What is the pro-life second-victim narrative?
Here at #NotAVictim, we want to put an end to the “second-victim” narrative for aborting moms which most pro-life organizations perpetuate to some degree.
This narrative declares that every abortion has two victims: the baby and the mother.
Mothers are portrayed as victims for a variety of reasons:
- The potential for bad physical side effects to her from the abortion: complications in surgery, bleeding, cancer risk, infertility problems later in life, etc.
- The potential for mental/spiritual effects: depression, suicide, fear, etc.
- Pressure she receives from family, friends, or the baby’s father.
- The way the abortion industry is profiting from her abortion and/or giving her a false narrative.
Some organizations focus on this by pushing this narrative nearly exclusively while others are more subtly influenced by it.
Can you show some examples?
Of course we can. Here are several examples of the second-victim narrative in action.
What’s the big deal?
We hear many objections to our message that women are not victims of their own abortions.
- Abortion is a difficult decision, we should have compassion! Do you hate women?
- Why can’t you leave well enough alone? We are all on the same side aren’t we?
- We should focus on fighting the big bad abortion industry (the real killers) together rather than nitpicking things like this.
- Abortion is bad for women too and not just the babies. By the way, it sounds really mean to talk like this about women who we are trying to reach.
We hear you, and most of us at #NotAVictim have been right there with you in the past. BUT our thinking has changed.
We understand that the content on this site is unpleasant and jarring to the senses, and can take time to process when you’ve been hearing an opposite message for so long. We hope you bear with us and consider what we’re saying!
It does matter and here’s why.
Why does ending the “second victim” narrative matter so much?
- The “second victim” narrative is one of THE major roadblocks to passing state legislation which guarantees equal protection, equal justice, under the law to pre-born human beings. Pro-life legislation is so heavily influenced by this narrative that even in states which are overwhelmingly dominated by pro-life politicians (Oklahoma and Texas for example), bills which would establish equal justice under the law for babies are actively rejected and killed BY pro-lifers. This is done because women who get abortions are viewed as victims who should never be prosecuted for any involvement whatsoever in the killing of their children. They are believed to be “second victims” of the crime rather than perpetrators of it. See the video below for a clear example of this in Texas.
- The “second victim” narrative is false, and makes it more difficult to present a clear Gospel message to actively-aborting or post-abortive moms. If a woman is counseled that she is a victim who needs healing rather than a sinner who needs saving, she is not likely to understand her need to repent (turn from her sin and acknowledge her offense against God) and put her faith in Christ (and His sacrifice to redeem sinners so that they might be reconciled to God and receive forgiveness). If the choice of participating in the premeditated killing of her son or daughter is the evidence of her victimhood, it cannot also be a choice for which she will be held personally responsible by God. God does not hold victims responsible for the crimes perpetrated against them. We want women to acknowledge their sin and and be reconciled to God, receiving His forgiveness. We want to see women turn away from their sinful desires to abort their children to Christ OR be completely freed from the burden of their sin if they have aborted in the past. (Check out these post-abortive testimonies to see how God redeems sinners!)
Let’s take a closer look at examples:
This well-known pro-life advocate declares that abortion is never empowering and happens when women feel weak.
#NotAVictim begs to differ. It depends on what you mean by “empowered.”
Abortion is definitely NOT empowering women to care for their children or to do what is good instead of evil. Abortion does not empower women in any kind of good or morally upright way. In this sense we could say abortion is never empowering.
However, abortion DOES empower women to put themselves first.
- It empowers women to be able to choose career/educational advancement, financial security, or simply convenience OVER the very real responsibilities of motherhood.
- It empowers women to eliminate lifelong connections to men they don’t love through children they don’t want.
- It empowers women to maintain the bodies they love (their own) by eliminating the bodies they don’t (their children).
These (and many others) are common reasons why women choose to abort their children AND they are reasons that women do feel empowered by abortion.
While abortive women do indeed feel weak in some cases, many others state publicly that they feel abortion is empowering and gives them control in situations they otherwise feel are out of their control. They express confidence and feelings of power in their decision to abort.
This woman, for example, is very clear:
Let’s look at another example
This one hits at a very common belief about women who abort their children, that they believe they have no other choice.
Is it true that most aborting women believe they have no other choice?
No, it isn’t true. We say this without hesitation.
It may be true that some women don’t rejoice in getting abortions or want to celebrate like the women shown on this site do. Women may have feelings of sadness or fear related to their abortions, they may be receiving pressure from friends or family, but very few actually believe it is their only choice. Women are not as naive and ignorant as that. When women are making choices about abortion it often sounds more like this:
- Should I keep my baby OR my boyfriend? He doesn’t want a kid.
- Should I keep my baby OR my fit body? Bye bye baby, gotta look good.
- Should I keep my baby OR my reputation? Dad’s a pastor you know…
- Should I keep my baby OR my freedom? Babies are a lot of work!
- Should I keep my baby OR my lifestyle? I don’t want to tell my husband about the affair.
- Should I give up my baby for adoption OR kill him/her? I could never give up a child I carried for 9 months.
- Should I keep my baby OR stay on track at school/work? I have dreams I want to accomplish!
These, are the types of choices women are often making. They are assessing their options and choosing the option they believe is best.
Most women in America know that there are options. They have heard of adoption and they have met single mothers before. If they are churched (which the majority of aborting women claim to be) then they are almost certainly aware of the existence of Pregnancy Help Centers. Simple internet searches, if a woman is looking for options, will turn up many resources from both religious organizations and state agencies which assist moms in a variety of ways.
The main problem isn’t ignorance or lack of options (though it is good to provide assistance to moms who need it).
Many women choose abortion, not because it is the only option available to them, but because it is their preferred option. It is their CHOICE.
We have dispelled the narrative, that women feel they have no other choice, again and again on this site by sharing comments made by actively-aborting women and post-abortive women as they discuss their abortions.
Here are a few examples:
Not only do women make many comments about the decision to abort being their preferred choice even though they knew there are other options, but often they express excitement and joy about being able to abort (see more about that here). Comments like this are exceedingly common when you get outside of the groups of women who have come to pro-life organizations for help either during their pregnancies or for post-abortion counseling afterward.
What do you want then?
We at #NotAVictim, work to debunk the false second-victim narrative because we want equal protection and equal justice under the law for pre-born children.
As long as we insist on viewing women as victims of their own abortions, there will be no justice for their babies who are the victims of premeditated killing.
It’s that simple.
You cannot establish justice for the infant victims of abortion while simultaneously denying to prosecute the perpetrators.