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.