I still love the folk song by Peter, Paul and Mary from the sixties, Blowing in the Wind. With regard to the cultural changes that have happened during my lifetime with regard to abortion, it bears some significance.
The first time I ever caught a gust of these changes happened one morning several years ago. While preparing for bed on the evening of January 22, 1998, which marked the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I was surfing my cable channels. I accidentally happened upon a delayed broadcast of a pro-abortion response to the pro-life march that was taking place just a few thousand yards from their meeting place in Washington D.C.
A small and relatively new group, Refuse and Resist, was there to pay homage, to the memory of Dr. David Gunn, the abortion provider, who had been gunned down outside his abortion clinic in Florida five years previously. The assembled were a motley crew of no more than sixty people that included a number of college students, mostly women, a gay activist and an aging communist. It seemed as if I were watching the tattered remnants of the social protest detritus of the sixties.
My attention riveted on a young black woman from Atlanta, who had been invited to address the group. She was there to share with them her abortion experience of a few years earlier. She was in an unmarried sexual relationship for five years when her birth control pills failed her. Her partner informed her that there was no way that he was ready to be a father. He would be just no good at it. She agreed that she was not ready to make all the sacrifices that motherhood demanded. There was her schooling, her job, and of course her recreation. An unexpected and unwanted baby would just have ruined everything. This articulate woman revealed how she had prayed to her god or goddess and had come to the conclusion that abortion was in the best interest of everyone concerned. Their child was better off dead.
The unstated truth was that they felt themselves so childish a couple that any baby who intruded on their lives was a grave physical and emotional risk. Better to speed the baby off into its next life, rather than have it suffer a life of misery with them as its parents. In effect they suffered from an arrested self-development that reflects what a professional basketball coach has called the disease of me.
Their callous and narcissist attitude served as a reality check for me. To think our culture had grown so hostile to unwanted children that it has produced such selfish people that, if given the option of sacrificing for their own flesh and blood, would chose the alternate of harming it in untold physical and emotions ways. In a true Orwellian motif, they would do it after praying to their god or goddess!
She concluded her witnessing with an irate denunciation, angrily shaking her fist and pointing to the over 150,000 marchers in the background, and shouting If their God would allow a baby to be born to me, then he was no god I could ever believe in. The religious dichotomy was clear. She and her fellow protesters were the vanguard of a committed religious movement, a virulent, yet pseudo polytheism that was hostile to traditional modes of behavior. I thought then that it would be only a matter of time before this attitude would solidify into a common religious practice among the left.