Shameless in Iowa

Recently, Iowa’s governor signed a bill banning most abortions after the fetal heartbeat can be detected. Now, in an assault on everything that makes humans a marginally worthwhile species, Planned Parenthood is erecting billboards featuring larger-than-life pictures of “real women” declaring, “I had an abortion, and I’m not apologizing,” while urging passersby to “Say abortion.”

I know there are people who refuse, for their own reasons, to see a human fetus as a life worthy of protection. I know there are people who are sincerely disgusted by the “inhumane” treatment of animals, and for the very best reason — namely that a person who is cruel to animals is clearly disrespectful of life as such — but who at the same time have no objection to tearing a living human fetus limb from limb for no reason other than personal convenience. I know there are people who choose to use abstract phrases such as “terminate the pregnancy” in order to avoid saying concrete phrases such as “abort the baby,” as a means of protecting themselves from having to face the truth about what they are advocating.

I know all of that, and I accept it. Every age, like every individual, has its inexplicable blind spots. Abortion is one of the blind spots of our uncommonly myopic age.

What bothers me most about these Iowa billboards, then, is not that there are people who believe, or convince themselves they believe, that abortion is a great medical convenience of no moral significance. What bothers me is what these billboards indicate about the general lack of taste, tact, and sensitivity exhibited — or rather proudly flaunted — by those who paid for them.

Why should families, driving to a Sunday picnic, have to be accosted by gigantic women in arch, pseudo-natural poses, boasting about having had weapons inserted through their genital orifices in order to rip baby parts out of them? Why should parents be forced to explain these women’s proudly immodest declarations to their young children? Why should they have to answer their children’s questions such as, “But why did she make a baby if she didn’t want one?”

“Because she wanted to enjoy easy and unrestricted sexual pleasure without having to worry about the serious adult responsibilities this choice may entail.” That answer is true, of course, but why should parents be forced to spoil their children’s innocence and natural emotional development by explaining such things prematurely, or by explaining their way around such things, thereby confusing their children?

It used to be a common experience for everyone in a family watching TV together to feel a little awkward or embarrassed during a slightly excessive love scene, or when the “feminine products” commercials came on. Modesty, privacy, and childhood innocence were seen in a positive light in those days, perhaps even cherished. Casual references, within a general family context, to sexual intimacy, “private parts,” and matters of reproductive or genital hygiene, were considered tacky at best, vulgar at worst. This attitude was part of the normal societal restraint regarding such matters, a restraint grounded not primarily in notions of “dirtiness” — the phony progressive talking point about the repressed old days — but rather in the tacit understanding that the most intimate things were, by definition, private matters not to be aired casually in public. It was inherent in the very concept of intimacy, not to mention the practical fact of intimacy in all its forms, that some things were not fodder for casual conversation. Some aspects of human life were not meant to be “in your face.”

Today, by contrast, Iowans are all supposed to accept being shouted at from the roadside by women who are boastfully unapologetic about having had babies killed and forcibly extracted through their vaginas. This is not an advance toward “openness.” It is, in the broadest and most destructive sense, a retreat from intimacy. In the end, then, it is intimacy — which means shared privacy in all its fundamental forms, the (formerly) precious world of that which is not to be spoken of, that which cannot be spoken of, without circumspection, delicacy, perhaps poetry — that these billboards are designed to destroy. It is intimacy that Planned Parenthood, like all progressive activists, hopes to undermine. It is true intimacy — the privately and selectively shared thoughts and feelings which comprise the essence of whatever real contact is possible between individual humans — that our casual promiscuity, ubiquitous social media, reduction of friendship to “drinking buddies,” and sexualized public schools are all intended to suffocate.

Intimacy is an experience — one of the essential experiences — of the soul. Progressivism is a philosophy of the body, and is therefore hellbent on the outlawing of souls. The soul is politically incorrect. Intimacy, therefore, is a thought crime. Now is the time of exposure, immodesty, “nothing to hide,” everything on the table, bodily connections without attachment, “love” as nothing but a euphemism for various forms of self-gratification.

Now every man, woman, and child in Iowa is being urged, commanded in fact, to “Say abortion.”

There is no escape. And where there is necessity, there must be acceptance. Let us accept the necessity, then, and say abortion. In fact, let us carry the challenge one step further. Let us spell abortion — not as its shouting and unapologetic advocates might spell it, but as its other, unheard participants might spell it.

“A” as in Alive.

“B” as in Betrayed.

“O” as in Overlooked.

“R” as in Rejected.

“T” as in Torn.

“I” as in Incinerated.

“O” as in Obliterated.

“N” as in Nihilism.


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