Ten years ago Defensores Fidei Foundation together with Pro-Life Philippines brought in Dr. Bernard Nathanson during the pro-life month of February. Then as now, congress was working out a Family Planning bill that was going to institutionalize contraception. Dr. Nathanson, author of the book “The Hand of God“, gave a series of talks to different campuses on the topic of the origins of the abortion movement in the U.S.. then as now, the pro-choice (anti-life) movement was reiterating that family planning has nothing to do with abortion. Nathanson would however show that the movement from institutionalized contraception is one step towards the legalization of abortion. How so, simply that abortion is a result of failed contraception.
A couple chooses to contracept because they do not want to have the burden of bearing a child. When there is breakthrough ovulation as a result of the failure of the contraceptive drugs, which sometimes happens, there is fertilization and hence pregnancy. The mere fact of pregnancy does not change a couples position of not wanting to bear a child especially when the couple has no real commitment to each other in the first place as in the case of casual relationships. It does not take an intelligent person to figure out what options are available after this. This is precisely Nathanson’s point. When they were trying to figure out how to make abortion legal, they realized that they had to solicit the media’s help. Admittedly, Nathanson said many times, they would feed padded data on the number of botched illegal abortions and the number of maternal deaths resulting from such to the media. He said that they were able to this primarily because artificial contraception had already been firmly entrenched in American society. Without that contraceptive mentality, the abortion movement in the U.S. would not have been successful.
Tonight, my 16 year old daughter asked me how she would best deal with pro-choice people who were challenging her beliefs in an online forum that she is active in. So I went through the talk of the inherent dignity of humans and how humans are humans regardless of the stage of development. I said that when one deals in something that is as important as human life, one needs an objective unchangeable criteria in determining if one is accorded the rights of a human being. The criteria, I said, cannot be one of mere functionality or stage of development or even degree of development. The criteria, i said, has to be within something that is the same for all humans regardless of their development, appearance or usefulness. In other words, their nature and personality.
This is when I remembered Bernard Nathanson’s conversion and suggested that she watch the video he made entitled, “The Silent Scream” (video below), which he made before his conversion but nonetheless is a very powerful graphic argument against the notion that a human fetus cannot react in any significant way that a child can. There was a copy of the video on Youtube and as we started to watch, I was explaining to her the different parts of the fetus as projected in the ultrasound. When it came to the part where the fetus was actually avoiding the suction cannula and was opening its mouth, the “silent scream” that Nathanson himself coined, my daughter started sobbing uncontrollably. Deeply surprised by her reaction, I asked her if she knew that this was how abortions were performed. I was surprised to find out that her entire concept an abortion was this surgically “clean” and “humane” procedure. My wife looked at me like I was a reckless oaf for exposing our daughter to this. Well she is sixteen and she was arguing online with people who were saying that abortion is alright because fetuses don’t feel. I was just giving her ammo for her future encounters. Somehow my wife knew that I was right to show her this and yet a part of her wanted to tell me that I was a dumb oaf.
After calming down, my daughter said to me, “dad how can they say that the fetus isn’t human and doesn’t feel, have they seen this? How can anyone perform this kind of human cruelty even if they think the fetus is not fully human?” Charity prevents me from writing here exactly what she said about those she had been arguing with but it showed me that my daughter was now even more convicted to fight the impending Reproductive Health Bill and her online “buddies”. It also made me realize that many of the people who easily dismiss the Church’s teaching on contraception do not have a any idea of how the evil of contraception begets the evil of abortion. my daughter got it right away which leads me to believe that those who deny this relationship are either dumb or pretending to be.
I felt that my daughter may have grown up a little too much tonight but at least I know that the girl I am sending off to college won’t be easily pushed around by non-beleivers and pro-choice advocates. I am not sending a push-over and oh did I mention she has a knife collection?