Whose Choice?

It was an episode of a television show in the late ’70s or early ’80s. I don’t even remember the name of the series.

A married couple was battling to stay together. Or it was more like they were battling each other. Today we would say they had issues.

One issue–perhaps minor, perhaps not–was that he hated her smoking. He often challenged her to quit. She refused to give it up.

Until they got a report from the doctor. Yes, they were expecting. (No home pregnancy test back then.)

She immediately stopped smoking–just as he’d been begging her to do all along. She had a natural desire to protect the life within her.

But he said, repeatedly, “We can’t bring a baby into this.” Into the mess that was their marriage.

Finally, she succumbed to his unrelenting push for her to abort. And the video depiction of the procedure’s aftermath was subtle but raw.

She left the clinic and got into the passenger seat of the car at sunset. He sat in the driver’s seat as darkness surrounded them. Viewers saw the flick of a lighter. The flame sucked into the glow of a burning cigarette next to the passenger side window.

The smoldering cigarette signifying the snuffing out of their child’s life.

The discussion around abortion was relatively new then. The battle lines had not clearly formed. Truth was more of a possibility.

Such a television depiction would be unlikely to air today because the man pushed for the abortion. He pushed against the woman’s desire to protect new life. He gave her no room for “choice”.

In the late ’70s, the news media was still objective about the issue, at least in one corner of the world. In 1978, the Chicago Sun Times did an expose on abortion “providers”–not yet so named.

One of the abortion facilities the expose covered closed down as a result, and a physician lost his license to practice. A grand jury investigated.

In contrast, a few years ago in my own state of Pennsylvania, law enforcement uncovered Kermit Gosnell’s abortion house of horrors when they were investigating the illegal sale of prescription drugs.

The uncovering of abortion amid filth and broken medical equipment came about accidentally even after a woman died and Gosnell murdered a breathing, six-pound abortion survivor, among others. Yet others carry physical reminders of their time in his “care”.

If not for the drug bust, would he still be injuring and killing?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health said in a later report that they had stopped inspecting abortion facilities “because of political reasons.”

After an alert from a former employee, the state interviewed Gosnell off- site–where they wouldn’t see the condition of his facility.

Pennsylvania also ignored an insurance company report of a post-Gosnell abortion patient who died from sepsis after he perforated her uterus.

Writing an op-ed for USA Today, Kirsten Powers said, “This [Gosnell’s story] should be front-page news.”

But it wasn’t on the front page because the media had completely ditched objectivity at some point after Chicago’s expose.

Today’s media isn’t paying attention–on purpose–all to supposedly protect “a woman’s right to choose.”

But the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons reports that nearly 75 percent of aborting women say they experienced at least some pressure to abort. More than half said they aborted to please others.

And nearly 30 percent aborted out of fear they would lose their partners. The statistics on what happens next for relationships so affected are tough to nail down, but one counselor says his experience shows that half of post-abortion relationships break up. He’s not alone in that way of thinking.

It’s distressing to think that the media got it right in some obscure program that aired decades ago and will never see the light of syndication.

It’s distressing to ponder all those babies gone. All those women pushed. All the lies told and truth withheld.

An unimaginable amount of damage done for someone’s choice–and not even the someone you might expect.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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