Abortion Results in the Rejection, Destruction of Relationships

Opinion   |   James Egan   |   Jan 3, 2013   |   5:48PM   |   Washington, DC

“In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” Matthew 2:18

Last week, just a few days before Christmas, I was standing outside an abortion clinic, praying and singing. The weather was abysmal – it was very cold, and sleeting. It was the first time I’d ever been the only one outside the clinic while it was open. I hadn’t intended to stop there, but I was doing something else in the area and had to wait for someone to pick me up. I sang Christmas carols and hymns and prayed aloud.

A woman walked quickly down the sidewalk, covering her face from the ice and rain, and headed towards the entrance to the clinic. I started to tell her about the crisis pregnancy center just across the street, but I was immediately cut off by escorts who planted themselves between us and helped her into the clinic.

I began to sing the Coventry Carol, a haunting song remembering the massacre of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel:

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

It struck me later that the most tragic part of the abortion holocaust is this: that the aborted children are completely, utterly rejected, abandoned and alone. From the very moment of their existence, they are unwanted and unloved. This is the most extreme sort of rejection I can imagine: the entire world has completely rejected them from the beginning. They are outcasts. They are not wanted, so they are not loved, and their humanity and personhood are completely denied. It breaks apart maybe the most basic and primary of all human relationships: the relationship between a mother and child. The very term “motherhood” implies a relationship. But in abortion, this relationship is shattered. The aborted children are not related to anyone; they are completely unloved. They are abandoned, outcast, and isolated.

This becomes the very basis for rejecting their personhood: they becomes “its.” To be a person is to be in a state of relationship. Because the concept of love is completely denied, the foundation of relation is denied, and so their personhood is denied. Love, the gift of self, of self-donation, is rejected by abortion. What right does the fetus have to be in relation, when “it” is unwanted and unloved?

Monica Miller, in her astounding and deeply moving new book Abandoned, says:

Just beyond a closed door in my apartment lay the dismembered bodies of unborn children. I began to know their isolation and understand that it is caused by the triumph of another individual in isolation – a lonely monadic self who must secure its own identity and power by suppressing or annihilating all who threaten to be in relation to it. Here lay these silent bodies, taken from a loading dock by the hands of a stranger, sitting quietly in a strange place. They were apart from their mothers, apart from their fathers, apart from the towns where there they had been conceived. In them I knew the denial of mankind’s most intrinsic bonds. Roe v. Wade was based on the premise – indeed on the philosophy – that the woman stands alone. Abortion isolates the woman from all other human beings in the world. Under Roe, no one, not parents or boyfriend or husband, and much less a stranger has any claim on the woman and her baby. In the philosophy of Roe there are no inherent human relationships.

Abortion marks the most extreme isolation of human beings and the rejection of human relationships, the dignity of human life, and love. The aborted are cast out of society, of relationship, of love. The whole world does not want them, and so they are forced out of this world. More than any others, the aborted are completely alone.

Somehow, reflecting on my experience outside the abortion clinic, this thought gave me hope. There I was, outside the abortion clinic, alone. And the baby inside the woman who walked into that clinic was horribly, profoundly alone. But because of my presence there, I was undoing that. That baby was no longer alone, because I was there, fighting for him or her, telling the world that I wanted that child to live. I was probably the only one in the whole world to do something to truly love that baby before he or she was destroyed and cast out of the world forever. Because of that, I had brought that baby into a relationship. As far as I know, that baby is dead. But he or she was not unloved and will not be forgotten.

Grave for 1,200 aborted children at Holy Cross cemetery in Milwaukee, WI

Despite all of our failures to restore a legal right to life for the unborn, despite all the deaths that happen regardless of our efforts, I believe that the pro-life movement is doing something very beautiful in challenging abortion. Heroic men and women are standing up to the world, looking it in the face, and declaring: these children are not unwanted.



The heroism of men and women who stand day after day outside abortion clinics, who tirelessly work to educate the world on the horror of abortion, who fight legal battles, who sat blocking the entrances to abortion clinics and went to jail for it, who expose the corruption of the abortion industry, who day after day commit themselves to ending abortion…this heroism achieves something very profound, through daring acts of love for the unborn babies threatened by abortion. In some small way, these children are not alone, their humanity is not wholly rejected, and they are loved and wanted.

This gives me hope. No matter what, we will love these children. We will take upon ourselves a radical self-identification with the unborn, by sharing in their rejection, in the hatred of the world. We will pray for them and fight to protect them, because we believe in their humanity and personhood. Each of them is worthy of love and worth fighting for. In the end, they will not go unloved.

LifeNews Note: James Egan writes for the Live Action blog.