Yesterday, the Washington Post published a story about a spokesperson for a Satanic temple in Detroit who went through an abortion and then went public with the experience.
Despite the nature of the content itself, which those with a formed conscience will find unsettling, as I read through the piece, I kept discovering traces of unexpected hope.
More than anything else, the admissions of the woman who calls herself Jex Blackmore and wears an upside-down cross around her neck revealed to me that God can shed light anywhere, and that truth eventually will be called forth, even in the most unlikely of places.
Let me take you through the article and what jumps out at me as hope-filled.
One of Blackmore’s first public admissions about discovering her pregnancy was that she was “both mother and unmother.” Let’s set aside the unmother part for now. I would speculate it means that she does not feel up to being a mother and the responsibility it inevitably carries. But even before that, she says she is “mother.” You can’t be mother to a clump of cells, only to a human being.
The reporter goes on to say that Blackmore’s public admission was different than other post-abortive stories that have been shared recently. While it, too, “addresses the social stigma directed at women who have abortions,” Blackmore “focuses on her pregnancy before undergoing the procedure, along with the physically painful and emotionally jarring reality of the abortion itself.”
Despite Blackmore’s atheistic, anti-God convictions, I have to say at the very least, I found myself heartened to see her humanity, in her wanting to be real, to not just be inclined to speak to an agenda, but to be human in what she has just experienced; something less than joy-filled.
I’m certain she speaks to many who face and have lived through abortion when she expresses her frustration about the emphasis on the choice of abortion at the expense of helping women understand what the procedure actually is, and does.
As she gets raw in these couple of quoted lines, I can’t help but feel the shackles of many post-abortive women breaking loose: “They tell you every woman’s experience is different,” she wrote on the day of her abortion. “What a s— way of skirting around it.”
Here, she seems to have discovered the reality that women are victims of a great, widespread lie, and that it’s not right.
Blackmore told the Post later that she was “kind of taken aback and surprised by the complexity of what I was experiencing” even before having an abortion.
Which isn’t surprising. We don’t tell women the truth. We only tell them they’ll be unbound. But through Blackmore’s experience and words, natural justice seems to be crying out.
“We’re always talking about choice,” Blackmore told the reporter. “In that conversation, the woman almost gets forgotten. It’s not part of the psyche of the argument.”
I would suggest that we have been purposefully avoiding talking about the experience as a society because we fear what it will reveal. So instead, we bypass the heart of it all and focus on the decision itself and the golden “right” that comes with it; how it empowers women.
And yet, it doesn’t appear that Blackmore felt liberated.
In fact, when she learned of her pregnancy, she set aside a project that had involved much research for abortion-access advocacy. Why? She realized that she had “unexpectedly become the theoretical woman I’ve thought so much about.” A new life inside her changed everything; her theoretical work had become personal. As a result, her focus necessarily changed.
A few days after her abortion, as The Post notes, Blackmore wrote about returning to work and how she felt “like such a liar.” “Telling everyone my Thanksgiving was nice and quiet, I spent it at home. Apple pie was great, very relaxing, and so on – bleeding throughout every conversation.”
Bleeding throughout every conversation…silently, alone…
We don’t often hear about what happens after abortion — the pain, the sadness, the discomfort. No, it’s a silent hell that is entered, according to women I’ve talked to, which only exacerbates the trauma. Instead, we focus on how noble it is for us as a society to offer it; how freeing.
And yet, recording thoughts from her first day back to work post-abortion, Blackmore lamented, “I wish I felt as refreshed as everyone looks. I can’t exercise, can’t drink, can’t have sex, can’t sleep…”
From what I hear from post-abortive friends, Blackmore’s troubles likely have only just begun.
I am heartened, however, by the fact that in her admissions, the rest of us are able to enter into her suffering, even if from afar; to feel compassion for the humanity within her.
Let me be clear. I in no way admire Blackmore’s convictions and work. Anyone who would disparage the Lord of Life in any way is no friend of mine. And yet, she is a child of God at her core. Maybe her soul has been compromised. But the innocent child who was formed in her own mother’s womb remains in some form.
Blackmore says she doesn’t want to debate the morality of abortion. According to the article, for her, the decision was “simple and without doubt.” To which I would say, yes, for someone who has carved out a reputation speaking against God, Christians and life, and spent months researching abortion-access laws, this would seem the set course.
But even as she contemplates this, perhaps she will see that it is not the possibility of motherhood that has stifled her, but rather, the path on which she has trod, which has left her without much of a choice at all. On some level, I sense her grappling with this befuddling reality. And in that, there is hope.
It’s Blackmore’s own admission, however, that speaks most clearly: “The abortion procedure for me was painful and kind of horrible for me personally.”
I do find The Post’s surmising here interesting: Blackmore’s revelation at being “surprised by the intensity of the social stigma she instinctively felt while pregnant and planning an abortion, and the lack of information available as she navigated the system.” The intensity of the social stigma she instinctively felt while pregnant and planning an abortion. This indicates an internal experience; something she was perceiving. But was it “social stigma,” or perhaps, as one of my post-abortive friends has described it, a deep sense of natural injustice because of what was actually happening: the plotting of murder of an innocent human being?
The article continues, noting that Blackmore “was doubting her decision to have an abortion.” But wait. Didn’t Blackmore earlier say there was no doubt in the decision? Apparently, things did not end up being as straightforward as she’d initially thought.
And so, in her pre-abortion angst, she began seeking answers to what she might go through during and after the procedure. She was looking for reassurance, solid information, to help her move through what was next. But she came up unsatisfied, finding the materials available to “counsel” women pre-abortion lacking, leading her to have “to push to get information on the details of the procedure and what she would experience from the clinic itself.”
Blackmore concluded that “there is a greater need for a conversation and understanding and support for women who are pregnant and planning an abortion, from the community at large…And that includes among the ‘pro-choice’ movement.”
The pro-life community has been, for years, trying to disseminate information about what abortion actually is to abortion-vulnerable women, so that they can make a truly informed decision, and not one they might regret. Blackmore’s realizations are convicting.
A few “facts” didn’t correspond with what I have heard from the post-abortive community; namely: “One recent study indicated that 95 percent of women who have an abortion ultimately feel it was the right decision.” Since around 95 percent of the people I’ve talked to regret the procedure that claimed their child’s life, I would be inclined to look deeper. But that’s for another column, perhaps.
Also interesting, Blackmore mentioned being encouraged by most responses to her written revelations, including those from men. And yet, the mantra, “my body my choice” that we’ve been told excludes men’s opinions doesn’t seem to jive with this. In fact, abortion does affect men. Half the responsibility (sometimes more) for the unintended pregnancy goes to them; half the new person contains their DNA.
Apparently Blackmore has found a new mission out of the whole thing, with plans to transform a current website for the purpose of offering support to those inclined to have an abortion.
One can only hope that when women read Blackmore’s account of the “painful and horrifying” experience that could be in their futures, it will be enough to scare the bejesus out of them and compel them to change their minds.
We can also pray for Blackmore’s conversion. God can do anything, after all, even illuminate the mind of one who insists he isn’t real. It’s happened before, many times, and will happen again. Praise him!