Marvin Olasky is Editor of World Magazine
With the 30th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision just past, is it a positive sign that many abortion supporters have learned from the Japanese and no longer pretend?
Thirty years ago, pro-abortion stories commonly dehumanized unborn children and made abortion seem easy: 15 minutes to feel “like a brand-new woman,” the Omaha World-Herald declared. The San Francisco Chronicle told how a typical young woman “came back from the abortion smiling” and telling her patiently waiting mother: “I’m starved. Let’s go to lunch.”
That was conventional liberal talk in those days. Now, even feminists admit that abortion is sorrowful and that the conflict about it will not go away. Abortion yields too much gut guilt to be ignored.
Aborting mothers in Japan have known that for a long time. They typically make or buy mizuko jizos, small statues of babies. They dress the statues in bibs and knitted caps, and leave next to the statues bottles of milk, baby rattles and furry toys. You can find stacks of mizuko jizos in cemeteries and also in special temples where they are housed. Mourning parents pay hundreds of dollars per year to have a small statue bathed and dressed, with incense burned and prayers recited.
One survey showed 86 percent of Japanese women and 76 percent of men saying they felt or would feel guilty upon having an abortion or pressuring their partners to have one. In this country, abortion advocates have generally sneered at the reality of post-abortion syndrome. Maybe now they will accept it and call for government provision of “grief consultants.”
Mourning is important when death has visited. But mourning becomes electric only when people are moved to action, and particularly to help other innocents from dying as well. Confession not followed by repentance and action is suspect.
A remarkable new book by Alexander Tsiaras and Barry Werth, “From Conception to Birth,” uses the latest technology to show in marvelous detail the clearly human (and very cute) unborn baby at many stages, including at eight weeks of age, the time many abortions take place. Time reported on the new book under a headline, “What scientists have learned about those amazing first nine months.” Sadly, Time did not suggest that our new knowledge should lead us to protect the children depicted.
It seems bizarre to defend abortion when it so clearly stops the beating heart of an innocent human being. The ignorance or pretense of some folks 30 years ago was no excuse, but now that the evil is acknowledged, do we need any clearer indication of man’s sin than our recognition of the unborn child’s humanity combined with our refusal to offer protection?
Let’s glance at one other aspect of suppressing the truth. “From Conception to Birth” includes not only wonderful pictures but explanation about “the grand plan for human reproduction.” Whose plan? The book clearly points to a planner, but it begins with a quotation from Charles Darwin and periodically sprinkles in lines suggesting that these marvels are the result of plan-less evolution.
And so, despite the evidence accumulated for 30 years since the Roe vs. Wade decision, we still face a traditional movie scene. Behold, a locomotive (fueled by both feminism and male selfishness) barreling down the tracks. Cut to a lovely lass (in this case, a lovely unborn child) tied to the cold rails. Cut to train. Cut to lass. Then cut to the hero riding his horse hard as he races to untie his sweetheart before she is sliced to bits. Suspense mounts.
This is no movie. The locomotive has run over 40 million unborn children, sometimes cutting them up piece by piece, sometimes vacuuming them up, sometimes poisoning them. But will most of the next 40 million be rescued? Depends on whether many of us are content with guilt without action, except the action of paying for our “mizuko jizos.”