifers for “failing to comprehend” her imagined reality — i.e., her personal mythology of abortion. By it, all those unborn souls, once dispatched, do not really die. Death, in effect, is an illusion. It’s nothing to bother about. The departed, she blithely declares, just depart for some other corner of the universe, somewhere else in eternity.
How neatly her sermon on the soul has canceled the body. Her mythology of abortion may now look away from actual abortion. Her discussion may ignore the bloody entrails, the little arms and legs, and the severed heads. Such details can only concern those who remain in the “reality we’re currently inhabiting.” Happily for Ms. Ireland, she is not there. She has checked out. She makes her pronouncements from her personal neverland.
And in this land of cloudy make-believe, she finds the right to abortion. Here she sees that to kill your offspring might even be a duty. Here a mother may “communicate” with the soul of her unborn before she turns the body into a bloody mess. When women inflict this violence on their offspring, they are being “responsible for our own choices.” And the butchery is always in the child’s best interest. What exquisite fancies.
By the time Ireland makes the most common of observations — that life is hard — killing has become an acceptable solution. Happily, that solution will never threaten us. We will never face abortion. We will all survive. The killing will aim exclusively at others — and even then, only the voiceless and defenseless.
Very soon, Ireland’s fantasy of “larger life” begins to resemble less a spiritual revelation than the pedestrian illusions of the political left. For instance, her sad tale of a client who was “unable to be true to herself.” Being thus untrue, the poor weakling failed to destroy her unwanted child when she had the chance. Ireland admits not knowing how things went after the baby’s birth. She is willing nonetheless to frame it as a tragedy.
Equally tragic are those career women who don’t abort. They miss life’s big rewards, only to “end up loving their kids.” Oh, darn. “How well does that serve anyone?” she asks. Obviously those mothers cheat themselves. Better, she implies, to shun that love. Better for the kids to destroy them in utero. That done, the loveless woman will receive those big promotions. She will enjoy those fine vacations and all that personal fulfillment.
Thus vulgarized, her myth descends further. It becomes a political hit job, full of broad historical generalizations, partial to the point of fallacy. Her dreamscape even enlists a devil: the progressive era’s “demonizing culture.”
It was cultural demonizers, she explains, who first defined abortion as “the taking of a human life.” Never mind the impeccable science behind this fact. In Ireland’s mythology, such science is no better than an “attitude.” A “limited belief.” With this, her “larger life” fantasies join the politics of the current leftist fringe. Neither has room for inconvenient facts about abortion.
As I say, pro-lifers have heard such stuff before. If we do not agree, it’s because we prefer to see by the ordinary light of science and reason. We accept the basic fact that every human life begins at conception. We embrace the plain reality that the child in the womb is fully human and fully alive. We see that abortion kills one every time. We do not look away.
Nor do we invoke private fantasy to escape the obligations of rational morality, and the civic beliefs we hold in common. We publicly declare all human beings to be equal — here, in this world we actually inhabit. We insist that every human being has an equal, fundamental right to exist — here, where they are, and not in some distant nebula.
We insist that no one has the right to do us physical harm, regardless what they think about our souls, or our condition in any case. No matter how problematic our existence.
Moreover we see, from a thousand repetitions, where unlimited beliefs lead in reality. Real history shows what subhuman horrors owe to grandiose and feckless inspirations. We realize that wherever dehumanizing fantasies aim — whether at Jews or blacks, or women or the unborn — they imperil every human being.
No, Ms. Ireland. We do not “fail to comprehend.” We simply refuse to “evolve,” as you say. That is, we refuse to accept abortion. We prefer that humanity reject all killing.
Finally, I applaud Ireland’s work on behalf of suffering people, and whatever actual help it brings. Surely her concern is genuine. The solution she offers being mistaken: well, she is only human. This letter is not meant to judge her personally, nor to diminish the daunting challenges we face, especially in promoting healthy family life.
Nevertheless, I insist we cannot solve anything by ignoring reality. The truly compassionate keep open eyes. They know that to kill the innocent will always be wrong. That we only increase our pain and suffering when we resort to harming others. Only in desperate fantasies, and the stingiest views of life, can abortion be acceptable.
Chris King lives in Aspen.