Abortion Is Shameful, Act like It

Most abortions are committed by women destined to remain childless. A vast majority of normal American women intend never to commit an abortion, never do, and instead want to start a family. Rejecting abortions is normal. Having abortions is not.

Recently in Ohio, a constitutional amendment to allow some abortion-on-demand narrowly passed a popular referendum. The amendment would have failed had only about seven percent of voters switched from “yes” to “no.” This contrasts with recent pro-life wins in states that are in some cases arguably less red than Ohio such as the traditional swing state of Florida, Texas, and the blue-leaning state of Georgia. There, Republicans who passed laws that protect unborn babies with heartbeats have lately won statewide and even won big.

The Ohio setback is what results when the political right argues law instead of culture. The right outsourced its arguments on abortion mostly to its kindly Christian women, who have so far avoided using one of the most powerful tools they have: Shame. But shame is the way to train abortion proponents to care about the unborn, and shame comes from culture.

The political left knows this well. The left for a century has changed culture before law, turning the unimaginable into the standard, through relentless campaigns of public shaming. That’s how it trained a generation to avoid fanciful horrors of the so-called “politically incorrect,” even though no one ever believed it. The political right, if only it is willing, can far more quickly teach a generation to avoid real horrors everyone already knows are wrong.

The Median Abortion Seeker Is Far from the Median Woman

Trained to avoid the politically incorrect, much of the right assumes that condemning women who get abortions is like staring at a solar eclipse: something you just can’t do. But the left’s cultural wins are reversing. As more and more reject the bizarre racial and sexual pities of the aughts and the vapid norms of the nineties from which they sprang, now is the time to question whether it really is bad to shame women when they kill their children. Now is the time to break free from the Millian paradigm that negates historically normal enforcement of social norms and morality: shame and stigma. These things are always operative anyway. It is just a question of which morality governs and what “lifestyles” are elevated. 

There aren’t many women to shame anyway. The typical woman is far from the typical woman who commits abortion. Roughly half of all abortions are committed by women who have already had at least one. About a fifth of women who get abortions have several. Overall, only about one in ten who get pregnant ever go on to commit even one abortion.

Read More

Previous ArticleNext Article