This is the third part in a five part series that will address the primary assumptions within the Shout Your Abortion movement. If you missed our previous two articles, Should Women Shout Their Abortions? and Is Abortion Freedom?, I’d encourage you to stop now and read both of them first.
This week, I’ll be exploring the second assumption of Shout Your Abortion: Abortion is normal.
Abortion Is Normal
Toddlers dissolving into tantrums for no reason? Normal.
A teenager feeling nervous before speaking to a large group of people? Normal.
Having a less than enjoyable experience at a dentist appointment? Normal.
Choosing an abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy?
The dictionary defines “normal” as “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.”
“Abortion is normal.” This phrase is part of the Shout Your Abortion campaign tagline. The line of thought is that abortion is normal because 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime. And if a woman hasn’t had an abortion, then she definitely knows someone who has. It could be argued that everyone is connected to abortion in some way.
But does this make it usual, typical, or expected?
When it’s said that abortion is normal, the implication is that abortion is a natural response to an unwanted pregnancy. It’s a form of birth control or routine and expected health care. Annual doctor’s appointment? Normal. Pap smear? Normal. Eye exam? Normal. Dentist appointment? Normal. Abortion? Normal.
In fact, in a recent YouTube video, Amelia Bonow, co-founder of Shout Your Abortion, categorized her own abortion as similar to a “crappy dentist appointment.”
For her, abortion is just another annoying-yet-necessary medical procedure. Normal. Typical. Expected.
The Weight of Words
Is abortion really “normal” in the same way that a crappy dentist appointment is normal? You’re reading too much into this, Mary, you might be thinking. She was just giving an example. Don’t overthink it.
You might accuse me of getting into semantics, here—and if we were talking only of dentist appointments and other truly routine health care, you’d be right.
But in the case of abortion, I think it’s imperative that we think more deeply about this statement. If we refuse to address the misuse of the word normal, we unwittingly affirm its validity as an argument for abortion.
If anyone stood outside a dentist office holding prayer vigils and touting signs protesting the removal of wisdom teeth and the filling of cavities, they’d be written off as deluded at best. Why? Because dental procedures (i.e. crappy dentist appointments) are normal. They’re routine. Typical. Expected.
And dental work doesn’t elicit moral or ethical dilemmas, because it’s just teeth we’re talking about.
Imagine I’m at home and my husband walks in the door at the end of the day and says, through tears, “Mary, I need to talk to you. I um…I got a cavity filled today.”
What’s my response going to be?
Quite honestly, I’m going to be a bit confused by the tears and theatrics. Why? Because it’s just a crappy dentist appointment he’s talking about. Everyone has those. They’re normal. Why even bring it up? Let’s just move on and enjoy the rest of our evening.
This is what is so crucial about the assumption that abortion is normal. If something is normal—usual, typical, or expected—then our response to it is basically a non-response. Things that are normal usually do not merit a reaction or objection.
The Deeper Meaning
So what is the unsaid message behind the mantra abortion is normal?
It is this: because abortion is normal, it does not merit a reaction or objection. It’s just not that big of a deal.
Let’s call this movement to normalize abortion what it is: an attempt to relieve ourselves of any moral responsibility to protect the lives of unborn children.
It’s an attempt to alleviate ourselves of the inescapable moral and ethical dilemma of abortion.
Does abortion happen every day? Sadly and tragically, yes.
But just because something happens a lot, doesn’t make it normal.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Let’s call this movement to normalize abortion what it is: an attempt to relieve ourselves of any moral responsibility to protect the lives of unborn children.” quote=”Let’s call this movement to normalize abortion what it is: an attempt to relieve ourselves of any moral responsibility to protect the lives of unborn children.”]
To intentionally end the life of a unique, whole, and living human being is not normal—it’s murder. And if we’re honest with ourselves, this blatant disregard for life tears to pieces the moral fabric of our nature as human beings.
For those who would argue that abortion is not murder, I would argue that such a statement makes the assumption that the unborn is not human. This is an important distinction to recognize (and I covered this more in depth in my previous post, which you can read here).
The humanity of the unborn has been established by science for decades. So by definition, the unborn is a human person. And each unborn human differs from an adult in only four ways: size, level, of development, environment, and degree of dependency. And none of these are good reasons to justify killing a person in the womb.
Never Accept Abortion As Normal
When something is normal, we don’t question it—rather, we accept it. May that never be said of us who claim that every human life has inherent value.
If we hope to see an end to abortion, we must reject the narrative that abortion is normal. This means refusing to grow complacent and callous. It means taking a stand against abortion in proactive, practical ways.
It means we are just as broken about first trimester abortions as we are about third trimester abortions.
And it means we neither condemn nor offer hollow platitudes to women and men who have chosen abortion in their pasts. Rather, we call abortion what it is, in hopes of leading women and men to true healing and reconciliation. Check out Arabella’s story to hear a personal perspective on healing after an abortion.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”We neither condemn nor offer hollow platitudes to women and men who have chosen abortion in their pasts. Rather, we call abortion what it is, in hopes of leading women and men to true healing and reconciliation.” quote=”We neither condemn nor offer hollow platitudes to women and men who have chosen abortion in their pasts. Rather, we call abortion what it is, in hopes of leading women and men to true healing and reconciliation.”]
Let us be the generation that proclaims—with our words and with our actions—that every human life has dignity and is worthy of protection.
Because every human life is made in the image of God.
And that is a truth that changes everything.
Mary Holloman is the Communications Coordinator at Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. She has a sweet husband, two beautiful children, and a penchant for Diet Mountain Dew. You call follow more of her work at www.maryholloman.com.