Silence, euphemisms and doublespeak discrepancies in the abortion debate – Robert Colquhoun

Sharon was a keen member of her book club for a couple of decades. A chance vox pop interview with a national radio journalist ‘outed’ her as participating in a religious pro-life campaign to her secular friends. This caused outrage among some of her friends who previously procured an abortion and had not come to terms with the experience. The result? Sharon was ousted from her book club – ignored and the book club reformed without her.

The story above is typical of a culture that cannot come face to face with the reality and nature of abortion. No words can express the reality of abortion. Abortion is the only product that is not seen before it is bought into. In the United Kingdom there are countless post abortive men and women who are not at peace with their personal experience of abortion. As a cultural taboo, the silence surrounding abortion helps to enforce shame and guilt associated with the practice. Sermons, dinner parties and social gatherings are socially deemed not the place for a transparent conversation about abortion. The culture of silence if anything encourages the practice to continue and shame and guilt to be buried into life experience.

In the aviation industry, an open culture helps accidents to be avoided. Professionals are free to open up and admit mistakes without fear of retribution. We need an open culture in Churches, where people can open up to past experiences and receive the healing, forgiveness, hope and reconciliation that is available from a living God. We need a post abortion culture where people are not condemned or judged, but accepted and loved for who they are. It does not matter who you are, where you have come from, or how many abortions you have had, what matters is where you go from this day onwards. Healing and personal transformation is possible for any post abortive man or woman suffering after an abortion experience. But the ice of silence must be broken first. The walls of shame and guilt must be demolished and replaced by the love, grace, healing and mercy available with experiencing the life changing experience of forgiveness from God. Often, finding self-forgiveness is part of that experience.

Harassment, Bullying and Intimidation

Sharon was intimidated out of her book club by a culture that seeks to be silent about the pains and wounds of abortion. The book Forbidden Grief examines in details the unspoken pain of abortion from experienced counsellors with decades of experience. In 2008 I attended a pro-life rally at Methodist Central Hall in London. Some of the pro-life speakers were being silenced by a litany of people shouting, screaming and heckling the speakers to prevent them being heard. In many ways, the protestors underlying motives were perhaps a cry for help. But a culture of harassment, bullying and intimidation often goes with the culture of silence associated with abortion. A recent Oxford Students for Life debate was cancelled due to intimidating threats from students causing a cancellation of a venue. Student groups around the United Kingdom are threatened from their Student Unions with closure or restriction on the freedom of expression. Cognitive dissonance regularly features in abortion debates. The mind cannot hold two contradictory views at the same time and as a result experiences mental stress or discomfort. The evidence of the violence of abortion conflicts with the rhetoric and ideology of choice that many young people have been fed, causing mental anguish.

Media Censorship

In 1997 the Pro-Life Alliance sought to show a party political broadcast in the United Kingdom, but were prevented from doing so, because broadcasters thought it would disturbing or offensive to a large number of viewers to see graphic imagery. The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Pro-Life Alliance, but the decision was overturned by the House of Lords. R (Pro-Life Alliance) vs BBC was an example where a pro-life expression of opinion was censored for the sake of not offending viewers. The graphic reality of abortion must be hidden in order for the violence of child sacrifice to continue.

Orwellian Doublespeak

Euphemisms make a very common appearance in the abortion debate. The number of women who are effectively forced into abortion by a partner or relative in the United Kingdom is not insignificant. Yet ‘choice’ is the fashionable way to describe such a procedure to remove a ‘product of conception’ from ‘my body.’ Even abortion providers themselves are euphemistically named, because they are too afraid to use the ‘A’ word, because distraction is the name of the game. Just like the BBC case, smokescreens, obscuration and Orwellian doublespeak should be used, simply to avoid talking or showing the reality of abortion. So many women are lied to every year about the nature and development of their baby in order to proceed with destroying the life of their unborn child.

I have witnessed abortion providers waste police time by complaining about Christians peacefully and prayerfully witnessing about the injustice of abortion. The irony is that the majority of abortions in the United Kingdom are performed under a false premise and are technically illegal. Even Ann Furedi admits that under the present abortion law, women have to pretend they will have a nervous breakdown if they continue the pregnancy, and doctors pretend to believe them. Ad hominem attacks are a useful strategy in keeping the smokescreen fudging the reality of abortion.

Abortion is not without complications and ambulances are routinely called to abortion centres, to collect women wounded by botched abortions. A small number of women also die from the procedure. But these tragedies are rarely mentioned in the public sphere, along with the vested financial and ideological interests of abortion providers. Millions of pounds are made from ‘charities’ providing abortions. The irony is that abortions are provided on grounds on protecting women’s mental health, when the majority of medical literature details the mental health complications associated with abortion. Abortion providers routinely ensure that chaperones are separated from their partners in abortuaries, because it increases the likelihood of abortion. Marie Stopes in Buckhurst Hill won’t even allow chaperones in the building, but provides directions to where the local shops are on a sign outside the abortuary.

The practice of abortion in the United Kingdom lacks transparency. The law is routinely broken in a system that completely lacks scrutiny. Women routinely are not shown an ultrasound or picture before or after an abortion, and are lied to about the nature and development of the unborn child. Women are not told about all the risks and complications associated with abortion in complete detail. They are denied informed consent. And the child who is aborted is denied a proper burial – often discarded as a product of medical waste – sometimes to be incinerated rather than buried. “Choice?” Some women don’t know what they are choosing, because the truth has been hidden from them organisations given four figure sums to rip the unborn child from their womb and discard it in the waste. You can’t provide impartial advice when you are receiving four figures sums to provide an action.

A culture of transparency would help everyone to know exactly what abortion is by regularly seeing pictures and videos of the procedure. Women need to know all the facts and information about abortion and the full knowledge of the fetal development of their child. Dead babies need a proper funeral and burial. It is a corporal work of mercy to bury the dead.

Robert is the International Outreach Director for 40 Days for Life and you can read more of his blogs by checking out his website here.