I’ve often been struck by the way Matthew’s genealogy highlights King David’s infamy: “to Jesse was born David the king. And to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6). Bathsheba’s entire identity is swallowed up by David’s sin. Unlike the other three women in the list, her name is not even mentioned. She is called “the wife of Uriah”—as if Matthew wishes to invoke all the horror of David’s murderous cover-up that led to his marriage to Uriah’s wife. It is a sadness in the account, not a celebration.
I thought of that text today after reading an account of another murderous cover-up in the pages of The New York Times. The difference in today’s story, however, is that the author wishes us to celebrate. In the article, Merritt Tierce argues that abortion rights should be celebrated no matter what the reason for the abortion. She says that we need abortion rights not merely for when the life of the mother is threatened. We also need them so that women can cover-up adulterous relationships or even to kill those babies that are no longer useful in a woman’s quest for control over her boyfriend. To that end, she provides a first person account of her two abortions.
I had an abortion because we were poor and I was depressed and I didn’t know who the father was. I had been having an affair. My kids were 2 and 3, and the debilitating morning sickness, which I experienced early in each of my pregnancies, made it difficult to work or care for two toddlers. I got pregnant again soon after, but miscarried. A few years later I had another abortion because the man I was seeing was emotionally abusive. I had no control in that relationship, so I sabotaged my birth control to get some back. The whole situation was a complete abscess. In spite of my awareness of our miserable present and inevitably doomed future, I didn’t really want to have an abortion. I wanted the man to love me or at least be forced to publicly acknowledge our relationship existed. But he didn’t want to have a baby with me, and I knew that having that baby would have been a terrible thing for my children. And for me.
None of us is perfect. We all have things from our past that we are rightly ashamed of. Hopefully we learn and grow from mistakes. But what struck me about this account is that Tierce is unabashed. She is not asking for forgiveness. This is not a confession. On the contrary, she is asking readers not only to tolerate the killing of her two unborn children but also to celebrate her right to do so.
We have to stop categorizing abortions as justified or unjustified. The best thing you can do if you support reproductive rights is to force people to realize that abortion is common… It’s our job to say it’s O.K. …
The reasons, the feelings, the personal contexts — these we can also talk about, but only after we grant to each woman the right to make and do with her body what she will. Regardless of whether or not a compelling story is on offer.
Abortion rights supporters need to realize that these kinds of stories are precisely why they are losing the debate right now in the broader culture. Americans are trending in a pro-life direction, and it is due largely to the fact that they are not willing to embrace a complete indifference toward unborn persons. And yet such indifference is what the abortion rights regime requires.
We all have a sense that thing kicking around in mommy’s tummy really is a person. And it makes no sense to make killing that person the moral equivalent of having one’s appendix removed. Everyone knows that this debate isn’t merely about a woman’s right to do with her own body what she wills. It’s also about a baby’s right not to be killed simply because his mother wants to cover-up her affair. People with a scintilla of moral sense know that intuitively.
If what I’ve said so far sounds judgmental, that’s because it is. We need to make moral judgments about this kind of thing. We can’t simply let stories like this come and go as if they aren’t outrageous. This account is appalling at every level, and it serves no one if we pretend otherwise.
One more thing about the genealogy. There is an appalling moral mess in the lineage of Jesus. Nevertheless, God took the mess, entered the mess, and made a way of rescue from the mess. The Lord’s arm is not too short to save (Isa. 59:1), and no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace—and that includes Ms. Tierce. Nevertheless, the first step on the path to redemption is repentance and faith. And that means recognizing sin for what it is.
(HT: The Briefing)