“Finally, a movie that makes abortion funny.”

By: Sr. Clare Hunter

The Washington Post’s Louise Melling wrote last week about how satisfying it is that a movie portrays abortion sympathetically and even comically. However, for me, other testimonials come to mind…

  • Joyce tells me that she keeps having dreams of her 30-year-old daughter. She is a beautiful young woman who smiles at her. It has helped ease some of the pain in dealing with the abortion, and she is wondering if this is a sign that her daughter, and God, have forgiven her.
  • A hospice nurse shared with me an experience of being at the deathbed of 85-year-old Lydia. The nurse realized that Lydia was not in physical pain, but emotional turmoil.  Lydia burst into tears and begged forgiveness for an abortion she had 65 years ago and never spoke about. After the priest came, Lydia’s body relaxed and she looked “radiant,” dying peacefully the next day.
  • I read a comment from Lea, who said:  As someone who worked at an abortion clinic for seven years, I find it now quite disturbing. Although I do not sit and scold girls for having it, I must say there is a lot about it we won’t tell you. I cleaned up a lot. The bodies of aborted babies got thrown in dumpsters pretty much. What really got to me was whenever I performed one, I could feel the baby twitch. Like a startled type of twitch. For years I didn’t think much until my daughter got pregnant at 14 and I performed one on her. When that baby twitched and got thrown away, I cried in secret for weeks. Those babies had nerves. My grandchild had nerves. They felt their heads being crushed. Now, respect my opinion as I will respect yours, but to me, that is murder. And no longer do I find it a choice someone can make because it’s their body. I no longer believe it is just their body. It’s someone else in their body. And I can’t bring myself to support it. My daughter committed suicide five months later.[1]

I get it. I actually understand why people want to make us laugh about abortion. The articles, blogs, and reviews about the upcoming romantic comedy, “Obvious Child,” are correct. If one in three (the number is actually more like one in four[2], but I see the logic in making it seem like “everybody’s doing it”) women have an abortion,[3] then there are a countless number of mothers in our country who are living with the reality of ending the life of their child. That also means there are equally that many fathers whose sons and daughters were killed. Should we mention the grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters? Regardless of the religious, political, and socio-economic backgrounds, there is nowhere we can go, no family, no relationship left unscathed by abortion.  That is too much. It is too painful, overwhelming, and inconsolable.  In the unbearable guilt, grief, and fear, it makes perfect sense to do what I — what we — do best. Desensitize.

sad-man-and-womanIn our fallen nature, what should shock us, make us uncomfortable, and repulse us usually becomes entertainment.  From Circus Maximus to public hangings, the crowds cheering at the guillotine of the French Revolution to reality television, we are experts at normalizing the profane.  A phenomenon studied and theorized for centuries; people continue to need psychological and physical outlets to deal with horrible, inhumane behavior and deep woundedness.

Secretly, we seek that macabre pleasure of knowing that someone is more “messed up” than we are. But the answer cannot continue to be desensitizing through entertainment.  In fact, what we need is more sensitivity. The mother and father who chose abortion do not need levity to deal with their tragedy. Whether there is guilt or regret — now or later — they will have to face the reality of their decision to end the life of their child, just as all of us have to face the wounds we incur in our lifetime. I believe that by desensitizing ourselves to painful situations and the consequences of grave immoral choices, we become incapable of knowing true selfless love and honesty. As relationships of love are based on sensitivity, what becomes of a culture desensitized?


[1] Gurl.com, 90% Of Women Who Had Abortions Felt Relieved (2013).

[2] Guttmacher Institute, Fact Sheet: Induced Abortion in the United States (2014).

[3] The Daily Signal, In ‘Obvious Child,’ Abortion as Comedy at a Theater Near You (2014).

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