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Tragedy or Tissue?: The Contradictory Ways We Talk about the Unborn

If it weren’t so jarring and tragic, the contradictory laws and language tolerated in our country about abortion would be laughable.

On the one hand, we prosecute anyone who harms a pregnant woman and causes her to lose her baby, sometimes even charging them with murder. Meanwhile, that same woman could legally have her unborn child killed with no consequences just down the street. We have baby announcements—not fetus announcements—and yet, most people who call themselves “pro-choice” insist on referring to the victim of abortion as something other than a baby. According to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pregnant woman who is “abortion-minded” is not a mother, but apparently any other pregnant woman is.

And then there’s miscarriage—a tragedy familiar to millions of women in this country, as well as their families. In her memoir, former first lady Michelle Obama tells about a miscarriage she suffered, and how she’d grieved as if she’d lost a child. Because of course, she had.

Recently, NPR highlighted Mrs. Obama’s story and others like it in a segment on “demystifying miscarriage.” It’s a powerful hour of radio, filled with women describing the heart-wrenching grief of losing a baby. One described it as a “loss of a secret companion,” and others talked of their longing to protect their tiny children, even after they were gone.

Tragically, our culture and our laws de-legitimize the grief of miscarriage, communicating to mothers, indirectly and sometimes directly, that it’s no big deal. Nearly all of the mothers interviewed by NPR described how few people seemed to fully appreciate what they had gone through, even shrugging off their tragedies as if they hadn’t really lost something or someone precious.

Incredibly, NPR even tried to make the case that restrictions on abortion have harmed women who’ve suffered miscarriages! This government-funded outlet ignored the government-funded industry that dehumanizes the unborn and treats their deaths as no big deal.

In fact, a recent documentary on another government-funded media outlet, PBS, goes to even greater lengths to normalize abortion, even comparing it to miscarriage as a way of convincing viewers that it’s no big deal. Who’s minimizing miscarriage, again?

In the documentary, a mother at a Philadelphia “women’s center” is filmed taking the abortion pill RU486 while a doctor describes the twins she is carrying as “pregnancy tissue.” Medical abortions are an increasingly common early-term form of abortion that are carried out entirely with medication.

“A medical abortion is very similar to inducing a miscarriage,” explains the doctor, later describing the “miscarriage symptoms” her patient will experience when she takes the second drug to expel her baby.

What an insult to the millions of women who know what a miscarriage means. Disturbingly, this mother made it clear she knew what abortion means: “What I hope I feel,” she said, “is a sense of peace…with these two beings that I’ve chosen not to bring into the world. Thank you for choosing me,” she tells them. “I’m honored to be given this gift of life. And also, I can’t do it right now.”

The attempt to sentimentalize abortion isn’t just misguided and wrong. It’s an insult to every woman who has suffered the unchosen loss of miscarriage. More than that, it demonstrates a culpable knowledge—on the part of this woman, PBS, NPR, and everyone else involved in this industry of death—of what really happens when a doctor ends a pregnancy by abortion.

That muffling gauze of medical euphemisms cannot change what is true. Even abortive women themselves, some who are stricken with grief, can’t suppress it either.

Our prayers to end this casual destruction of life should include, on behalf of our whole nation, an acknowledgement: “Father, forgive us, for we know what we’re doing.”

Download mp3 audio here.

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at where you can read and search answers to common questions.

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.

Publication date: June 17, 2019

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

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