Competing Narratives: “Be Quiet” versus “What Can I do?”

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. My family will be on vacation through the end of this week. I will be posting an occasional new story, but for the most part we will be re-posting columns that ran over the last year. Many will be strictly educational while some will about remind us of notable victories this legislative cycle.

Sometimes it is difficult to grasp why people come down on one side or the other of the abortion debate. But other times the words that pour out are so revealing they tell you all you really need to know.

I happened across a trail of responses to a letter to the editor, although I could never locate the original that generated the massive response. There were literally thousands!

While you could categorize the message in many, many ways what I found most compelling were the rival narratives that threaded their way through so many answers. (This is not the occasion to rebut but to compare.)

On the pro-abortion side I read a message that leavened personal assaults (pro-lifers either hate pregnant women or are indifferent) with a heavy dose of defiant in your face I-will-do-what-I-want (WHAT is done cannot be “judged”), mixed and blended with (for lack of a better word) “sizeism.”

In other words, abortion is the exercise of power over which no one else should be able to say anything—and besides, whatever it is that is being disposed of is so small and “unformed“ that it is like being upset that a grain of rice is being dropped down a garbage disposal unit.

On the pro-life side is a recognition that there ARE two parties involved (actually many more—grandparents, fathers, siblings, etc.); that we have an obligation (a four-letter word to pro-abortionists) to the child we have created, whether we WISH to assume it or not; that we are the poorer as individuals and as a culture when we obliterate unborn children because their existence is untimely/a “burden”; and that the “private” exercise of lethal force on an innocent unborn child is no more private than beating a one-year-old to death who is just as dependent as the unborn child and still a long, long ways from being fully “formed.”

Or maybe it can be reduced to this.

One side says to their conscience, “Be quiet!” The other says, “I’m listening, what can I do?”

Personally, I am glad to be on the side that says, “What can I do?”

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