Pop music today is almost all nightclub bump-and-grind, with little focus on what can happen on the morning after. But there are some exceptions.
The popular all-girl Christian-rock trio BarlowGirl has a brand-new album out with a song about the emotional pain women frequently experience after an abortion. As much as musicians since the Sixties have been hallowed as sensitive souls with a unique vision to diagnose our societal ills, few in the music world have ever wanted to address this tough topic. The three Barlow sisters — Alyssa, Lauren, and Rebecca — worked on this song for two and a half years to try to get it just right.
The song “Tears Fall,” from their new album Love and War, is a piano ballad, written from the viewpoint of a woman regretting her abortion. The song begins: “I have had the same dreams many times, it haunts my mind / It starts with a light, but it ends every time / Oh so many faces that this world will never see / A reason for your life, but your heart will never be.”
BarlowGirl laments the broader picture of a society that values the woman’s right to “choose” without really acknowledging the nameless, faceless victims of that choice: “Oh what have we lost because we chose we’ll never know / And loving You is better than feeling alone / And all our claims to freedom have become these heavy chains / And in the name of rights, we keep filling nameless graves.”
Sometimes, there’s regret from the father, too. The last memorable pop song about post-abortion regret came twelve years ago with the big Ben Folds Five hit “Brick.” Folds wrote the song about his own life experience in high school taking his girlfriend for an abortion. He wasn’t trying to be political, he said. He was just trying to describe the sorrow. Whether abortion is legal or illegal in this country, every abortion should be a cause for sadness. “She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly,” he sang.
The song tells his tale of rolling out of bed on the day after Christmas to sneak around to get an abortion without parents’ finding out. He didn’t want to be responsible: “Can’t you see / It’s not me you’re dying for / Now she’s feeling more alone / Than she ever has before.”
Pain-filled songs aren’t for every woman who has an abortion. Certainly some experience only relief, and show no remorse or regret. But many women experience guilt, and some really suffer over a lifetime. Abortion advocates are slow to acknowledge that the “choice” of abortion is often a very close call, made under pressure from the father or friends or family members.
Even the “pro-choice” activists are being forced to acknowledge the need for post-abortion counseling, and are creating their own support groups. One participant in a “pro-voice” program called Emerge told a blunt story of how the father of her child didn’t acknowledge her feelings at all, only pressed her to follow through on having her “procedure” done. Depression followed.
“I fell into a very severe depression. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t sleep. I got down to 100 pounds and could barely take care of my kids. I searched all over for a post-abortion support group with no luck. I couldn’t believe that I was the only person struggling. I had a previous abortion at age 21, and it wasn’t this hard. It didn’t seem like a ‘baby’ to me at that age. But after raising two children I know now that I really did lose a living being inside me.”
The new song from BarlowGirl emphasizes not just the pain that comes after the abortion, but also the possibility of forgiveness. The chorus pleads: “May our tears fall down, let them soften this ground / May our hearts be found, God forgive us now.”
How refreshing it is for anyone in the music industry to bring a caring, lifelong perspective into an overnight, casual-sex world.
–Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center.