A day after tears were shed in “a tough conversation” on racism and the use of the “n”-word on ABC’s morning show, The View, the ladies avoided a real, albeit also tough, conversation on abortion on Wednesday’s show. The topic came up as a sidebar to a controversy caused by co-host Sherri Shepherd’s interview with a black Christian magazine, Precious Times.
During the interview, the born-again Christian joked about wanting to “save” Jewish View leader Barbara Walters. She apologized on Wednesday for a joke gone wrong.
She also addressed another comment in the magazine, the revelation that before her conversion she “was sleeping with a lot of guys and had more abortions than I would like to count.”
On the show Wednesday she explained that as a result of the abortions, she “suffered from a lot of shame and guilt.” She told the audience: “I wanted everyone to know that not everyone’s perfect. Some people do it more than once. . . . I had had a lot of abortions. . . . I didn’t know how to forgive myself.”
Shepherd said that she met a woman during that time who said to her, “Sherri, when you get to heaven, all your babies are going to be there to say ‘Hi Mama!’”
“I knew that Jesus had forgiven me.”
Co-host Joy Behar replied how “interesting” it is that “very few people actually tell about the abortions that they have had. Because society puts a lot of shame on it.”
Whoopi Goldberg ended the segment insisting no one judge Sherri. “As long as you talked to God and you worked it out with God, who are we to say anything else?”
Can we back up a few lines here? Shame and guilt? If abortion is but a neutral moral choice among others, what’s to be ashamed or guilty about?
It, of course, isn’t neutral: It’s bad, and people suffer because of it. Pro-life conservatives, of course, talk about how “women deserve better” than abortion, talking openly — often as women who themselves have had abortions–about how they regret their abortions. Abortion may have a good grip on the Democratic party, but Americans don’t like abortion and women who have had them are never the same — even if self-styled “women’s groups” like the so-called National Organization of Women have little or no interest in the problems of women traumatized by abortion.
Michaelene Fredenburg, author of Changed: Making Sense of Your Own or a Loved One’s Abortion Experience and creator of the Abortion Changes You outreach program (abortionchangesyou.com), agrees with Behar’s “shame” assessment. She tells National Review Online: “The rhetoric that surrounds abortion often prevents people from reaching out to their friends and family for support. A very touching aspect of the discussion was how Sherri’s co-hosts listened to her experience. She shared how she felt ‘guilt and shame’ after multiple abortions and her co-hosts did not dismiss or deny her feelings. It was a good example of how we can start broaching these sensitive subjects in a compassionate manner.”
She adds, “I am sure that many men and women who watched this segment could relate to Sherri due to their own or a loved one’s abortion experience. I struggled for years after my own abortion, as did my parents and other family members. It was a relief to learn that we weren’t alone and that we could turn to each other for comfort and support. I was also grateful to discover after-abortion healing resources that helped me find peace.”
Unfortunately, the women of The View barely scratched the surface of this pain before the discussion was shut down. If the chick show that comes on before the soaps on a weekday morning can’t discuss abortion honestly, who can? Especially coming a day after Tuesday’s emotionally raw but honest discussion about race, the abortion conversation that wasn’t on Wednesday’s View was a lost opportunity. Can we have another View?
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.