“Abortion and listening” does not mean allowing only pro-abortionists to speak

By Dave Andrusko

Renee Bracey Sherman

By any chance does the name Renee Bracey Sherman ring a bell? We last wrote about her a couple of years back. Sherman, who had aborted at 19, had penned a piece for the Huffington Post around the time of Mother’s Day, no less, “Claiming My Mamahood After My Abortion.”

There’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but the point of her 2014 essay is enough of this one-size fits all description of motherhood and Mother’s Day:

This Mother’s Day, I did something different. I celebrated Mamas Day — a movement through Strong Families to honor all types of motherhood. Mamas, Mommas, Nanas, aunties, queer families, single folks, teens, and trans parents, and everyone who is a caregiver, a lover, and a warrior in the struggle to raise our families and keep our communities safe. We are all honored in this village as we raise our future generation

Except, of course, those village members who will not be raised as part of “our future generation,” babies like the one Sherman disposed of.

Sherman pops up periodically in places like the New York Times, as she did this past week, for many reasons, including that she is (and I kid you not) an “abortion doula.” If we’ve had “birth doulas” to help women through labor and giving birth for untold centuries, why not someone to assist with the “abortion experience”?

Writing in New York Magazine a few years back, abortion doula Alex Ronan explained her role as providing

women with emotional and physical support, offer comfort or distraction, answer their questions, and, most of all, just be with them during their first or second trimester abortions.”

From the onset Ronan saw a lot that would turn anyone’s stomach and make anyone ask “how in the world did I ever become a party to this?” But in the end of her 3,882 word long essay, Ronan was/is still a true believer.

This is a roundabout way of providing context for Sherman’s recent Times op-ed, “Who Should You Listen to on Abortion ? People who’ve had them.” Just two thought on an op-ed that is as full of bile as it empty of substance.

#1. “The abortion debate rages on, but the voices of those who’ve actually had abortions are ignored,” she writes. “Few people try to understand our lives. And we are never asked the most simple but important question: Why did you do it?”

For starters, do what? Purposefully end a life whose existence it was your duty to protect. If you want an honest discussion, be honest.

If Sherman’s point is that those who oppose abortion are clueless judgmentalists, she knows as little about us as she does about Vice President Mike Pence whose years as a pro-life governor of Indiana she mocks and caricatures. We fully know the enormous pressures women with an unplanned pregnancy are under. But we seek a win-win solution, not an either/or conclusion in which a baby dies.

#2. In the last few paragraphs Sherman makes two assertions that are supposed to leave us fumbling for words.

First, “The crux of the issue is not whether you would have an abortion yourself. It’s whether you would stand in the way of someone else’s decision.” This is a pro-abortion dodge so threadbare–it’s a variation of “Who decides”? or “pro-choice”–that even veteran pro-abortionists have largely abandoned it.

Plug in any other atrocity for “abortion”–“The crux of the issue is not whether you would beat your one-year-old to death yourself. It’s whether you would stand in the way of someone else’s decision”– and you quickly see how ludicrous a defense it is.

Sherman’s second broadside is, “We need politicians who protect our decisions to create our families, and also support us as we do it–or don’t.” Life or death, six of one, half-dozen of the other. (She dismisses adoption with a casual swipe.)

And at the risk of stating the obvious, when a woman is pregnant she has already created a family. She is a mother either way: a mother of a living child or the mother of a baby whose life she ended.

Contrary to Ms. Sherman, we do want to hear about women and abortion, but not just those who have chosen death. How about those, often with the help of people like those reading this post, who chose life?

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