Time magazine ran a feature article on abortion some time ago. The cover was a Picasso-like painting of two groups of angry faces posed in grimacing confrontation.

That is not what abortion is about.

Abortion is not a war between two factions each capable of defending itself. Abortion is a war on children.

There are two sides, true enough, but only one side is doing any yelling. The unborn are silent and far from confronting anybody. They are the victims. The other group is composed of the victimizers, and it is not accurate, when you think about it, to characterize their attitude as belligerant; their activity is much too deadly for that. They go about their tasks calmly, professionally, sterile (sometimes) as to their physical environment, infinitely more sterile as to their mental environment and cauterized in conscience.

This is a war

So this is a war between the powerful and the powerless. The enemy in this war does not fire back. The enemy is not even armed. That is not the only difference between this and other wars.

-This war was not declared. It was legislated as if it were an improvement in human relations.

-This is not a war between nations. The enemy comes from every nation.

-This war on the defenseless runs concomitantly with the most massive “defense” spending in history.

-Its battlefields are hospitals, once thought as places of refuge from battle.

-Its generals are politicians, once thought of as peacemakers.

-It’s soldiers are parents and doctors and nurses, once thought of as protectors and healers.

-It is a silent war. It’s guns are needles and scalpels and vacuum tubes. Its victims seldom cry out (which does not mean that they do not suffer).

-The way soldiers kill is nothing to rejoice over, but this kind of killing is that of a madman. Its victims are torn limb from limb, or cut into pieces, or burned to death in brine, or strangles, or smothered, or left to starve.

-In “ordinary” wars the soldiers’ pay is the same regardless of the number of kills. In this was, soldiers are paid by the head, like bounty hunters.

-The number of fatalities in World War II, world wide, was some fifty million in six years. The number of fatalities in this war is the same, but in one year, not six. This, despite the fact that one such fatality is one too many.

-It is the longest war of this century, having lasted fourteen years so far in Canada.

-In other wars, somebody “wins” and the war is over. This war is to go on forever. It is a “new dawn” of freedom. There is no Interim. This is not the war to end all wars; this is the war which is itself, endless.

-The machinery for outlawing other wars is in a fledgling state. The machinery to outlaw this war has been in place for years; it is not being used.

What, then, is wrong? Why do we, as a society, act as we did in the face of Hitler’s? After all, in World War II there was a dearth of public information and several armies standing between us and the victims, which is not the case today.

Or is it?

Media are confused

Whatever else is true, there is an important question: What do we know of this war? What information is society getting? How does the press react to all this?

The answer is that the press ricochets from pretending that the war is not happening, to asking the wrong questions about it, to treating it as normal, casually advertising where and for what fee one may terminate the life of the war’s newest victim.

In the World Wars we have been used to (as if one could ever get used to them), the press coverage was phenomenal. Every day. Every front. Every angle. Every available scrap of information. Years later, of course, we begin to uncover the secrecy: the disinformation starts to trickle through, as when we find that the authorities knew about the coming bombing of Coventry, but said nothing for fear the Nazis discover that their code had been broken. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we eventually learn, had purposely been spared and conventional bombing so that, when they were hit with nuclear bombs, the latter’s effects could be studied without fear of ambiguity. But at least the press paid some attention to the fact that there was a war going on.

Not this war.

The press doesn’t even know who is at war. It thinks that there is a war going on between pro- and anti-abortionists.

John Paul II calls abortion an unspeakable crime. The press comes to long enough to report, “O, by the way, the Pope says that abortion is ‘an unspeakable crime.'” Joe Borowski, long life to him, challenges the federal government on the issue. That fact is reported, and after that it is really quite difficult to find out what is going on in the courtroom. Lots of space, however, is given to Michele Landberg’s personal attacks on Joe Borowski.

Personal bias vs. factual reporting

And that is the point. It is as if Hitler had managed somehow to get control of the Allied media in World War II, and contracept every effort to end the war by the way he reported it. “The Luftwaffe bombed Coventry last night. It is evident that the air force favours freedom of choice.” “Rommel wiped out another British division in North Africa. Montgomery dismissed Eisenhower’s concern as ‘controversial’, if not ’emotional’, and is reported to have hinted privately that Eisenhower was making a fetish out of the preservation of allied lives.” “H.M.S. Hood took a shell in its magazine today and sank in fifteen minutes. A photograph taken at the scene clearly depicts the shattered bodies of slain sailors and will not be printed as this paper to preserve its reputation for good taste.” “An authoritative source said today that Hitler characterized calls for a cessation of hostilities as the work of religious fanatics. It is reported that several people were pleased.”

This is what you get when the press says anything at all. For the most part it’s business as usual. Hatfield is or is not drunk at the Prince’s reception. Crosbie is or is not making progress in French. There is no war going on, or, if there is, it is irrelevant. It is faintly curious, however, that some people seem to be disturbed.