Domestic Violence in the Womb


(photo: Shutterstock/Paul Looyen)

In 1933, then-Bavarian Minister of Education Hans Schemm delivered the following message to an assemblage of university professors: “From this day on, you will no longer have to examine whether something is true or not, but exclusively whether or not it corresponds to the Nazi ideology.”

These professors of education were told they should no longer dedicate themselves to searching for the truth of things, but to serve the Nazi Party with unquestioning commitment. Something “higher than truth” had been discovered, though it would eventually plunge the world into a nightmare of unprecedented proportions. Could these professors be called educators in light of this order?

For St. Paul, “The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). Truth serves everyone, indefinitely; the Nazi Party ideology serves no one, and for a very short term. The dethronement of truth is like a deliberate blindness, putting everyone at a disadvantage.

“The most drastic symptom of the dethronement of truth,” wrote Dietrich von Hildebrand, “is the way that contradictory opinions are accepted in submission to the command of the politburo [government]” (The New Tower of Babel). We are naïve today if we think that truth has been restored to its proper seat on the throne. Human beings remain foolish, and what they deem progress is often foolishness writ large.

There has been much publicity in recent months concerning professional athletes found guilty of domestic violence. Various leagues have now adopted policies that respond to such incidents categorically, swiftly, aggressively, punitively and decisively. Domestic violence is considered intolerable and reprehensible. But is it, in all its various forms, according to some groups?

The National Organization of Women may applaud the world of sports for taking such decisive steps to punish and curtail incidents of this abominable crime, but is it not guilty of the very same crime — and even in a far more egregious way? The word “domestic” refers to the home, where, supposedly, life should be protected from harm. The U.S. Constitution promises to “insure domestic tranquility.” On the other hand, Carolyn Graglia makes the case, in her book Domestic Tranquility, that feminism, given its assault on marriage and motherhood, has robbed women of their surest source of fulfillment, which is in the home. Are secular feminists all that enamored by things that are “domestic”?

Let’s free truth from its contemporary straightjacket and see the unvarnished truth about abortion. It is, though mainstream feminists would sharply disagree, an instance of domestic violence.

Abortion is a violent act, almost always resulting in the death of an unborn child, who was in the domestic care of his mother. It is violence in the home, in that domestic circle that unites an unborn child with her mother.

In “The Vengeance of the Flesh,” a chapter in G. K. Chesterton’s book Eugenics and Other Evils, the author refers to abortion as “the mutilation of womanhood and the massacre of men unborn.” This is strong language and evokes the image of Herod and his slaughter of the Holy Innocents, but it is not untrue. It is, these days, surely politically incorrect — although it is philosophically accurate. But strong language of this nature means a robust appetite for reality. The lie cannot illuminate.

Those who support life do so because they support truth. Domestic violence, as a meaningful expression, is not confined to men against women, but includes all violent acts committed under the umbrella of domesticity, including mothers against their unborn children.

An ideology — and the “pro-choice” movement marches under the banner of an ideology — must eliminate some element of truth. Ideologues indulge a cafeteria-style approach to life: Some truths are acceptable; others are not. Ideology is a checkerboard of truth and error. Therefore, ideology is more restrictive than a consistent philosophy.

If people see abortion for what it is, an instance of domestic violence, they are more likely to see its reprehensible character. They are more likely to see abortion as an offense to women as well as an offense to the unborn. Integrity of thought in this case rests on integrity of language.

If language is false, the perception of reality will be correspondingly false. The first victim in any war is truth. Yet truth is invincible and will not remain indefinitely bound by any ideological straightjacket. Its emancipation may be slow, but it is inevitable.

Donald DeMarco is a senior fellow of Human Life International and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.