We Must Not Forget

I’ve been seeing it all over Facebook and some of the websites I frequent: an abortionist has killed another woman. The abortionist: LeRoy Carhart, a typically careless, deceptive, and incompetent child-killer. The woman: Jennifer Morbelli, who was seeking an abortion at 33 weeks. That’s the ninth month of pregnancy. The child: existed. And had a name, evidently, which was Madison Leigh.

I would have to be a heartless, emotionless robot to fail to understand why so many people are identifying Ms. Morbelli as “the victim” of Carhart. It seems rather obviously so, doesn’t it? Except it isn’t. It simply isn’t.

There is a point at which one’s rhetorical approach can become self-defeating and absurd. I don’t know why exactly Morbelli was seeking an abortion, but chances are it wasn’t to save her life – not that it would become acceptable in this case, but it would at least become more understandable. Speculation I have seen is that she was seeking a late-term abortion for a typical reason such as defects or deformities in the child.

In case you aren’t familiar with the procedure, a late-term or partial-birth abortion typically involves delivering a baby almost entirely save for the head, jamming a pair of scissors into the back of its neck, and sucking its brains out through a hose. So there is no doubt in my mind who the real victim was here.

I understand the reality here. The immediate, short-term political objective is to use this horrific event to put pressure on politicians to oppose late-term abortions. There is nothing wrong with this objective: strike while the iron is hot, I say. In order to make an appeal to the shallow, stupid, muddled sensibilities of modern politicians and their modern media satellites, one must speak their shallow, stupid, muddled language. To reach this objective, then, the mother must be eulogized as “the victim” and portrayed almost as a sweet innocent angel who fell into the grasp of a hideous demon who breaths smoke and fire. Since the emotional level of the media and many voters is at the level of small children, it helps to rework everything into a fairy tale.

There is another dimension to this, however. It is a more long-term consideration, not to mention what I believe is more reflective of the reality. This woman, deciding that her child – whom she named and obviously believed was a real human being and not a non-human clump of cells or something along those lines – would be better off dead, sought the services of a hitman, a contract killer, to gruesomely murder and dispose of her. In the course of this morally unjustifiable act, the hitman’s incompetence resulted in her own death.

Telling the story this way, which in my view tells the truth (we haven’t forgotten about that, have we?), also serves the long-term objective of the pro-life movement. I mean, if I were pro-abortion, a fully paid-up NARAL member, I would be using this opportunity to demonstrate the inconsistency and moral confusion of the mainstream pro-life movement. If we want to secure legal rights and protections for unborn human beings, it doesn’t help our cause to emotionally identify people who would have them butchered as the helpless victims of wicked abortionists. There is no supply without demand. And if the woman is the victim, then it is just as plausible to argue that the “solution” here is to make late-term abortion more safe by removing legal restrictions on it and allowing more competent physicians to meet some of the demand.

I’ll leave it at that. And I won’t deny that the immediate short-term goal of putting a stop to late-term abortions is a worthy one. I simply question whether or not the short-term local victory is worth the long-term damage done by this undermining rhetoric. I am also disturbed by the fact that this story adds to the growing number of stories that prove, to me anyways, that abortions are not performed on beings that the mothers have coldly written off as inhuman lumps of cells, as many male and hard feminist pro-abortionists might have it, but on beings clearly regarded as fully human, with names. It may mean nothing to them, but it ought to mean something to us.

 

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  1. Without knowing what transpired between Carhart and Ms. Morbelli, I have no problem with the characterization of Ms. Morbelli as the second victim. It may be true. She could have been convinced by Carhart that she was doing the right thing by not allowing her daughter to suffer. (For example, Carhart’s web page on “fetal indicated abortions” discusses sparing children of “a lifetime of suffering and pain” http://www.abortionclinics.org/FIabortions.html)

    I think we can do better by telling the whole truth. One part of the truth is that a woman and her child are dead because late term abortionists are back alley physicians. Other parts of the truth are that suffering has meaning, that disabled children can have wonderful lives outside the womb, and that perinatal hospice is a much more loving choice than abortion for a baby who is not expected to live long after birth.

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  3. I don’t disagree in general. I read that story and thought the same thing. However, I think the strategy in the pro-life community in pointing out the “accidental” deaths of the mothers is more to point out that abortion is NOT this safe alternative to birth. When the topic comes up, even amongst people I know who are against abortion as contraception there is a concern about the woman. The woman, the woman, the woman is all we hear about. So I think it’s helpful when it’s pointed out that abortion is bad, and potentially very deadly, for the woman *as well as* the child.

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  5. Sorry- she is NOT the victim the child she murdered is! How can a CATHOLIC who participated in the murder of her child be granted a CAtholic funeral and burial- that should be reserved exclusively for the child that she allowed to be murdered! She travelled from NY to Maryland for the abortion and I have no sympathy for her at all.

  6. I don’t know why we cannot see that there are two victims in all of this sadness. Ms. Morbelli took it upon herself to procure an abortion. Whether she was coerced or not I feel such sadness for her; that she was so separated from the grace of God that she made this horrific choice and she herself succumbed to the consequences. Her child was an innocent victim of this horrible act of violence that we refer to as legalized abortion. This innocent child was brutally killed. Ms. Morbelli’s child is in heaven. We leave Ms. Morbelli to God’s mercy. Let us remember that there but the grace of God go we. It is much easier for those of us who are in relationship with God to see the horror of such an act. Those in “darkness” do not see. May God have mercy upon them.

  7. Mary M., I heartily agree. Another aspect to these cases is a phenomenon I’ve noticed. I know a number of cases where a woman or couple has been told that the kid will be messed up and she should have an abortion. These cases are those in which the woman did the right thing–and the child was fine. In two of the cases there was definitely something more sinister going on. One woman was a waitress and sort of lower class. She was told by the doctor the baby would be born with “severe abnormalities” or something and she had the baby anyway, but then the doctor immediately after the delivery asked if she would like to have her tubes tied and in her weakened state she agreed. She was telling us as she waited on us that she really wished she could have had another child.

    The other case which was almost diabolical had to do with my friend’s sister. Her husband wanted her to have an abortion–didn’t want another kid. She said no but he kept pressuring her. Then she went to the doctor and he tells her the baby would be born without a brain and she should have an abortion. She has the baby and, lo and behold, the baby is fine, brain and all. So what happened there? Am I being paranoid to suggest that this is not a coincidence?

    I know several other cases like this. Pro-choice doctors think they’re saving the world by culling the human herd, so my guess is that this practice of pressuring women will continue. It just goes to show that there is nothing empowering to women about abortion. if anything it empowers men, really nasty men.

  8. At bottom, the abortion problem in our nation goes back to our view of life. If God did not create us, then life is not a gift to be offered back up to God. It is something accidental, banal, and expendible. And it is a small thing for someone to take life into their own hands at any time.

  9. If we are pro-life then we should also demonstrate that we are also Christians in our words and in our deeds. I can’t but help feel sorry for a soul that was judged at death by Jesus for having just killed her child. Hate the sin; love the sinner.