Abortion is Shameful, Act Like It

Return To Normalcy

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. And 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.

Pro-life warriors should not let pro-abortion attackers make the poster child for an abortionist’s client a raped twelve-year-old. A serious campaign against abortion would instead show what abortion is really about. It would run an ad from the Lee Atwater genre. The ad would open with a middle-class suburbanite twentysomething handing out “my body, my choice” fliers in the inner city. There she’d meet a trashy tramp on her way into an abortion mill with a stack of cash for her third baby killing because condoms kill the feel for her.

“I don’t need no fliers, honey. I need a light.”

An Easy Win

Abortion is an intrinsic political contradiction. It’s a ball sitting atop a tee waiting for a conservative to come and whack it. Abortion is a right no one really believes is a right. Abortion is a choice no one will defend except by claiming that women who get abortions have no choice.

No one says free speech—a real right—should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Yet, no mainstream proponent of abortion will defend the right to get one without admitting that abortions are so bad that there should be as few as possible. Congressman Cori Bush claimed that, during her second abortion, her abortionists ignored her pleas to stop. That’s a shocking allegation, yet no one went looking for a doctor to charge with murder because hardly anyone believed her. The most common excuse for a shameful choice is always “I had no choice.”

But abortion is a choice. Abortion is a choice like any other, and a choice is noble when it’s for good but shameful when it’s for bad. Everyone by intuition already knows that abortion is a shameful choice. The left will scream at anyone who says this. But that’s not because it’s wrong. It’s because the left will want you to stop saying it because it’s convincing. It’s because all that the left has in reply is nonsense about a wrong that’s a right and a choice that chooses you.

When the political right musters the courage to say in public what lives in everyone’s hearts, women choosing abortion will no longer be licensed to hide from their shame. Make abortions shameful again and abortions will stop. The laws won’t even matter.

That’s the promise, anyway. Then there’s the curse. Fail to shame women who commit abortion and abortion will get worse and abortion proponents more radical.

The curse already threatens.

Right after the Ohio vote, a major news magazine published an article by a so-called “communications strategist” for the Democratic Party. “We need to become loud, proud, and unapologetic abortion supporters,” she wrote, “regardless of the reason” women “want or need an abortion.” So-called needed abortions are not enough now. “Wanted” abortions are to be the next rage.

The left is announcing its next attack. It has gone far, and it wants to go farther. Will the right wise up and rise up—or, yet again, run away into a milquetoast moderation and seek refuge inside a prefabricated excuse for a failure to save the unborn? That’s our choice.

In the America wrought by the march of the left, you can be shamed for throwing your plastic bottle into the trash, for driving a pickup truck, and for saying “mailman.” But even think of shaming a woman for killing her child and the left will scream. The choice for the right is whether to blush like a naughty toddler or to stand up like a grown man. Lives depend on it.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Sean Ross Callaghan

Sean Ross Callaghan is an attorney, a tech entrepreneur, former federal law clerk, and graduate of Binghamton University and George Washington University Law School. He has been published at The American Spectator, American Greatness, Newsweek, and the American Thinker. Follow him on X at @seanrcallaghan.

6 thoughts on “Abortion is Shameful, Act Like It

  1. You should be ashamed of yourself. When you pass laws against abortion, you harm all women. Even 12 year old rape victims, even mothers of 2 with a dangerous and possibly lethal pregnancy.
    Yes, most of us don’t have abortions. We should have that option if we need it. It’s really none of your business.
    By the way, it’s never a woman who refuses a condom- that’s a guy thing.

    1. No. You don’t have the moral high ground on this. It’s valid to make life of the mother an exception, but exceptions should not be the primary focus in any serious moral discussion.

      A moral society does not encourage mothers to kill their own children.

  2. “There she’d meet a trashy tramp on her way into an abortion mill with a stack of cash for her third baby killing because condoms kill the feel for her.”

    This is an issue for women? Never in my experience.

    Shame won’t work but money will. Give women financial incentives to keep and have babies, and they will do so. I would say give both men and women financial incentives to pair up, stay together and have kids, and they will do so. What do you think? Put your money where your mouth is.

    1. This is already being done by anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. They have an overabundance of money, physical resources, and counseling that women are not using since they see the hard work of raising a baby, and opt for what they deem as the easier option in murdering their child.

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