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The beauty of unborn life, the ugliness of abortion, and the shock of recognition

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What do hair, fingernails, and the following comment from a woman at the front desk of an abortion clinic–“Termination of pregnancy?” she asked in her best would-you-like-fries-with-that voice–have in common?

We talk about all three today and as I was about ready to post them, it occurred to me there is a common denominator: The shock of recognition.

Pro-abortionists hate–loathe, really–the movie Juno. The lead character does not abort, even though she had every attention of “terminating” her pregnancy. That alone would make pro-abortionists’ teeth grind, but worse yet (from their vantage point) the baby is subsequently adopted. Horror of horrors, is there no end to the pro-life skullduggery?!

I thought of Juno because of the pivotal early scene when a lonely, inarticulate pro-life teen stands outside the abortion clinic Juno MacGuff is about to enter. It turns out to be a girl Juno knows from school but nothing she says seems to have any effect. Then…

Juno! Your baby probably has a beating heart, you know. It can feel pain. And it has fingernails.

To which Juno responds

Really? Fingernails?

Her baby has fingernails? The shock of recognition. Juno does not abort her baby.

We also repost a blog by Sarah Terzo in which she excerpts from a pro-abortion book. “Diana” was okay handling late-term aborted babies. But she also says her thinking–and perhaps her soul–was being “more robotic.”

Evidently she was already having hand-to-hand combat with her conscience when “I saw the hair…”

Fingernails…hair… the shock of recognition.

The two posts made me think of a story I wrote last year about a piece that appeared in the New York Times’ “Opinionator blog” which I’m re-running.

To be clear up front, at the end of Lisa Selin Davis’s autobiographical essay about her abortion, Davis does not tell us she had decided to become a member of National Right to Life. But it is also obvious that her “abortion experience” had forever scarred her. Why?

Davis had intended to make her abortion into “art.” Waist-deep in the swamps of “experimental feminist video,” Davis tells us she “could make art out of anything.” Why not use her Ricoh Hi8 video camera to document the demise of the…contents of her uterus?

Along the way, a cabdriver learns where she is going and passionately–and I do mean passionately–tries to dissuade Davis. But she plows ahead.

At the abortion clinic, Davis tells us,

At the clinic’s counter, the receptionist asked me what I’d come for. I said, “Um …”

“Termination of pregnancy?” she asked in her best would-you-like-fries-with-that voice. I nodded.

She also encounters a woman having her ninth abortion…and hears the sucking sound as her baby is vacuumed out of her womb.

The shock of recognition does not make a pro-life convert out of her— “I want my daughters to have the option of safe and legal abortion, of course”—but adds, “I just don’t want them to have to use it.”

Let me end with one of Davis’s own conclusions. She tells us that the pain eventually stopped:

Or, at least, it stopped the physical pain. The begging cabdriver and the woman on her ninth abortion and the shocking suction in my womb: It was too traumatic for me to make art of. Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t a good enough artist to transform that level of trauma into something that others could learn from and use. I had been taught that a woman’s right to choose was the most important thing to fight for, but I hadn’t known what a brutal choice it was.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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