Thursday, February 4, 2010

When Daylight Breaks Through

Ignorance is bliss, it is said. Burying one's head in the sand may conveniently offer an illusory barrier from undesired or unappealing facts. It offers us, in times of desperation, a semblance of escape. In the end, however, the sand washes away and the daylight breaks through: Ignorance, though blissful for a time perhaps, is still ignorance.

I read an article today about the mounting ire against Tim Tebow's upcoming pro-life Super Bowl advertisement. It was interesting reading. Nauseating, but interesting. The most intriguing aspect of the article was the description of responses from those who oppose Tebow and his mother for running the ad. Here are some examples:

The National Organization for Women (NOW) has called the ad "revolting and demeaning," petitioning CBS to refuse to carry the ad.

Feminist lawyer Gloria Allred has publicly questioned the veracity of the Tebows' story: It seems Tebow's mother was advised by a doctor to have an abortion when she was pregnant with Tim. Allred seems to believe that since abortion was illegal in the Philippines at that time (where the Tebows lived) it is inconceivable that a physician should have counseled her to abort.

Planned Parenthood is running an ad on their website featuring two renowned athletes, Al Joyner and Sean James. In it the men offer their respect for "women's decisions about their health."

Without wishing or intending to sound cruel, two words come to mind: Ignorant and desperate.

Let's start with Allred's assertion. A woman of her standing should know better, I dare say. Is it really that inconceivable that a woman would be counseled by her physician to have an abortion, even in a country where it is illegal? For an answer to this question, let's look at the pertinent history in our own country: The United States.

As most people are aware, abortion became legalized nationwide in the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Prior to this time, however, thousands of abortions were being performed annually, although illegally. Contrary to popular belief, the vast numbers of these abortions were not performed by back-alley butchers. In 1960 (before abortion was legalized), Planned Parenthood estimated that 90% of all abortions were performed by physicians.

If licensed physicians were far and away the majority of those performing abortions in America prior to its legalization, then why should not a pro-abortion physician in another country recommend it prior to legalization? For purely professional reasons it is arguably not a very wise nor advisable course of action. But people are people everywhere. Is it really so inconceivable?

I can't speak, of course, for the Tebows or the veracity of their claim. At this point, I have no reason to believe they are fabricating the story. But Gloria Allred's assertion that it is inconceivable is, forgive me, a desperate reach at an imaginary straw.

Let's move on to NOW's response. I can't help but giggle to myself when I think of these proponents for women's rights about to lose their breakfast over an ad which, contrary to their understanding, is actually highly supportive of the value and dignity of women.

Since I'm responding to feminists, I'll start with Feminism 101 -- the basics. The basics in this case are the initial visionaries of the feminist movement, two of whom are Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I dare say that each of these women would not be using the terms "demeaning and revolting" to describe the Tebows' ad or pro-life stance. Listen to what each one had to say about abortion:

"I deplore the horrible crime of child murder," said Anthony. "No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. But oh! thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime."

Elizabeth Cady Stanton says, "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we wish."

There are other, more contemporary, examples of advocates for women's rights adamantly opposed to abortion. Alice Paul drafted the original version of the Equal Rights Amendment, and she referred to abortion as "the ultimate exploitation of women." And listen to what Rosemary Bottcher, an analytical chemist and environmentalist has to say: "The woman, according to feminists, is so selfish, immature, irrational and hysterical that she cannot stand the fact of nine months of inconvenience in order to bring life to another person or to bring happiness, perhaps, to some other family who might adopt that child."

I'm rather astounded, I confess, that NOW so inextricably links women's welfare to abortion. It is so grossly demeaning to women, on so many levels, that I am beside myself trying to understand their vitriolic opposition to pro-life causes, which at once affirm both the dignity of the child and of the woman. My guess is that most NOW members are blissfully unaware of the history of abortion and infanticide in the world. Let's look at that next:

In ancient societies, it was dangerous to be a baby. "Unwanted" babies and children of both sexes were frequently starved to death, thrown over cliffs, exposed to wild beasts and the elements, and many other reprehensible atrocities. But baby girls had it worse, by far. In pre-Christian, ancient Rome, for example, little girls were abandaned in far greater numbers than little boys (if they weren't killed at birth because they were female). Even in the last few centuries, the fate of female infants in countries not yet penetrated by the gospel of Christ was dismal: Infanticide was still common, with baby girls abandoned in the streets or thrown down wells, among other practices. And even today, countries like China find themselves with highly skewed ratios among adult men and women. Why? Baby boys are more highly valued; many parents, under a "one-child policy," abort their female babies in favor of a potential male child.

And yet NOW calls the Tebows' ad "revolting and demeaning." Hmmm. Interesting.

Lastly, let's take a look at Planned Parenthood's website advertisement featuring Al Joyner and Sean James asserting their respect for "women's decisions about their health." I fully believe that men have a right to voice their views on abortion, whatever side of the issue on which they may stand. The key word here, which both men use, is "health."

Is abortion healthy? Let's see.

First of all, it's a highly invasive procedure for all women. The uterus is unnaturally forced open; the lining of the uterus is suctioned and scraped repeatedly; there is risk of infection in the event that fetal body parts remain; frequent post-abortive bleeding is common. Those are just a few of the facts. Here are some more:

The risk of ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo implants outside of the uterus) is twice as high for women who have had a previous abortion. It's four times as high for women who have had two or more abortions.

Women with first trimester abortions have twice the risk of developing breast cancer at some point in life. This is because of the unnatural cessation of pregnancy and its adverse effects on the rapid development of breast tissue in early pregnancy.

The chance of future miscarriages is increased dramatically for women who have had abortions. Some scientific studies suggest that this rate is as great as tenfold.

Perhaps the most obvious and grievous health risk associated with women and abortion is this: Half of abortions kill baby women, depriving the world of their presence and influence.

Those are just some of the health risks of abortion, and just the physical ones at that. The emotional health risks to women are just as grievous, if not more so. Much higher rates of suicide and severe depression are linked with post-abortive women. Perhaps Mr. Joyner and Mr. James are blissfully ignorant of the true implications that abortion poses for "women's health," world-renowned athletes though they may be.

It's convenient, and sometimes pleasant, to turn deaf ears and blind eyes to reality. Reality demands responsibility. It demands wisdom and truth and sacrifice. Tragically, we are often completely unwilling to rise to the occasion.

So while accredited physicians continue to take inventory of fetal body parts on abortion room examining tables... while the beating hearts of pre-born infants are suddenly silenced by the whir of suction tubes tearing apart their bodies, piece by piece... while weeping women walk from the rear exits of abortion clinics, lonely and afraid... people like Tim and Pam Tebow will courageously and gently stand on the front lines. They will be hated, demeaned, scorned, and threatened by the blissfully ignorant and desperate.

But they will stand, and thank God for it. They will stand in the gap for those precious, precious babies lost every day to the primeval brutality of abortion. And they will stand for their precious, precious mothers, whom God loves just as dearly.