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Abortion “Care”?

By Walter M. Weber1387403424000

Euphemisms are linguistic disguises. They hide the unattractive, or even the evil. “Collateral damage” sounds far more pleasant than “dead civilians.” “Marriage equality” is more attractive than “marriage redefinition.” “Adult” is more respectable than “pornographic.” And so forth.

Euphemisms have long been a staple of the abortion movement. Don’t refer to “aborting babies;” instead, say “choice” or “reproductive health.” Use “product of conception” or “conceptus” instead of “baby in the womb.” “Curettage” is considerably less ugly than “slicing up.” Etc. And so it should be no surprise that the ACLU and Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) – two committed pro-abortion groups – continue the practice of euphemism in the latest abortion case to knock at the door of the Supreme Court.

In Horne v. Isaacson, the federal court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that, for more than the first five months of pregnancy (at least, until the unborn child attains “viability”), the U.S. Constitution contains an essentially absolute right for a pregnant woman to abort her baby for any reason, regardless of how dangerous the abortions may be, and regardless of how much pain an abortion may cause to the baby in the womb. The court of appeals therefore struck down Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. Arizona has asked the Supreme Court to review the case. (The ACLJ filed an amicus brief supporting Arizona; that brief is available here.)

The ACLU and CRR are telling the Supreme Court that there is nothing here worth reviewing, and that the Court should let the Ninth Circuit’s extreme decision stand. But making the lower court’s ruling look innocuous is a challenge. Aborting an innocent child at five months of pregnancy or later is macabre even to most people who say they support abortion. So how do the ACLU and CRR put lipstick on this pig? Among other things, they trot out the phrase “abortion care.” Abortionists don’t abortion late-term babies, they provide “abortion care.” In fact, this phrase shows up at least five times in the first five pages of the ACLU/CRR brief. (If “abortion care” strikes you as about as jarring as “lobotomy care” or “dismemberment care,” then you are immune to the euphemistic effect.) And, of course,never say “baby.” For example, in trying to create sympathy for those seeking late-term abortions, the ACLU/CRR brief says “[m]any of these patients struggled desperately to carry their” – babies? nope! – “pregnancies at least until the” – baby? sorry! – “fetus became viable . . . .” It may be that some people refer to their offspring before birth as “pregnancies” or “fetuses”. My own experience is that expectant parents are far more likely to say things like “I felt the baby kick,” “Doctor, is the baby okay?” or, sadly, “we lost the baby.”

It’s hard to believe abortion could be so unrestricted and widespread if courts, media, and politicians didn’t have euphemisms to hide behind. How many folks would run for office on a platform proudly embracing the “right” to kill unborn human beings?

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