Discordant Benevolence: Compassion That Harms

Discordant Benevolence: Compassion That Harms May 9, 2022

There is a post being proliferated on Facebook that lists different scenarios of women who “need” an abortion. It is a commonly used tactic to elicit an emotional response that makes sympathetic readers feel that women are helped by abortion.

The post starts out “I’m not pro-murdering babies.” (Dramatic pause until) next line: “I’m pro-Becky (whose unborn child has an “incompatible with life” diagnosis); I’m pro-Susan (who became pregnant from rape) and several other cases.

Abortion is made to appear in each case as a compassionate solution. It never is, though. Pro-life speaker Serena Dyksen wrote a point-by-point response explaining how to be truly compassionate with life-affirming solutions: https://www.facebook.com/sdyksen, May 5.

Dyksen was raped at 13 and taken for an abortion by parents who thought too that they were being compassionate, only for all concerned to suffer severe trauma. Millions of post-abortive women can offer similar testimony.

Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

Provide Real Help, Not a Phony Fix

This propaganda ploy of making abortion sound compassionate has always been the main argument of abortion advocates. They know that good people want to feel helpful, and thanks to the women’s movement, people particularly want to help women in crisis.

Long ago, I read an article by a man who, with his wife, drove a pregnant young woman across state lines to get a second-trimester abortion. They thought they were helping her out of a difficult situation.

It was a total surprise when she cried all the way home, sobbing: “I killed my baby!” They thought she would be relieved and happy. Too late they realized that she said she wanted an abortion but what she really wanted was a way to save herself and her baby.

What passes as compassion for the pregnant woman is not only misguided but selfish. Offer the quick fix—that she pays for and the abortion facility profits from—and she goes away leaving you feeling so noble for being nonjudgmental and sympathetic.

What’s really going on is that people don’t want the cost of supporting her. The pro-life commitment takes huge amounts of money to keep her in school, give her a job, pay her rent, daycare, medical costs, transportation and more.

What’s really going on is a case of situational ethics. Notice how the Facebook post started: “I’m not pro-murdering babies.” Not me! I love babies, BUT . . .  I would never have an abortion myself, BUT . . . .

The “BUT” results from people wanting a loophole. “Normally, I’m against abortion, BUT in this case” and “this case” turns into 63 million cases. People want an escape hatch in case they should ever find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy.

Remember Bobby C in Saturday Night Fever? He was so panicked about his pregnant girlfriend that he asks if the Church might give him a dispensation for an abortion. Right, you’re a special case. We can make an exception for you.

The Fifth Commandment says: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Period. Not: Thou Shalt Not Kill unless you are Bobby C, unless you’ve been raped, unless your child is disabled, unless—fill in the blank with whatever excuse moral cowardice contrives.

Love Them Both

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

All these “What if” hardship cases are a way of putting the attention on the woman and taking it off the child. That’s easy to do because the child can’t be seen—out of sight, out of mind.

There was once a pro-life commercial that showed abortion protestors with the caption, “When you talk about a woman’s right to an abortion”; the next picture shows a child in utero with the caption “Aren’t you forgetting someone?”

The woman certainly deserves our helpful concern, but can’t we love them both? How can women’s rights supersede that of the child? Aren’t they both humans worthy of civil rights, most importantly the right to life, as protected by law?

The Consistent Life Network newsletter recently reported on research studies that have found large numbers of Americans opposed to abortion who would still help a friend/family member obtain one. This twist of logic is called “discordant benevolence.” https://www.consistentlifenetwork.org/

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are helping a mother by killing her child.

If you are “not pro-murdering babies” then don’t murder babies. For any reason. Not by commission or omission. Don’t stand by and let it happen. Don’t ignore that it is happening. Don’t make excuses for it.

When it comes to abortion, there is only one thing to consider: No matter the circumstances of the mother, does abortion kill a human being? Science and the Catholic Church say yes

Don’t offer a permanent solution to a temporary problem. We can change the mother’s life, but we can’t change a child’s death.


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