Here is a short and simple exercise that could be done by anyone at just about any time: Take something written in support of abortion and strip it of euphemism. For example, here is the opening paragraph of an op-ed on cnn.com by abortionist Amna Dermish:
I am an Ob-Gyn who has been providing abortions in Texas for eight years. Since September 1, my staff and I have been forced to comply with an extreme abortion ban—SB 8—that has blocked patients from getting an abortion at approximately six weeks of pregnancy, before many patients know they are pregnant.
Stripped of (one) euphemism, she might have said:
I am an Ob-Gyn who has been killing children in Texas for eight years. Since September 1, my staff and I have been forced to comply with an extreme abortion ban—SB 8—that has blocked patients from having their children killed at approximately six weeks of pregnancy, before many patients know they are pregnant.
Albeit more jarring, the latter is more accurate, for it exposes what abortion is. To “abort”—like its sister euphemism to “terminate a pregnancy”—means to stop. But the goal of abortion is not to stop, that is, end a pregnancy. It is to kill a child. We see this in our language: A “failed” or “botched” abortion is one where the baby lives. But if the pregnancy is terminated, why is the abortion not a success? Why not a celebration?
Dermish testifies that she has been performing abortions—killing unborn children—for eight years. The word abortion effectively hides what is really happening, so she can use the term “abortion care” apparently without flinching, and also say, “I am an abortion provider because it is rewarding and important work,” which means that killing very young children is rewarding and important. In a particularly personal revelation, Dermish writes that the Texas ban
is most horrific for my patients, but it’s harrowing for me as well. Each time I have to deny a patient their right to an abortion—a safe and constitutionally protected medical procedure—I am being forced to carry out the state’s agenda, a radical agenda that was always about scoring a political victory. Every time this happens, each instance is a moral injury. I am being forced to inflict pain on my patients when the reason I became a doctor is to heal and to help them.
Refraining from killing children is horrific and harrowing? Setting down her scalpel and suction device inflicts moral injury and pain? Is it so obvious that prolifers are simply trying to score political points, rather than demonstrating basic human decency that denies the strong the license to kill the weak? Her claims to personal pain and moral rectitude in this matter require her readers to forget what abortion actually is. In declaring that her work is rewarding because it helps women, Dermish hides behind language that obscures what such work entails: the dismemberment of living children. That CNN can approvingly run such a piece demonstrates how hardened our culture has become.
My point, however, isn’t really intended for the pro-abortion world. The pro-abortion world bobs and weaves around the truth of the matter, having decided some children will need to be killed so we can live as we please. My point is more for the pro-life world. We too are soothed by the smooth language of abortion, so much so that we often fail to speak of it in terms that describe what it is: the brutal killing of the smallest members of the human family. And therefore, we content ourselves with taking a pro-life position, while not getting around to defending the fatherless and pleading for the widow—in our day, the unborn and their mothers.