This week, The Washington Post published their second profile concerning Brooke, Billy and their twin daughters, a young Texas family who gave birth after deciding not to get an abortion before the Texas Heartbeat Act was implemented.
In Part 1, the Daily Citizen highlighted ways the apparently objective article furthered an implicit, pro-abortion argument. In Part 2, we’re tackling some insights the piece gives into the pro-abortion worldview — and how Christians can respond.
A Window into The Pro-Abortion Worldview
This article can’t be understood without recognizing that it prizes the mother’s freedom over all else, including preserving life. As discussed in Part 1, the piece implicitly argues that Brooke’s life would be better if she had gotten an abortion. Based on the kinds negative anecdotes recorded in the article, the article argues Brooke’s life would be better because she would have more independence and mobility — she could pursue her education and career ambitions, leave her house when she wants, pursue hobbies and romance, and rely less on her husband.
It can be easy to assume that people intuitively prioritize life above other values because our culture expects, and generally validates, that people go to great lengths to protect the lives of themselves and their loved ones. This article, however, suggests that that pro-abortionists likely prioritize the autonomy over the physical life of her child. By identifying what pro-abortionists are protecting at the expense of life, Christians can more effectively understand and rebut their arguments.
The prioritization of the mother’s desires permeates the article’s other themes, including the described dysfunction between Brooke and Billy. The way the article describes the couple’s relationship betrays a deeper, more pervasive secular idea that women are solely responsible for their fertility and children.
The story is largely told from Brooke’s point of view, which gives readers access to her inner thoughts. When she’s upset with Billy, we see the argument from her perspective. When she makes a mistake, we understand the hurts and traumas that led her to act poorly.
The article portrays the consequences of having unplanned twins falling squarely on Brooke’s shoulders: She’s the one who’s cooped up at home with the kids while Billy “leaves her alone with the babies” (to go to work). She’s the responsible one who cleans up Billy’s messes. She’s the one who receives judgement for being a young mom, while Billy receives approval for being an involved father.
In contrast, Billy is introduced unfavorably to readers. When we first meet him in paragraph two, he’s described as watching T.V. instead of watching his daughters. Throughout the piece, Billy episodically stops paying attention or gets distracted distracted by T.V. and videogames (paragraphs 2, 5, 17) and lets Brooke do all the parenting (17, 72). He’s also frequently described as an inactive or dismissive husband (23, 37, 38, 61, 98) and accused of “checking-out” other women at least twice. Of the piece’s nine-and-a-half pages, only two are written from Billy’s perspective.
Any parental responsibility he feels or contributions he makes are largely relegated to the middle and end of the article — places many people will never read:
In paragraph 16, we discover that he works as an Airforce mechanic to support his family and, in paragraph 61, that enlisting was his idea. Billy first positive interaction with his daughters—bathing them and making them laugh—is mentioned paragraph 20 and readers learn he wants a son in paragraph 123. The first indication that Billy loves Brooke comes in paragraph 32, and we have to get to paragraph 77 to learn he loves being a dad.
As Christians, we know that parenting and family-planning should be a joint venture between mothers and fathers. We affirm the indispensable value of both parents in their children’s lives. We also know mothers and fathers often make huge sacrifices to provide for their children’s well-being. When engaging with the pro-abortion worldview, Christians should be aware of this potential imbalance and be ready to elevate and engage fathers as a vital part of the family.
Most fundamentally, the article doesn’t recognize the intrinsic value of a preborn baby’s life.
“At the center of the abortion debate,” the piece reads, “is the question of how an unwanted pregnancy, carried to term, reverberates through the lives of those directly involved.” This statement doesn’t question if the preborn baby is alive; instead, it places the baby’s value entirely in the hands of its mother. If the baby is “unwanted” by the mother, its life has no value and it’s not afforded the right to live.
It can be easy for Christians to feel they can change a pro-abortionist to a pro-lifer by showing that a preborn baby is, in fact, alive, because it seems so obvious to us that all lives deserve human rights. This article shows, however, that some pro-abortionists do not believe that all lives are created equal. In these cases, Christians need to focus on showing the lives of mothers and their pre-born children are equally valuable, instead of doubling down on the science.
The Christian Takeaway
As it is, the Post’s article tells the story of an embattled couple stripped of their youth and saddled with children they did not want. It highlights the cracks in Brooke and Billy’s relationship and the destructive actions of their daughters.
Christians might pick up on a different narrative. One about a young couple, faced with a difficult and tempting decision to end their daughters’ lives, who chose to save them instead. One about a young mother who sacrificed her independence and personal comfort for for her children and, when faced with isolation and despair, found a way to pursue a career and make friends. One about a young father who voluntarily left a carefree life of skateboarding to enlist in the Airforce and support his wife and children. One about a young couple who remain committed to each other despite overwhelming adversity.
One about a couple that love their children and couldn’t imagine their lives without them.
Parenting is a monumentally difficult journey, even with Jesus as its center and foundation. How much harder must it be for parents to make life-preserving decisions and prioritize their family when they are surrounded by secular voices telling them there’s an easier way out?
Brooke and Billy’s life, presumedly without a relationship with Jesus, is a painfully clear example of how necessary He is in our hearts, marriages and families. As Christians, let us never forget to minster to and pray for those that are suffering through life with a broken family or unexpected child without the help of Christ, and for those who don’t know that God has a plan for every life — even the “unwanted.”
Related articles and resources:
If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and want to learn more about your options, you can visit My Choice Network here.
When you need someone to talk to about your baby, or whatever else you’re going through, we’re here. Please reach out. 1-800-A-FAMILY.
Photo from Shutterstock.