There’s a disgusting genre in our rabidly pro-abortion media that’s intensified since the Supreme Court struck down federal prohibitions on laws protecting an unborn baby’s right to live. It involves finding some sad, stressed mother whose child escaped the abortionist’s pincers, and getting her to tell the internet she wishes that inconvenient, needy, PlayDoh-chucking toddler didn’t exist — or at least that her life would be a whole lot easier without it.
It’s a clear ploy on the media’s part to convince readers: See, this — these things, these messy children — is what happens when you don’t let women get abortions! None of the parties involved seem to care that those sticky-fingered toddlers will someday be teenagers with internet access, able to see every word their parents griped about them.
On Monday, The Guardian ran a column by a woman named Amanda Montei, who compared the sacrifices of motherhood to… a high school incident when a boy on whom she had a crush took advantage of an opportunity to sleep with her in a plot “concocted by his friends” and then “never spoke to [her] again.”
Complaining about her toddler daughter’s dependence and using grossly sexual language to describe the child’s very natural physical needs and curiosities toward her mother, Montei issued her conclusion: “I came to see that the basic tenets of rape culture run through our cultural expectations of American mothers.”
Montei doesn’t explicitly use the word “abortion” in the passage, but she preaches the foundational message on which abortion activism depends: that it’s not fair to mothers for their children to make demands on them, especially inconvenient ones. In her last sentence, she mourns “what I hadn’t known before consenting” to becoming a mother. What she would have done if she had “known,” the reader is left to wonder.
A month earlier, The Washington Post dropped a nearly 6,000-word feature about Brooke and Billy High and their twin toddlers, coldly titled “An abortion ban made them teen parents. This is life two years later.” (It followed an earlier article from the Post about the family, which thoroughly documented Brooke’s attempt to get an abortion. “This Texas teen wanted an abortion. She now has twins,” that headline read.)
In her carefree life before it was interrupted by the girls’ existence, Brooke was “gearing up for real estate school, enjoying long days at the beach with her new boyfriend,” the Post explained. When she got pregnant, Billy “wanted her to get an abortion” at first, he admitted to the Post. But since “she could no longer get an abortion in Texas,” Brooke had no choice but to keep her daughters, who were born “six months later.”
The girls deserve better than to have the whole world read that their mother wondered to a reporter, “If I would have had the abortion…” They deserve better than to feel guilt about their own existence, told by some reporter in Washington that if they weren’t alive, their father could be “Skating every day. Partying at night. No worries.” They don’t deserve to have their parents’ discussions of divorce publicly displayed in a national newspaper. But the editors at the Post don’t care, because the moments when the twins’ parents find them inconvenient are helpful to the outlet’s favored narrative. (To Brooke and Billy’s credit, they’re trying to make things work, with no help from The Washington Post.)
There are plenty of other examples, and many of the headlines follow a similar pattern.
“She Wasn’t Ready for Children. A Judge Wouldn’t Let Her Have an Abortion,” reads one from The New York Times Magazine. The author writes about a woman named Giselle, a mom of twins, who tried to obtain an abortion as a minor without parental consent in Texas. The story records her pro-con list for the decision:
“Cons: Killing something growing inside of me. Guilt. Constant guilt from others. Pros: Continue life without being pushed back. Freedom.”
Once the court denied Giselle’s attempt and she had the babies, her frustrations with raising them are described in words that are haunting to read as a stranger, let alone as the unwanted children.
“Sometimes, she was haunted by images of smothering them with a pillow or chucking them across the room,” the article states. It ends with Giselle undecided about whether to keep custody of her children or let a friend’s parents raise them.
Media outlets exploit these families’ stories to advance an agenda that suggests a child’s value is linked to how much his parents want him, or whether his existence provides enough happiness to outweigh the sacrifices his life requires. They are hoping, even goading the struggling parents to communicate, as troubled actress Lena Dunham put bluntly: “I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.”
Some women cut out the middleman and write the articles themselves. In 2021, Merritt Tierce wrestled in The New York Times Magazine about “The Abortion I Didn’t Have.”
“I didn’t abort the pregnancy I didn’t plan, but I did have to abort the life I imagined for myself,” wrote Tierce, who has since become a pro-abortion activist. She admits that she’s afraid of the effect on her son of “this idea that working for access to abortion is so important to me because it’s exactly what I didn’t have when I got pregnant with him.” But that fear doesn’t stop her from publicly recounting in great detail just how much his existence threw off her life.
She also admits to later having two abortions after the births of her son and his younger sister, and says she doesn’t regret them. “I have strong and loving relationships with both of my children now in large part because I didn’t have those other children,” she wrote.
Can you imagine hearing from your mother: My relationship with you is better because I killed your siblings?
Another woman, all the way back in 2003, wrote in Elle Magazine about her process of coming to a decision to abort her second child, largely because her first had taken such a mental, practical, and financial toll.
“It was difficult getting out of the house with one. Even going to the grocery store felt like packing for a camping trip,” wrote Lauren Slater. “Two baby bags? Two different-size diapers? At $12.44 a box?”
Imagine reading that your mother offed your sibling because you went through too many diapers! But it gets worse — as if to help justify her decision, Slater included her then-1-year-old daughter’s proclamation that she didn’t want a sibling, she wanted “a fox” instead.
It will surprise no one to learn that Slater later wrote in graphic detail about how, as a married mother of a middle schooler and a high schooler, she was engaging in a lesbian fling with her daughter’s science tutor. (Those tutoring bills might be better spent on a therapist!)
It causes nothing but pain to children for parents to air their dirty diapers — er, laundry — to a national media audience. Sometimes it’s women running to news outlets, begging to air their familial grievances for clout or sympathy. Equally as often, agenda-driven publications find a struggling family and bake their challenges into a pre-ordained narrative with no regard for the family’s privacy or dignity. Still, shouldn’t some core maternal warning light go off when a New York Times reporter knocks on your door and asks to shop your motherhood woes out to their readers?
I hope the children griped about in these stories never feel unwanted, never read these cold stories in which they are unwilling pawns. I hope as they grow up, their kitchen tables and bedsides host loving conversations with parents who use the stories of hardship to teach lessons about the value of sacrifice and unconditional love.
Lots of parents who found themselves with an unwanted pregnancy have stories of gratitude for the “inconvenience” that became their greatest blessing. Those stories, lovingly told, convey to a child his preciousness and worth. If these children are going to read stories about themselves on the internet someday, those are the ones they deserve.