“What Are We Trying to Hide?”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones / but names will never hurt me.” So goes the old children’s nursery rhyme.

We know, of course, that the claim is not exactly true: CBS produced a documentary in 2011 about the effects of bullying in a digital age, “Words Can Kill.”

What is less talked about is how the lack of words can kill.

Case-in-Point: in the wake of the tragic murders in Sutherland Springs, Texas, The New York Times felt compelled to explain “Why the Tally of the Church’s Shooting Victims Included a Fetus.”

Now, you’d think that most normal people would react to the killings inside the First Baptist Church in that little Texas town by saying how tragic it was people were slaughtered inside a house of God, and how that tragedy was compounded by Crystal Holcombe and her unborn child dying together. But apparently either normal people don’t read The Times or those who do assume that it’s not normal to think it’s a tragedy Crystal and her baby died.

“Assessing the grim toll of the massacre … sheriff’s deputies found 22 of the bodies inside … the [c]hurch, but by their reasoning, one more victim died there…” In case readers wonder why Texas authorities can’t seem to get the victim count straight, author Laurie Goodstein enlightens the non-illuminati: “Texas is one of at least 38 states with a law that recognizes a fetus in utero as a potential crime victim” and, just in case you’re still too thick to get it, “[t]he laws … are another battle front in the long, passionate political war over abortion and the question of when life begins.”

For the abortion establishment nothing—not even a madman’s killing spree inside a church—can be allowed to call into question the one act of faith de fide definata: under no condition whatsoever can any scintilla of humanity be imputed to an unborn child. As Paul Greenberg put it well: “Verbicide precedes homicide.”

Consider how the Gray Lady felt it necessary, just—earlier, to alert readers of a pending danger buried on page 93 of the House tax bill: Republicans were on a stealth mission to humanize a “child in utero.”  The GOP proposes explicitly to allow eligible taxpayers (parents or grandparents) to start a tax-advantaged college savings plan for a “child in utero”! In case its dear readers cannot believe what the Cro-Magnons of the lower chamber propose to do, the Times even provides a link to the bill with a search engine to look up the dreaded “c” word. If the editors were only so eager always to add a “comments” section beneath their own editorials….

See, all the financial planning companies will tell you that you can’t start saving for college too soon. They’ll show you some graphics about the magic of financial compounding, so even sending that check into investment house six months ahead of time, in June instead of December, compounded over 18 years, will produce rich dividends. Yes, send in the check six months ahead of time. Just don’t send it in nine months ahead of time, if you think you have a baby.

The politically correct cognoscenti of the Upper West Side or Adams Morgan certainly can’t wait to make sure their little Skylars and Logans are signed up at the “right” preschool (provided it’s not too “religious,” see here and here). I wonder if they’ll necessarily demand a birth certificate before wait-listing their precious little blob of tissue?

Jeremy Peters and Deborah Solomon, authors of the story on the tax piece (which includes in its headline the scare quote “Rights for the ‘Unborn’”) rightly note that what is most significant about the bill “is the inclusion of the words ‘unborn child’ in the legislation.” The authors claim one can open a 529 for a child before birth; their objection is actually writing the words “child in utero” into law. (I’m not a lawyer, but it seems technically true, although it takes a bit of manipulation to open a 529 before the child has a birthday or social security number: see here.)  The same can be said about recognizing the Texas victim. We have to kill off words so we can keep on killing.

For the logic of the abortion establishment, it’s tragic that a pregnant woman died. If she wanted her baby, that compounds her tragedy because of the additional injury done to her. But to suggest that any other injury occurred would be heresy.

Under that logic, if the victim wanted to abort her baby but managed to survive herself, then no emotion would be appropriate (except for the assault on her). Presumably, counting the lost baby would even be offensive.

As the Times notes, three-quarters of the states as well as the federal government (“The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004,” PL 108-212) have some form of law recognizing that an unborn child can be a crime victim. The abortion establishment prefers the situation in Canada. In 2014, Cassandra Kaake was bludgeoned to death during a break-in at her Windsor, Ontario home, which the killer subsequently torched. Kaake was seven months pregnant. Her partner, Jeff Durham, the baby’s father (they had already named their product of conception “Molly”) subsequently realized that the murderer could not be charged for the killing of the child he and Cassandra were eagerly expecting. Canada has no law on abortion at all, at any stage prior to birth, and proponents of abortion intend to keep it that way. One of the main websites leading the Canadian campaign for “Cassie and Molly’s Law” says it all by its name: Molly Matters.

Sutherland Springs brings back the problem the abortion establishment wants to hide. That’s a good thing because, as Maggie Gallagher and Frank Cannon point out in the December 2017 issue of First Things: 

When only one side is willing to speak enthusiastically about a prominent issue, people begin to believe there is really only one side. … If only one team is on the field, it wins by default. … The sanctity of life provides the most obvious example. … The scandal of abortion remains before the public, working against the pro-abortion forces that would want to hide the reality of the killing of the unborn.

Back in 2014, Signal Hill produced a wonderful video to parody the linguist hoops abortionists must jump through to conceal the humanity of the unborn. It’s worth viewing and sharing. In 30 seconds, the video devastates the verbal house of cards abortionists have constructed by showing: a birthday cake inscribed “congratulations on your products of conception”; women giving presents at a “uterine contents” shower; one woman asking another in a doctor’s office whether this is her “first lump of cells”; and a pregnant woman sitting alongside a crib, stroking her very pregnant abdomen and singing, “hush, blob of tissue, don’t say a word…” The video ends with the remark: “The language of abortion is confusing. What are we trying to hide?”

Exactly. Because the lack of words can kill.

John M. Grondelski

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John M. Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) is former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ. All views expressed herein are exclusively his own.

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