Photo courtesy -PBS
I am fortunate to have known today’s guest blogger for many years. I met her when she was a preteen and have had the privilege of watching her grow up into a strong-minded young woman of faith and convictions. Now a college senior at a very prestigious university; she has stayed the course and held on to her roots and beliefs. She plans to use that foundation to serve God and others through pro-life family ministry. To say I am proud of her and her passion doesn’t quite capture the spirit of who she is. This is her second installment on this blog. I look forward to many more. Click here to read more from her.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.”1 Corinthians 3:19-20
Downtown Abbey, the PBS television series about turn of the 20th century life in the UK for the wealthy (and not so wealthy) just gave us a major pro-life victory!!!!
The victory is subtle, for sure. But make no mistake, within the context of this season’s story-line of Edith’s out of wedlock pregnancy, her pro-life decision makes a statement. Choice is still implied, but the victory is on the pro-life side. Edith chooses life!
Maybe at first as a pro-lifer, you are thinking, “No, why didn’t Aunt Rosamund discourage it more! Why must it even be considered by Edith? ” I do wish we never even considered sin, nor were tempted by sin. But this is a fallen world. “But you think I’m terribly selfish?” Edith asks Rosamund. Oh Edith. I believe it is you feeling convicted about your own selfishness. The secret is overcoming the temptation. And Cora’s advice to Edith echoes: “Everyone has bad thoughts, it’s acting on them that makes us bad.”
In discussion with her aunt regarding her choice, Edith’s states, “I am killing a wanted child.” A clarification needs to be made here…someone who is pro-choice might mentally identify with that statement…that it’s a child because it’s wanted, but that doesn’t make linguistic sense. If it’s a wanted child, that descriptive also implies it could be an unwanted child, yet it is still a child. Edith admitted that having an abortion is killing a child. Not only is it a baby, it’s a baby Edith chooses to let live.
This speaks volumes. As pop culture has the power to persuade, the message here is inescapable…a major pop culture show’s character made the RIGHT choice! Perhaps the show’s producers won’t realize how pro-life they are being! I can hear those producers now, “but we wanted to show what the view of the TIMES would have been, that it was a baby and was shameful.”
Still, it is impossible to entirely divorce our present time from the time being depicting on television or movies. Let’s think Mad Men, slightly more of a 21st century sexual depiction of the 1950s then say, I Love Lucy, which actually aired in the 1950s. Media is powerful. When media tackled abortion around the era of Roe vs. Wade, it was that abortion was a woman’s right, acceptable, freeing even. It is only recently that movies like Juno depict carrying the child to term as an act of a heroine, and movies like Ides of March showing the pain of abortion. Downtown Abbey, my friends, is a main-stream television show that admits that abortion is killing a child. And it’s a show that MILLIONS watch. PBS may not be intentionally portraying this, but make no mistake – The truth being heard! I am celebrating this big time.
Here’s the bad news: more and more women know it’s a baby and they still choose abortion. Edith almost did.
The message can’t stop at proving it is a child, we have to show why it hurts women to hurt their child.
Now pro-choicers will say, “Still, she had a choice. Edith had a supportive home environment, other people don’t get her luxuries of money and love.” But that very language says that other women DON’T have a choice. That abortion is THE ONLY choice a woman has given her situation. That is tragic.
Why should Edith, just because she is rich and loved, have the opportunity to choose life, but the poor can’t?
Sounds awfully discriminatory to me. Let’s work as a society to allow poor women resources and love to choose life too.
I have another question for any pro-choice readers: did you want Edith to abort? I’m not talking whether you thought she SHOULD, given her potential shame and circumstances, but did you WANT her to? Chances are you did not. We love Edith, I felt myself wanting desperately to hop into the screen and help her and give her a hug (Who wouldn’t want to be a character yourself!) Some part of you was excited that Edith was pregnant, admit it. Now, even if another woman has slightly different circumstances, any one of them could be Edith, in the sense of being a beloved character, one you very well could care about, despite all her flaws (and we know Edith has them too!), any woman who is considering abortion is just as special as Edith is to you.
And any woman’s potential “different circumstances” are minimal compared to the universals. Like Edith said, it is always killing a child. And furthermore, it is always painful. It is never a decision that doesn’t require thought. “I am killing a wanted child and you ask me if I’ve thought about it!” If it wasn’t a baby, if it was totally safe, if there were no true consequences-would you really be telling women to think long and hard about it? WHY should she think about it? Because it’s hard. And it’s hard, because it’s wrong.
Edith herself feels this and shows us her despair. “But I just can’t see over the top of this, I don’t want to be an outcast, I don’t want to be some funny woman…Sibyl (her deceased sister) might have brought it off but not me.” It seems as if she almost envies Sibyl’s strength. In other words, she feels she CAN’T have the baby she loves, given the circumstances. How tragic. Besides, it wasn’t the baby Edith was afraid of, it was the pregnancy. The shame of it. There isn’t a real difference between abortion and infanticide. It’s not just about avoiding the child, it is avoiding shame. If our society is so progressed, why isn’t that shame gone? It seems to me that Edith needs both our help and our grace.
So what made Edith change her mind? The whimpering cries of a woman who had done it (Finally media is depicting the pain!) and the realization of her eternal regret. She says “I can’t go back to the nursery, not with Mary’s son and Sibyl’s daughter waiting there. I can’t do that. I won’t be able to do that.” “Not for a while,” Aunt Rosamund replies. “Not forever I don’t think.” Wow. Edith is smart. She has great insight into the female heart. How can a mother, and yes any pregnant woman is already and will always be a mother, look at other children knowing that she had one too?! The regret, Edith realizes, won’t go away. “Not forever.”
Let’s look at another two of Rosamund’s lines. “I don’t know what I think except that I wish it were over.” Oh Aunt Rosamund. She wishes the problem would just go away. But it won’t. The abortion only drives it down deeper into shame and secrecy and regret. “Your whole life would be built on a lie” she warns Edith.
Then there is the line “As long as he is a doctor.” Let’s remember that butchers like the abortionist Dr. Gosnel still exist with legal abortion. And back-alley abortions, if abortion was made illegal, would still be rare. It looked as if the place Edith was at wasn’t as bad as it could have been, though still sketchy. If abortion was “safer” for Edith–if these regulations that pro-choicers fight every step of the way-were actually in place-then I would venture to say that may have only increased her likelihood of making a decision she clearly would have regretted. If she’d convinced herself it was safe (even though any type of abortion still isn’t), that is one more reason to talk herself into doing something that she fundamentally doesn’t want to do. Who in their right mind, if circumstances could support a child-would? If you support abortion for any reason, you are still admitting there has to be a reason.
A woman doesn’t just do it to do it. So let’s remove those terrible tragic reasons, and leave women with the ability to choose life.
You are connecting deeply with Edith through a TV show, how cool that media can do that! But now don’t stay there!
Go meet one of the 3500 Ediths today that will make a different choice tomorrow if they aren’t given the better choice.
Click here for more information of how you can get involved.