• April 19, 2024

Late-term abortionist Warren Hern is secular materialism’s logical conclusion

 Late-term abortionist Warren Hern is secular materialism’s logical conclusion

Screenshot Washington Examiner

Last week, the Atlantic ran a piece titled “ The Abortion Absolutist ” that profiled Dr. Warren Hern, a physician who has specialized in performing late-term abortions for the past 50 years in Boulder, Colorado . Deftly written by Atlantic staffer Elaine Godfrey, who appears frequently as a character within the narrative but allows the story to speak for itself, the profile leads the reader on a dark tour of curiosity and revulsion. It raises far more questions than answers. And it left me in a cloud of despair.


A few highlights, or lowlights, as it were:

  • Hern admitted that at least half of the late-term abortions he’s performed over the past half-century were elective, meaning that there was no underlying medical condition in the baby or the mother. Abortion advocates regularly assure the public that late-term abortions of this sort are exceedingly rare, if existent at all. But here we have it from the horse’s mouth. Who knows how many thousands of these abortions Hern has performed? Again, he’s been doing this for half a century.
  • Early in his career, Hern removed a tiny heart, a still-beating heart, with his forceps. The image haunted him for a while, but eventually, he was able to overcome the stress because of the supposed righteousness of his mission. He saw it as his responsibility to “carry some of the emotional weight” with his patients.
  • Hern admits to having performed late-term abortions for sex selection. Again, this is the kind of eugenics-adjacent horror that cultural progressives will mock you for mentioning.
  • It turns out that Hern is a rabid environmentalist and population control advocate who believes that humans are a cancer on the Earth. Humankind, he’d said in a previous interview, is a parasite that “devours the ecosystem. … We are a super-organism on the planet that has all the major characteristics of a malignant process.” When confronted by Godfrey on the matter, Hern angrily waved off the question and snapped: “Being concerned about population growth is consistent with the idea of helping women and families control their fertility on a voluntary basis.”
  • Hern charges women $6,000 dollars for these operations, but he often pays for the travel expenses and lodging for out-of-town “patients” who struggle to meet the costs. This, apparently, makes him a real mensch in the eyes of admirers.
  • Hern is preoccupied with politics — he startled patrons in a bar by talking loudly about how much he hates Republicans during the interview. He also deeply hates Christians, whom he regards as “the face of fascism” in America today. He’s apparently read the Bible a number of times and particularly hates its command to breed. “That’s exactly the wrong advice,” he quipped. Through his work, he does all that he can to mitigate the supposed damage of human proliferation.

What left me in a state of despair wasn’t these facts in themselves — people like this have always existed and always will (unless, of course, they are successful in exterminating the human race). Instead, it’s that Hern is only an anomaly to the extent that he is willing to carry out secular materialism to its logical conclusion. If a human being is nothing more than a unit of consumption and production, if there is nothing inherently valuable and eternal about our nature, then it is perfectly reasonable to rip beating hearts out of wombs with cold, sterile forceps.

It must be said that Hern, unlike his more squeamish ideological comrades, possesses the courage of his convictions. Godfrey described Hern’s patients as taking comfort in his brusque confidence, and it’s easy to see why. His messianic self-certainty is the perfect balm for a conflicted heart in the middle of a crisis.

It’s impossible not to hold a sort of perverse respect for the man. In contrast with the many straight, white wokesters who’ve yet to resign from their prominent positions in government, media, and business so that a queer person of color might take their place, Hern possesses the uncommon will to enact a common worldview.

Hence, the despair. I’ve written at length about the need to eschew talk of “national divorce,” as well as the need for the pro-life movement to pivot toward birth affordability and other measures that promote life in all stages, but there are moments, such as when I read Godfrey’s piece, in which divorce seems inevitable. The competing value systems at play are fundamentally irreconcilable. There is no negotiation to be had between Hern’s views, which are simply the views of postmodern progressivism lived out, and the views of the other half of America. Late-term abortion for sex selection will never be acceptable, and yet it is currently allowable under the political platform of America’s ruling party. In their minds, the grotesque particulars of Hern’s professional life are mere embarrassments, not causes for moral alarm.

I want to see a way through this storm. But after reading “The Abortion Absolutist,” I can’t.


Peter Laffin is a contributor at the Washington Examiner and the founder of Crush the College Essay. His work has also appeared in RealClearPolitics, the Catholic Thing, the National Catholic Register, and the American Spectator.

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