Dr. William F. Harrison of Arkansas calls himself an “abortionist.” “I am destroying life,” he proclaims. But Harrison, who estimates that he has aborted over 20,000 unborn children, also sees abortion as a life-giving procedure, describing his patients as “born again.” “When you end what the woman considers a disastrous pregnancy, she has literally been given her life back,” he proudly states. Harrison’s goal is to “try to make sure [a woman who chooses abortion] doesn’t ever feel guilty for what she feels she has to do.”
Dr. George Tiller of Kansas has terminated over 60,000 pregnancies; his website brags that the good doctor’s clinic has “more experience in late abortion services over 24 weeks than anyone else currently practicing in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Australia.” Most babies are considered viable (that is, can live outside the womb with the help of medical technology) at 23-24 weeks. These are viable, living children.
Dr. Dennis Christensen of Wisconsin, who has aborted between 80,000 and 100,000 fetuses, celebrates his career as a moral good. “When I meet my maker,” he grins, “I think she’s going to say, ‘Way to go!'”
Current liberal thought posits that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” in the words of former president Bill Clinton. Only by stipulating that abortion should remain “rare” can liberal politicians escape popular outrage. Yet these same politicians refuse to answer just why abortion should remain rare. If abortion is a moral good under any circumstances (as abortion-on-demand advocates declare), why should it remain rare? And if keeping abortion rare is a rational goal, why should state governments be barred from taking steps to discourage abortion?
The fact is that mainstream pro-choice liberals are lying through their teeth when they mouth the “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Abortionists are celebrated as heroes, no matter what type of abortions they perform. The Los Angeles Times’ glowing profile of Dr. Harrison ends with a description of the doctor’s solemn determination to “keep at it as long as his stamina holds, or as long as it is legal.” The National Abortion Federation, dedicated to unfettered access to abortion, awarded Dr. Tiller its prestigious Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award. Incredibly, New York Times Magazine describes the NAF as “a mini-AMA” (American Medical Association). Of course, the difference between the AMA and the NAF is as simple as the distinction between preserving life and destroying it, but to the pro-choice crowd, all medical procedures are equal.
The pro-choice crowd has never wanted abortion to be rare. Were abortion rare, women considering abortions would feel subtle societal pressure to preserve the life growing within them. Such societal pressure would create a “coercive” environment for women, inhibiting their ability to choose. For abortion to thrive, it must be common.
With abortion statistics shockingly high (25 percent of pregnant women abort their babies, and one third of women will have an abortion by age 45), abortionists and their advocates can make women who abort feel accepted. At Dr. Harrison’s office, abortion statistics are posted on the exam-room mirror; a nurse rhetorically asks, “You think there’s room in hell for all those women?” Of course, no religion has ever considered a population cap on Divine punishment – surely, there is room in hell for whomever God chooses to place there. But the nurse’s point is simple: You are not alone.
And the message works, as Harrison’s patient “Amanda” demonstrates. According to the Los Angeles Times, Amanda, a 20-year-old administrative assistant, says it’s not the obstacles that surprise her – it’s how normal and unashamed she feels as she prepares to end her first pregnancy. “‘It’s an everyday occurrence,'” she says as she waits for her 2:30 p.m. abortion. “‘It’s not like this is a rare thing … It’s not like it’s illegal. It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong.'”
This is the pro-choice agenda. For pro-choice activists, abortion is a good in and of itself. It allows a woman to exercise her “freedom of choice” at any time. Context does not matter; moral gradation does not matter; timing does not matter. The high-school volleyball player who aborts her child because she does not want to ruin her body for nine months – “I realize just from the first three months how it changes everything” – is just as valid as the woman who aborts because her life is seriously endangered by pregnancy. Abortion must remain an absolute right, commonly exercised, if women are to be truly free.
For years, pro-life advocates have described their opponents as pro-abortion. After viewing the pro-choice movement’s support for across-the-board abortions, that description seems apt.