Pro-choice: Avoiding Inconvenient Truths

by Roger Resler

In sincere compassion, pro-choice proponents declare that the decision to “terminate a pregnancy” is an intensely personal one that should be made by the pregnant woman in consultation with her medical professional. Like all pro-choice logic, it sounds reasonable – so long as one doesn’t make the mistake of thinking too much.

In his book Surprised By JoyC.S. Lewis writes:  “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.” The same principle applies to sincere pro-choice proponents who wish to remain so. They should stay engaged passively; frequently voicing the tried-and-true slogans and buzzwords championed by the movement but, at all costs, restrain from actually giving the notion of “abortion” much thought on a deeper, pragmatic level. Giving heed to the popular wisdom of Hollywood starlets is always productive for sincere pro-choice proponents; mainly because actors are adept at memorizing and passionately delivering feel-good lines. These days, however, remaining sincerely pro-choice in the face of increasingly visible and annoying biological facts is becoming pitiably difficult.

The conflict between jargon and inconvenient truth is dramatically and eloquently illustrated in Naomi Wolf’s now classic article, originally appearing in an October, 1996 edition of the New Republic Magazine  entitled: “Our Bodies, Our Souls” wherein Wolf attempts to sincerely champion the cause of “the fight to defend abortion rights” yet ends up running headlong into the stark human reality her peers prefer to think of as “tissue.” To her credit, Wolf is too sincerely feminist to blindly follow useful pro-choice mantras without considering the practical implications. The result is the most morbidly candid pro-choice assessment of abortion reality I’ve ever seen in print.

“Of course it’s a baby!” Wolf admits, impatiently replying to an overly inquisitive pro-life conservative in reference to her own four-month-old fetus. Freely admitting to her readers that such blatant glasnost is well outside the typical, evasive PC response (as no doubt set forth in the standard pro-choice playbook®), Wolf consequently experiences “the great relief that is the grace of long-delayed honesty.” Expressing such honesty, however, while certainly a noble undertaking, leaves Wolf vulnerable to the paradox of how to remain loyal to the pro-choice cause in light of this new, liberating admission. Evasive answers would no longer work.

Wolf could simply have chosen not to write the article at all, however. While internal evasion was no longer possible, external evasion would have been. Pro-choice life as Wolf understood it, could have continued. Given her prolificity, Wolf could simply have chosen to write about a different facet of the abortion debate such as how bad things were before Roe v. Wade or how abortion is an intensely personal decision, etc. etc. When in doubt, stay on safe ground. Instead, Wolf chose to face the brutal truth head-on and expose the result to the world. Her candor, while attempting to remain sincerely devoted to the pro-choice cause, is therefore quite extraordinary.

The conclusion she draws is equally jaw-dropping:

War is legal: it is sometimes even necessary. Letting the dying die in peace is often legal and sometimes even necessary. Abortion should be legal; it is sometimes even necessary. Sometimes the mother must be able to decide that the fetus, in its full humanity, must die. But it is never right or necessary to minimize the value of the lives involved or the sacrifice incurred in letting them go.

Proving that brutality can be masked in eloquence, Wolf equates abortion with war and suggests that both are sometimes legal necessities. Had Wolf been referring to abortions performed to save the life of the mother, her logic would have had the force of rational but nonetheless tragic justification supporting it. As it is, she refers to abortion on demand. The resulting cognitive dissonance is difficult to reconcile with anything resembling rationality. With a few keyboard strokes, Wolf transforms the mindless mantras of pro-choice rhetoric into either full-scale schizophrenia or barely masked barbarity. The irrationality of such logic is adequately demonstrated by a postnatal application. Should mothers be endowed with state-sanctioned legal authority to determine whether their toddlers, in all their “full humanity, must die”? Even in a sincere attempt at brutal honesty, Wolf cannot help but appeal to euphemism to soften the blow. Intentional destruction of living humans – not unlike the “baby” she recognized in her own womb – is deemed: “letting them go.”

