The following comes from an August 10 Daily Beast article by Ruben Navarette, Jr.:
The only thing I hate more than talking about abortion is writing about it. It’s no accident that, in 2000 columns over a quarter century, I have never—ever—written about abortion. I’ve avoided the topic like a root canal.
But that is getting harder to do with the release of what are now five gruesome, albeit edited, undercover videos by The Center for Medical Progress depicting doctors and other top officials of Planned Parenthood discussing, and even laughing about, the harvesting of baby organs, as casually as some folks talk about the weather.
It’s jarring to see doctors acting as negotiators as they dicker over the price of a fetal liver, heart, or brain, and then talk about how they meticulously go to the trouble of not crushing the most valuable body parts. This practice is perfectly legal, and for some people, it is just a business. With millions of abortions each year in America, business is good.
I consider myself pro-choice, as I have for the last 30 years. I staked out this position during my freshmen year in college. Even then, I understood the abortion debate was a tug-of-war between competing rights—those of the mother versus those of an unborn baby. I sided with the mother. And I tried not to think about the baby.
All this was happening in the 1980s, which was a particularly tense time in the abortion debate. Americans were at each other’s throats. Protesters picketed the offices of abortion providers. Clinics were bombed or set on fire. Doctors who performed abortions were being threatened. The Moral Majority, Operation Rescue, and the Republican Party seemed an intolerant lot. I couldn’t imagine siding with them, so I lined up on the pro-choice side.
I arrived there for a simple reason: Because I’m a man. Many will say that this is not a very good reason, but it is my reason. Lacking the ability to get pregnant, and thus spared what has been for women friends of mine the anguishing decision of whether to stay pregnant, I’ve remained on the sidelines and deferred to the other half of the population.
Over time, I made refinements—going along with waiting periods and parental notification laws at the state level, and coming out against the barbaric practice known as partial birth abortion.
As I’ve only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality. And, as I’ve only recently been willing to admit, even to myself, that’s another name for “wimping out.”
At least that’s how my wife sees it. She’s pro-life, and so she’s been tearing into me every time a new video is released. She’s not buying my argument that, as a man, I have to defer to women and trust them to make their own choices about what to do with their bodies. To her, that’s ridiculous—and cowardly.
“You can’t stand on the sidelines, especially now that you’ve seen these videos,” she told me recently. “That’s bullshit! These are babies that are being killed. Millions of them. And you need to use your voice to protect them. That’s what a man does. He protects children—his own children, and other children. That’s what it means to be a man.”
I didn’t like the scolding, but I needed to hear it. For those of us who are pro-choice, the Planned Parenthood videos are a game changer. As to whether that means I’ll change my view, I’m not sure. I’m on the bubble. Ask me in a few weeks, after the release of more videos.