Pro-choicers are conducting a campaign of violence nationwide in the wake of the Dobbs ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Churches, pro-life offices, pro-life pregnancy centers, and anywhere or anyone else associated with respect for human life is fair game. The “Summer of Rage” that Jane’s Revenge and other radical abortion supporters promised us seems to have arrived in earnest.
As these zealots rampage, it is a good time to remember what is at stake. Not so long ago, many in the so-called pro-choice movement justified their support for abortion by arguing that the child in the womb was not a human being. Today, we are hearing more and more of them insist, defiantly and proudly, that while the child may be a human being, abortion is still a non-negotiable right.
A short online video of an eight-month-old baby in India has attracted much attention on Twitter. In it, the baby is seen completing shlokas that are being recited by a woman off camera, presumably the child’s mother. A shloka is a kind of Sanskrit verse. The video-clip caption claims the baby learned the shlokas in the womb, and so is able to complete them upon hearing them anew.
That the child in the video is completing the shlokas seems undeniable, though it is possible she would be able to do so even if she had only heard them since birth. But either way, it speaks to a deep truth about the human person that ancient Indian thinkers seem to have understood. The word shloka comes from the root “to hear.” In the study of Indian philosophy, one is often reminded that the best way to learn is at the feet of a guru—person to person. The Vedas, for example, are meant to be spoken and heard, not just read in a book. I am reminded here of Romans 10, in which St. Paul insists that faith comes through hearing, and that one must proclaim with the mouth what is in the heart.
In other words, as the world’s great religions affirm, we are never alone. We are always in someone’s company, always in communication—with God, with human beings, even with the other creatures with which God has filled His creation. To be alive is to be in communion, to be in constant dialogue with our surroundings. Moses stuttered, but God gave him the words he needed. Our way as humans is to listen, and to respond to what we hear, even in the womb.
Even secular experts understand this simple truth. I remember years ago doctors had to warn expectant mothers not to play music too loudly through headphones pressed against their pregnant bellies. From Mozart to foreign languages, women were blasting all manner of sound at their unborn children. It seems this may be still a problem But a very natural one, I would say. Mothers know their baby can hear them. Babies know their mother’s voice. Each of them longs to speak to the other through the thin walls of the womb. How joyful the meeting when a mother hears her baby cry, when a baby hears his mother’s voice in the delivery room. How joyful, too, when the two see each other for the first time. We reach out for the other, we all want to know what is going on around us.
This stubborn fact helps explain why abortion advocates are on a violence spree today. But violence can cover up but not annihilate truth. It violates logic to insist that a human uterus does not shelter a human being, but rather some stone-deaf and unfeeling thing that bears no relation to her father and mother. And it defies human decency to seek to kill those you acknowledge to be fellow human beings. Rage, sophistry, lies, firebombing, spray-painted threats, broken glass, hardened hearts—these never suffice. The volume must always be turned higher and higher on the pro-choice side. They are trying—desperately—not to hear the plain voice of conscience, and of nature, saying what we all know in our heart of hearts to be true.
Abortion zealots shout and scream, terrorize and burn. But the truth remains to haunt them.