The abortion “language war” and the unyielding perseverance of pro-lifers

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. Today’s repost of a story that appeared in NRL News Today reminds us that pro-abortion publications occasionally stumble across the truth and that passing pro-life laws and thwarting pro-abortion initiatives require elected officials who understand unborn babies are human beings deserving of protection.

I’d like to comment on two abortion-related stories that appeared this week in the pro-abortion-to-the-hilt New York Times but were, by and large, remarkably balanced. This is not to overlook that NYTimes coverage is typically strewn with pro-abortion hyperbole  but rather to acknowledge some darn good work.

Amy Harmon’s piece, that ran May 22, is literally about the battle of words, i.e., “The Language Wars of the Abortion Debate.”

The best way to understand the “language wars” is exemplified by what opponents and proponents of dismemberment abortion say about a “technique” that rips apart living unborn babies, limb from limb, until the baby bleeds to death. 

Pro-abortionists, bless their generous and kind hearts, as always want antiseptic language used.  For example, there’s  “dilation and evacuation,” as if the child is being moved to a safe house rather than the grave.

And, as always, they let us know they are the oh-so-smart-ones:

“Medical procedures are not familiar to a lay audience, people don’t like to think about them, and they are hard to explain on a bumper sticker,” said Carole Joffe, a sociologist who studies abortion politics at the University of California, San Francisco. “That has put the pro-choice movement at a disadvantage.”

Agreed, most people aren’t eager to talk about tearing off little arms and tiny legs. However, I would argue this response is instinctive revulsion to the horror–the “thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness” (to borrow from Werner Herzog).

The other story ran May 18 and was written by Elizabeth Dias, Sabrina Tavernise, and Alan Blinder. “’This Is a Wave’: Inside the Network of Anti-Abortion Activists Winning Across the Country.”

No matter how many people they interviewed, not being insiders, they couldn’t get all, or even most, of the nuances correct. But here are some insights they did get right.

*Of course different pro-life organizations will promote different pieces of legislation at different times. That is and always will be a prudential judgment, based on experience, connections to state legislative leaders, and timing. 

*“Empowered by a president who pushes their priorities, by a Supreme Court now seemingly tipped in their favor and by sheer determination, anti-abortion activists and lawmakers across the country have pushed dozens of bills into law in the past few months.” Of course, we were pushing pro-life measures before President Trump assumed office. But as we have written dozens and dozens of times, Mr. Trump has been a catalyst for pro-life legislative activism. He is, without question, the most pro-life President we have ever had.

*“This cultural movement is finding wins beyond the outright abortion bans,” Dias, Tavernise, and Blinder observe. In Arkansas, “Rose Mimms, who has led Arkansas Right to Life for 26 years, worked to pass additional priorities of the movement that have gotten much less public attention,” such as “amending the state’s safe haven law.” These laws are hugely important and include such initiatives as information about Abortion Pill Reversal, a second chance for women who have second thoughts about taking a second drug after beginning a chemical abortion. 

Conclusion? 

You can’t stop anti-life proposals without pro-life office holders. 

You can’t enact pro-life proposals without pro-life office holders.