By Nancy Flanders
In an essay published by Time about the elective abortion of her second child, abortion doula and clinic worker Hannah Matthews attempts to conflate two ideas: love for a woman who is having an abortion, and support for her decision to have that abortion. She also attempts to claim abortion is an act of love — but intentionally killing a human being is not a loving act.
Matthews explained that she chose to have an abortion after she became pregnant with her second child shortly after giving birth to her first. She said her son had not yet taken his first steps and that her health and finances couldn’t “bear another pregnancy, birth, or child so soon.” She didn’t elaborate.
Loving the person
She did, however, express how “lucky” she is that she “could safely and honestly share what I was going through with people close to me, without prosecution or (overt) social judgment” and that she “could speak openly with friends and family — and even with coworkers and providers — about my decision: my grief, my physical discomfort, my resolve.”
It’s true that everyone likely knows or loves someone who has had or will have an abortion. But loving someone who has chosen to end the life of their child doesn’t make that action acceptable or a decision that should be celebrated. Each of us has also likely known someone who has broken a law, lied, stolen, or cheated, but loving and forgiving that person — or helping that person deal with the aftermath of their decision — is in no way a signal of support for the wrong that they did.
Matthews’ friends may have showered her with gifts following her abortion, but they ultimately failed her. A study indicated that 64% of women who have abortions do so based on pressure — both obvious and subtle pressures including finances. Society fails women by not offering them options other than abortion. Society fails women by not giving them the truth.
As an abortion doula and clinic worker, Matthews may well know what an abortion does to a baby, but she and her husband decided on abortion out of fear and discomfort. In response, her friends, family, and coworkers essentially nodded their heads with casualness. But Matthews never mentions that any of them questioned the decision or pointed them in the direction of solutions that would encourage them to spare their child’s life. No one attempted to liberate them from the false societal idea that children must be properly spaced and that money comes before a child’s life.
Abortion is not a solution to a single issue a person or a couple is facing — but yet, it’s treated as such. And the child’s life is dismissed as if he or she were meaningless.
It doesn’t matter how many women have had abortions. It doesn’t matter why women have abortions. It doesn’t matter if people accept your abortions, celebrate your abortions, or send you presents after your abortions. Abortion will still always be immoral and unethical because it directly and intentionally kills an innocent human being.
Abortion is an act of (self-centered) love
Matthews also claims “abortion can be a powerful act of love — for one’s self and one’s own future, for one’s existing children and family, for the pregnancy being released…”
These are the warped marketing tactics of the abortion industry on display. Starving your child, dismembering your child, suffocating your child, or inducing cardiac arrest in your child is not an act of love — it’s an act of violence.
First, “love — for one’s self and one’s own future” is self-centered love. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, love is willing the good of the other — and putting your own wants and desires above your child’s life is clearly not willing the good of your child. Certainly, injecting your child with a drug to kill her, starving her, suffocating her, or dismembering her are not acts of love. We can easily see that these actions are wrong if they are carried out in even the first few seconds after birth — yet abortion advocates such as Matthews demand these acts be deemed acceptable for children who are still in the womb.
Second, the idea that abortion is an act of love “for one’s existing children and family” lacks any true depth of meaning. Her son may have been thrilled to have a built-in best friend so close in age to him to grow up with. The abortion deprived Matthews’ son of ever knowing and loving his sibling. It deprived grandparents of a grandchild to love and deprived extended family members of a new life to celebrate.
Third, to say abortion is an act of “love for the pregnancy being released” makes it sound as though Matthews sent her baby off in a flurry of butterflies. Make no mistake, her baby was not “released.” Her child was first starved of nutrients by the abortion pill and then would have been possibly flushed down the toilet — if the pills had worked as they are meant to. But the abortion wasn’t complete, because she required a follow-up D&C surgical abortion as well. If her baby were still in her womb at this point, the D&C procedure suctioned him or her out of Matthews’ uterus with such force that he or she was torn to pieces before being disposed of as medical waste.
Matthews’ child was intentionally robbed of his or her life because two adults deemed that baby’s life to be inconvenient. This is not love.
Abortion is not the beautiful act that Matthews paints it to be. In fact, many women have recounted the trauma of taking the abortion pill and seeing their dead babies.
Americans reject abortion on demand
A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll revealed that most Americans continue to support restrictions on abortion following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. It also found that the proportion of Americans who support pro-life laws “up to the time of cardiac activity at about 6 weeks” increased from 27% to 40% — meaning that most Americans support restricting abortion to before the human heartbeat is detectable, which is at about six weeks, though the heart begins to beat at just 16-21 days post-fertilization.