By Dave Andrusko
Over at “Former abortionist describes how he became callous to the horror of performing abortions,” Sarah Terzo recaps how one former abortionist went from initial horror at what he saw (“It was like somebody put a hot poker into me”) to casual indifference when he actually performed abortions (“But after a while it got to where it didn’t hurt.”) His explanation?
David Brewer likened it to what happened to his hands when he did summer yard work as a youth. “That’s what happened to my heart as I saw the abortions and then began doing them. My heart got callused. My heart was callused against the fact that I was murderer.”
I can only wonder what personal trajectory could possibly explain Valerie Tarico’s “Abortion as a Blessing, Grace, or Gift: Changing the Conversation on Reproductive Rights and Moral Values” .
I could easily devote the same 3,368 words she expended in her post to critiquing her amazingly obtuse case for abortion. And it will require discipline not to. Here goes.
What opens Tarico’s op-ed? A graphic of hands holding a baby’s feet with lipstick on his/her left foot. The caption? “Every baby should have its toes kissed.” (The illustration is shaped like a heart.)
You can pretty much figure out the gist of what follows. First she has to set the stage. She tells us that “most reproductive rights advocates,” like “most Americans,” think of “childbearing as a deeply personal or even sacred decision.” Glad we got that straight.
But, Tarico asks, if we pro-abortionists think the same way, how is it that we “have failed to create a resonant conversation about why, sometimes, it is morally or spiritually imperative that a woman can stop a pregnancy that is underway”? Glad you asked. She is eager to explain why the oversight and how to rectify it.
But the long and the short of it is contained in the next paragraph. Everything else is a garbled, question-begging footnote. Tarico writes
“My friend Patricia offers a single reason for her passionate defense of reproductive care that includes abortion: Every baby should have its toes kissed. If life is precious and helping our children to flourish is one of the most precious obligations we take on in life, then being able to stop an ill-conceived gestation is a sacred gift. Whether or not we are religious, deciding whether to keep or terminate a pregnancy is a process steeped in spiritual values: responsibility, stewardship, love, honesty, compassion, freedom, balance, discernment. But how often do we hear words like these coming from pro-choice advocates?”
Oh. Okay. Let’s go through these “spiritual values” as they are expressed when “stop[ping] an ill-conceived gestation” and see what we see.
#1. Responsibility. I get it. It is the unborn baby’s responsibility she is there in the first place. She willed herself into existence. She is also responsible for not getting in Mom and Dad’s way, too.
#2. Stewardship. Tarico helps us understand that we misunderstand what true stewardship is. Dummies, like pro-lifers, understand that to mean that we are stewards of the little ones, not their owners. Why? Because we have all the power and are responsible [whoops, there’s that word again] for protecting the powerless. Those who disagree with Tarico are probably thrown off because there are such deep religious connotations to the word.
#3. Love. Love is…what? Never having to say you’re sorry. Love is not bearing burdens for others (that is sooooo old-fashioned). Love is expressed by transcending all those patriarchal obligations that keep women in chains. Love is “stopping an ill-conceived gestation,” not for the good of the mother (although that’s also true for Tarico) but for the good of the child. Nothing is worse than going through life with our toes unkissed.
#4. Honesty. Now everyone can agree on this, right? A woman (or her significant other) doesn’t want that kid. Honesty demands that neither (or both) is weighed down by burdens that they honesty don’t want. What could be more plain? If I honestly don’t like my two-year-old screaming at night, then I should honestly eliminate the source of my irritation. And that does not mean my short-temper.
#4.Compassion. Luckily we have the likes of Valerie Tarico to illuminate for us that true compassion (not to be confused with that gooey, sentimental stuff) means putting the unborn child first, in a manner of speaking. If she would be better off dead—strike that—better off not being around, it is selfish on the mother and/or father’s part to bring them into this vale of tears.
#5. Freedom. What needs to be said about that? We need to appreciate that freedom is not the right to do what we ought to do. Besides, even if it was, who knows what is right but the individual woman? After all what’s true for you is not true for me. (As someone once said in a different context, “what is truth?) I need to be free, not weighed down by what Tarico’s sees as countless “antiquated,” “brittle,” “illusions” that cumulatively “lie” to women.
#6. Balance. Let’s see. If the adult has all the power, possessed of the right kind of compassion, free to help the child understand she is better off being put out of her misery (remember, she may not get her toes kissed), then honestly the scales clearly tip against the kid. And rightly so!
#7. And if all else were to fail, there is always discernment. Meaning? Seeing through all those stodgy stereotypes, burying (literally and figurative) instincts that reach back to the beginning of time, and, most of all, finding the redemptive meaning behind an act of incalculable brutality: we killed you for the best of reasons.
Yup, that Valerie Tarico is one deep thinker.