Wolf is to be commended for her unusually straightforward assessment of human life in the womb. But her very candor when relating that truth to abortion leads to a problematic end. Not surprisingly, open proclamation of unorthodox truths from a prominent, pro-choice feminist tends to earn scathing criticism from less candid pro-abortion peers. The harmonious coexistence of biological fact with “abortions rights” advocacy is not achieved when pro-choice proponents openly consider the brutal impact of the procedure they advocate on “the fetus, in its full humanity.”

If hard biological reality does not sit well with what is being advocated then perhaps its time for advocates like Wolf to switch sides. The point of her article was that continually denying the value of human lives ended by abortion would eventually rob the pro-choice movement of its very soul. Yet continuing to cling to irrational pro-choice ideology despite the resulting moral quagmire is as ignoble as intentionally evading difficult questions altogether – if not more so. Better to remain in mindless lock-step than to openly wander too close to the truth and refuse to be affected by it. As Mormon elder, Boyd Packer once infamously declared: “Some things that are true are not very useful.”

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.

First Post

by Roger Resler

Everyone has to start somewhere. This is my starting point. Zero. The beginning.

The purpose of this blog will be to supplement, expand on, elaborate on, clarify, fix, enhance, shamelessly promote and any other relevant action regarding my publications at Truth In Depth.com. Truth In Depth is my media production company. I’ve been involved in media production (mostly radio/audio) for… well, let’s just say a long time! Not quite since live recordings were produced on wax, but I’ve known my share of analog reel to reel machines.

Since my background is audio production, in 2003 I decided to produce an audio book. A topic that interested me at that time was Mormonism. I had been visited by Mormon missionaries in 2001 sparking a crash research frenzy into Mormon history which, though cooling from time to time, is still active. There were not a lot of audio books available on the topic of Mormonism at that time, so without spending thousands on focus groups or product development, I decided to fill the void on a hunch. I was granted interviews with several ex-Mormons (including the famous great-great-great-grand-daughter of Brigham Young, Sandra Tanner) and combined their expert analysis with my own research to produce Mormonism’s Greatest Problems. It highlights five of what I consider to be the most problematic areas of Mormonism. Since then the audio book has been featured on radio programs such as The Bible Answer Man with Hank Hanegraaff and Out of Mormonism with Andy Poland.

About a year or two later I took the biographical portion of my interview with Sandra Tanner and produced another audio book that features her and her late husband Jerald’s life story. That production is called: Why They Left.

Another area of interest I’ve had for a long time is the topic of abortion. Not that I am interested in abortion itself (very few people are) but rather in exposing what I believe is a great injustice against unborn humans that began through the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade. I researched Roe v. Wade and the history of the pro-abortion cause and secured interviews with leaders in the pro-life movement such as National Right to Life Committee co-founders, Dr. Mildred Jefferson and Dr. Carolyn Gerster as well as pro-life author Randy Alcorn and professors, Dr. William Brennan and Dr. Gerard Magill. Dr. James Thorp also contributed his expertise as a perinatologist. Also providing his own fascinating story behind the life-changing Hand of Hope photograph he took was photographer, Michael Clancy. That research culminated in the release of Compelling Interest: Life After Roe v. Wade in 2007, in conjunction with Oasis Audio.

I was contacted by the publisher in 2011 and encouraged to convert Compelling Interest into a book. I have been working with eChristian to that end, with the manuscript currently immersed in the editing process as of this writing. The goal is to complete an updated and expanded print version as well as a revised audio book for release in the fall of 2012 – in time for the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22nd).

Another project that I have in mind is a book on Mitt Romney, who, as everyone knows by now, is (or at least will be) the GOP nominee for president of the United States. Romney is a devout Mormon and many conservatives are leery about supporting a Latter-day Saint for the presidency. The book will help educate people about Mormonism and Romney’s involvement in it.

I will be blogging on these topics in the coming days and weeks and would appreciate hearing from any and all who have an interest in them.

Truth In Depth will also continue to develop new books and audio books. There are several ideas currently in the planning stages, so stay tuned!

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.