Post-Roe America: Ever since Roe V. Wade First Struck at the Right to Life, America Has Been Sliding Down a Slippery Slope toward Infanticide, Euthanasia, and the "Duty to Die". (Cover Story: Abortion)

By Grigg, William Norman | The New American, January 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

Post-Roe America: Ever since Roe V. Wade First Struck at the Right to Life, America Has Been Sliding Down a Slippery Slope toward Infanticide, Euthanasia, and the "Duty to Die". (Cover Story: Abortion)


Grigg, William Norman, The New American


The very first time her mother met me, her green-eyed girl had been a mother-to-be for two weeks;

I was out of a job and she was in school, life was fast and the world was cruel, we were young and wild--we decided not to have a child.

So we did what we did and we tried to forget, and we swore up and down there'd be no regrets in the morning light....

From "Red Ragtop" by country artist Tim McGraw

Shortly after the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, radical activist Lawrence Lader recalled: "Only seven years ago when my book, Abortion, raised the first nationwide demand to make this procedure a Constitutional right, many TV and radio stations hesitated to debate the subject, or even mention the word." The word also remained unspoken in the 1972 film A Place in the Sun, in which a jilted pregnant woman played by Shelley Winters sought to abort a child conceived through an extramarital affair. Left-wing television propagandist Norman Lear can claim the dubious distinction of being first to use the term "abortion" in prime time, during a two-part episode of the sitcom Maude in 1972.

A generation ago, abortion was a subject confined to the dingiest periphery of American society, and even the most self-consciously "progressive" activists uttered the word reluctantly. Today, abortion is part of the warp and weave of popular culture, an experience so commonplace that it can serve as the subject of a chart-topping country and western song. It's difficult to find a better illustration of the way that the abortion revolution has reconfigured mainstream American society.

Tim McGraw, a multi-platinum-selling country artist in his mid-30s, describes his single "Red Ragtop" as a song "about real issues and things people have to deal with ... truly a slice of life." "The song reminds people of their lives, and that's what country is supposed to do," commented Dave Kelly of the Nashville radio powerhouse WKDF-FM in an interview with the Dallas Star-Telegram. "You wouldn't believe the amount of calls saying, 'That's my life--it reminds me of my ex-boyfriend.' Or their ex-girlfriend. People really relate to different aspects of the song."

Interestingly, the song--in which a man reflects on a failed teenage love affair--obliquely refers to abortion only once. It also contains the line: "You do what you do, and you pay for your sins...." The result is a studied ambiguity worthy of a focus group-tested political speech. "I think anyone who is against abortion will see the line, 'you pay for your sins,' as being against abortion," observed Becky Brenner, program director for a country music station in Seattle. "Anyone who is pro-abortion feels like the song supports the 'you have a choice' aspect of the controversy."

But this analysis misses a crucial point: The song's narrator fails to focus on what happened to the aborted child--the innocent party who actually paid for the young couple's sins. The song's story line treats the abortion as something that happened to the couple, rather than as a lethal act of violence ending a human life.

It bears repeating that the song under discussion is an example of country music, the soundtrack of middle-class, "Red Zone" America--church-going people generally conservative in their politics and moral outlook. As one station manager pointed out to Billboard magazine, the country audience typically doesn't "worry about their kids being exposed to what they would consider dangerous content." And with relatively few complaints, the country music audience made McGraw's melancholy paean to the "pro-choice" ethic a top-10 smash.

Lethal Lies

Thirty years ago, most Americans regarded abortion as an unspeakable crime; today, it is considered a legitimate "option," one that is exercised roughly 1.5 million times a year. Since 1973, America's abortion mills have slaughtered nearly 42,000,000 babies. …

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