The Nation's Pulse

A Matter of Life and Birth

Celebrity childbirth in the age of abortion.

By 6.23.08

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How does that old joke go? The bank manager calls Mister Green breathlessly to inform him of the crisis in his account. Green has a negative balance of one thousand dollars.

"Tell me," muses Green. "how much was in the account at the end of last month?"

"Two thousand dollars."

"And when that happened, did I call you?"

Sometimes if you want to keep the account you have to overlook the overdraft. In that spirit I offer congratulations to Jamie Lynn Spears on the birth of a baby girl. May she have your beauty and your accountant's brains.

Many social commentators use their pulpits to bewail the incidence of single motherhood, or fatherless childhood, or unwed couples parenting without contract. They are not thrilled with this fertility without civility, foundlings without foundings, chicks hatching outside the nest. They speak, wisely, of the value of two active parents. They speak, rightly, of the structures that establish society. They speak, finely, of the sanctity of connubial union. There is no room to quibble: the ideal circumstances of human birth presuppose what we quaintly call wedlock.

It may be a preconceived notion, but the wedding certificate does add gravitas to gravidity.

Still, each era to its error and each epoch to its epic. In our own day and age, the great moral battlefield is the arena of abortion. Here the war is not waged over nicety, over propriety, over decency, but over the awe for life itself. We must first succeed in inculcating the axiom that the being of the child is the mother's most sacred trust. We cannot impose a pro-life ration on proliferation.

Which brings us to a fascinating realization about Hollywood, where Jamie Lynn, nee of Louisiana, does and makes her living. Many pundits give show business people the business for being too showy, promoting self-indulgence and self-absorption. When some Goldilocks bears three without first building a home life, they see it as a fairy tale. If single girls bank on her account and behave this way, they will find they cannot support it with their own bank account.

The fact -- the rather startling fact -- is that Hollywood and its players have become the vanguard in the cultural war against the abortion of innocent life. Yes, you heard me right. I did say it and I can prove it. Think back and tell me if you can name the last Hollywood star or starlet who has terminated a pregnancy. That's right, you can't. Because they don't. Once the baby bump appears on the cover of People, the population bump is guaranteed.

How this came to be can be negotiated by a range of theory and speculation. The thing itself remains true. The geist of Hollywood is such that one simply does not abort. It is not the way to go. It is not done.

The content of movies may be less overt in its advocacy, but no less effective. Certainly last year's Juno, a sleeper hit nominated for Best Picture, was designed to make this case. The pregnant teenage protagonist is revolted by the callousness of the receptionist at the abortion clinic and touched by the sincerity of the sweet Chinese girl who stands a lonely vigil outside with her picket sign. "Your baby has fingernails." Enough said: the baby is carried to term and given for adoption.

In the 1996 film Citizen Ruth, both sides in the political wrangle over abortion were portrayed as too caught up in the political power game and not mindful of the plight of real human beings trying to navigate choppy waters. Burt Reynolds, as the head of a pro-life faction, and Tippi Hedren, as his pro-choice counterpart, both played way over the top as selfish egomaniacs. Although acid was being thrown at both sides in an effort to appear even-handed, the willingness to tar the voice-of-choice girls was astounding. In particular, the Swoosie Kurtz character, posing as a friend just to get the unfortunate woman to participate in a rally for abortion rights, was portrayed as thoroughly insensitive.

Give credit where it is due. The cadre of beautiful people whose gift lies in getting people to look at them has -- quietly, unobtrusively, by indirection -- taken over the cause of teaching the world that life, even when the titles and subtitles are out of synch, is always beautiful.

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About the Author

Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator.