The Latest Pop Culture Defense of Abortion: Everybody’s Doing It

Opinion   |   Kelsey Hazzard   |   Sep 5, 2013   |   11:52AM   |   Washington, DC

By now, you’ve all heard about Udonis Haslem and Faith Rein’s wedding announcement in the New York Times, which included the fact that they’d had an abortion many years ago. (The couple also has a surviving young son, Josiah.) Pro-choice-remember-no-one-is-pro-abortion media outlets like Think Progress are of course thrilled.

Plenty of pro-life commentators have already written about how sad this is, so I’ll just echo that sentiment and move on to a different angle, namely, why radical abortion advocates love this story. They love it because it fits into their long-term strategy of taking abortion out of the moral realm entirely and treating it as a routine medical event.

We’ve seen this before, of course. “One in every three women will have an abortion by the time she’s 45!” Past statistics are no guarantee of a younger generation’s behavior, but factual accuracy isn’t the point. The point is the message that everybody’s doing it. It is, at its core, marketing.

Then there’s this Slate piece from July, wishing for more “blithe” abortion stories because “it pushes forward the idea that there isn’t one right way to feel about terminating a pregnancy.” As if the value of an unborn life depends at all upon how someone feels about destroying it.

They will, of course, frame this goal as “ending abortion stigma.” But as anyone who’s been debating this long enough knows, abortion advocates do not actually like to talk about abortion. They like to talk about “choice,” and “reproductive health,” and maybe they’ll even get out the a-word every once in a while. But get down to the nitty-gritty of what happens in this neat little procedure? No thank you.

But that suction, that scraping, that violence, that death, are unavoidably a part of every woman’s experience with abortion, whether they regret it or not. In pro-life circles, post-abortive women openly share their entire experiences, including those that aren’t “fit to print.” So who’s creating a stigma here? If not the pro-choice movement, perhaps it is post-abortive women individually, who do not wish to trumpet what, even if they do not quite regard it as murder, was certainly not their finest moral hour.



The make-it-routine strategy is certain to backfire in the end. Most middle-of-the-road people, and even people who call themselves pro-choice, do at least believe that abortion has a moral dimension. They will recoil from depictions of abortion that fail to even acknowledge the life lost, such as the one in the New York Times.

I will close with the note that Haslem and Rein did not write the wedding announcement themselves. We should not impute the piece’s agenda to them personally. For all we know, they do feel grief for the child they lost, and are unable or unwilling to express it, or the NYT author selected only the quotes that would be least offensive to the paper’s pro-choice audience. (Even what was quoted suggests some ambivalence; Rein stated that it “was a difficult time” and that she was “willing to have an abortion” for Haslem’s sake.) Let us always take the high road, not insulting those who have chosen abortion, but instead working to divert others from that lethal path. Note:  Kelsey Hazzard is the president of Secular Pro-Life, an organization that uses non-religious arguments to promote the pro-life perspective.