Like millions of others, I spent a good deal of my weekend enjoying the newly released second season of the Netflix original series “House of Cards.” While the political drama captivates the viewer with its twists and turns, it missed the mark in its characterization of pro-life advocates.
Claire Underwood (played by Robin Wright), the wife of Vice President Frank Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey), reveals in a live television interview that she had an abortion. In episodes following the abortion becoming public, pro-life advocates are portrayed not only as angry and hateful–picketing Claire’s events with signs reading “Shame” and “Baby Killer”—but far worse.
Claire’s husband (who Spacey depicts as a viciously amoral power broker) also remarks that a portion of the country sees her as a “baby killer.” She receives death threats and in one episode, a deranged young man tries to bring explosives to her house after he finds out his own wife had an abortion without his knowledge.
But that is not the pro-life movement that I know, or anyone knows outside of Hollywood knows. That is not the response we give when someone confides in us that they had an abortion.
As pro-life advocates, we acknowledge that in every abortion there are two victims. There is the unborn child who violently loses his or her life and there is also a mother who is forever left to bear the heartache. We care deeply about both of their lives and we want to help both of them.
Pro-life individuals not only run pregnancy resource centers to support pregnant women and their children, but they also coordinate programs aimed at helping women who are struggling with pain and regret after abortion. Her life matters to us before she enters an abortion center and her life matters to us when she comes out.
Organizations like Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More were founded in response to women coming forward about their abortions, seeking peace and healing.
Olivia Gans Turner, director of American Victims of Abortion, wrote,“The post-abortion arm of the pro-life movement was absolutely created by women for women who learned too late what was really at stake in their ‘choice.’ When nobody else could hear us crying in the night we found each other and built places of sanctuary in which to heal.”
Conversely, abortion centers provide no care for women hurting after abortion. In fact, many abortion advocates even deny negative repercussions are possible. Too often, post-abortive women are pressured to suppress their feelings and suffer in silence.
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While I recognize that the purpose of the show is entertainment and often television requires sensationalism, nonetheless we should set the record straight. The pro-life movement is not in the business of casting judgments.
Our goal is to protect lives threatened by abortion. That includes the helpless unborn child, the pregnant mother who finds herself facing difficult circumstances, and the woman grieving after an abortion.