The American Conscience and the Horror of Denial


Anonymous businesswomanJocelyn is in her final year at an Ivy League law school. Though she came from humble roots and didn’t enjoy the birthright of a silver spoon in her mouth, Jocelyn took a can-do approach to life. Valedictorian of her high school class, her establishment  as a 17-year-old of a hospice program in Charleston, S.C., geared specifically for the poor was a deciding factor in her acceptance to every notable university to which she applied. Perfect SATs and an IQ of 142 fast-tracked her for great things post-grad school. You can recognize Joceyln on campus by the designer handbags she indulges in and her winning smile. At 5′ 8″ and 118 pounds, the willowy brunette has the looks to match her intellect, as her offers from international modeling agencies will attest. Several of her professors remarked that with her combo of stunning good looks and brains, Jocelyn could write her ticket anywhere.

In contrast, Jessie didn’t make it past 10th grade, which was a disappointment to upperclassmen at her high school who expected the easy source of a good time to keep producing for another couple years. The hair color comes from a bottle, and the attitude is pure sass—pretty much the only thing pure about Jessie. Looking for more, she left her small town in Indiana and headed for the big city, where’s she’s a common sight in local bars and on street corners. Her weapon of choice is a pair of crimson stilettos she found on sale at DSW, and with her long legs and short shorts, Jessie attracts a lot of attention. Or she did. A couple face-busting fights with that guy who hangs around her, a meth bust or two, and some other hygiene issues have taken the luster off the small town transplant. You’d guess 40, but she’s actually just 26. And if you had to conjecture about her life trajectory, the angle is downward, with the streets looking meaner. The other day, she got bypassed up for a younger girl, with the man tossing off a “skank” after looking her way and deciding no.

Now if I asked you which was a prostitute, would you say Jocelyn or Jessie?

The answer? Both. Sure, Jocelyn’s clientele is more upscale and her prices higher, but law school isn’t cheap.

Which brings us to infamous abortion “doctor” Kermit Gosnell.

The New York Times blog ran a post called “What the Gosnell Case Doesn’t Mean.” I find it telling that the URL slug for that post is “what-the-gosnell-case-doesnt-tell-us,” a surefire sign that even the writer knew better. You see, anyone breathing knows exactly what the case tells us. Better that our enlightened betters now inform us of what that telling actually means. And so goes the media’s infatuation with its own moral brilliance, informing the great unwashed of meaning.

The only difference between Jocelyn and Jessie is the pretense we constructed in our own minds about the virtue of one over the other. Both women made their money selling their bodies to men. Strip away the settings and the details, and the outcome is the same.

The only real distinction between the Gosnell case and the typical abortion mill that escapes our collective judgment is the level of sloppiness.

The great lie of denial that happens every day in America is that seemingly rational people can’t bring themselves to be aghast at the Jocelyns of this world. Same for abortion. The abortion doctor in Beverly Hills is no different than Kermit Gosnell, save for a cleaner operation and better quality K Cups in the waiting room. The outcome is the same: Two people go in, and only one comes out. Context means nothing to the one who doesn’t leave alive.

That Americans, for the most part, can’t understand this is why The New York Times blog writer can get away with the denial he spews all over the monitor. By insisting that Gosnell is NOT the typical face of the abortion industry, he perpetuates myths and salves the conscience of a country. Vilifying Gosnell is our contemporary version of “one man must die for the good of the nation”–except we feel better about our choice over that of the Jews and Romans, because our scapegoat is so obviously guilty.

We tell ourselves how enlightened we are, that we can’t be fooled by mere facades, and then we declare our support for the “right to choose” and ask for Jocelyn’s number.

One thought on “The American Conscience and the Horror of Denial

  1. boethius

    “The horror of denial” – what an apt way to describe humanity’s weightless attempts at rationalizing abortion. “Planned parenthood,” “pro-choice,” “women’s reproductive rights” . . . the list goes on and on, all highly unsuccessful attempts to mask the insanity and horror of it all.

    The hand-wringing reactions of the cultural elite to Gosnell’s conviction remind me of a stiletto-stomping career woman four or five years ago who decided to abort 2 of the 3 children in her womb. Unsurprisingly even the “pro-choice” were shocked at her anesthetized disregard for the lives within her, yet I had to regard the disingenuous and absurd nature of their reactions with the same disdain that I regard the “what he did was terrible, BUT….” response to Gosnell’s conviction. Gosnell’s crimes are no more or less obvious or horrific than those of the college girls, the career women, the teenage girls heading to abortion clinics week after week, month after month, year after year. If there is any benefit to what Gosnell did it is that it has brought forth a mirror to humanity that it might now begin to look at itself, to consider that a holocaust by any other name is still a holocaust.

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