Where Chris Rock’s ‘Selective Outrage’ Missed the Mark on Abortion

Human Defense Initiative

This article was originally printed in Pregnancy Help News on March 27, 2023 and is reprinted here with permission.

In Chris Rock’s recent Netflix comedy special, “Selective Outrage,” the comedian went on nothing short of a disturbing tirade about abortion as he declared himself “absolutely pro-choice,” explained his view about the topic, and roasted both sides of the abortion debate. In this article, I’ll explore his various punchlines throughout the skit, the myths about abortion that were explicitly or implicitly addressed, where he got it wrong, and where he dropped a major truth bomb. 

All punchlines: *The fact this comedy skit exists*

Myth: Abortion jokes are funny

Truth: Before we analyze each section of this so-called comedy skit, I want to address the elephant in the room – abortion “jokes” are never appropriate or funny. Abortion harms both women and children and is never a laughing matter that should be downplayed or trivialized. In fact, trying to joke about abortion can lead people to become desensitized to the gravity of the topic, only furthering a culture that devalues life. 

Punchline: “Abortion is illegal in most of the country” 

Myth: Abortion is now illegal in most of the United States after the Dobbs decision

Truth: While abortion laws vary by state, even after the Dobbs decision, 29 states (at the time of publishing this article) have few or no limits on abortion, which is why the pro-life movement needs to keep fighting, and ensuring mothers are aware of life-affirming resources. 

Punchline: “A lot of people say, ‘Chris, you shouldn’t have an opinion about abortion. It’s a woman’s issue, and I’m like, ‘I’ve paid for more abortions than any woman in this room.” 

Myth: Men cannot have an opinion about abortion

Truth: Men can have an opinion on any topic, despite pro-abortion advocates often touting the slogan, “no uterus, no opinion.” Why? In addition to it being sexist to assume they can’t: 

1. Abortion affects men just as it affects women. In addition to slightly over half of all pregnancies involving a male child, men always have a right to speak against injustices toward any group of people – including those of a different gender, nationality, ethnicity, or even size, such as babies in the womb. 

2. It takes two to make a child. Each child has half its DNA from its father. 

3. Men also suffer from post-abortion stress syndrome, and fathers deserve to save their child’s life. 

Punchline: “When I go to the abortion clinic, I say, give me the usual. When I go in there, they give me a punch card – ‘here ya go.’ Two more, and I get a free smoothie.” 

Myth: Abortion is not a big deal, much like getting points toward a smoothie

Truth: Abortion IS a big deal and a decision that can have many life-altering effects.

In fact, abortion can have both negative physical and psychological consequences. Possible complications of abortion include infection, bleeding, damage to the reproductive organs, and in some cases, even death.

In addition, some women experience psychological distress, such as depression and anxiety, after having an abortion. Abortion can also lead to emotional distress for the child’s father, siblings, or other relatives. Abortion should never be equated to trivial things such as earning points toward a smoothie. 

Punchline: “‘Pro-life or pro-choice? What are you?’ I have two beautiful daughters, so there’s a part of me that’s pro-life because I’m definitely pro-their-lives. So there’s a part of me that’s pro-life, but since I love my daughters unconditionally – I love them not just as little girls, but I love them as grown women – I want my daughters to live in a world where they have complete control of their bodies.” 

Myth 1: Abortion laws are about controlling a woman’s body 
Myth 2: We must support abortion to love women unconditionally, otherwise known as “abortion is pro-love and pro-woman” 
Myth 3: Being personally pro-life is an option 

Truth: There is a lot to unpack in this section. First, abortion laws are not inspired by the urge to control women’s bodies but by the desire to prevent the baby’s body from being harmed or killed. 

Second, abortion is not pro-life or pro-woman. Abortion does not support women. In fact, emotional support, material assistance, and other life-affirming programs can be incredibly valuable in empowering women and are what women really need.

Women don’t need to be told to kill their children when life doesn’t go as planned; they need someone to love both them and their child. Loving someone unconditionally would mean helping them, not empowering them to participate in a risky procedure with both dangerous physical and mental side effects. 

Lastly, many people believe themselves to be “personally pro-life,” where they wouldn’t have an abortion but wouldn’t tell someone else not to. While it is important to believe in the value of human life personally, it is also important to recognize the impact that abortion has on society as a whole and to work towards creating a culture that values the inherent worth of every human life.

After all, the personally pro-life mindset only furthers a culture of death and is akin to saying, “I would never abuse my children, but I’m okay with someone else abusing theirs.” We must all take a stand for life and stop being only pro-the-lives-of-our-own-children. Abortion is wrong for you for the same reason it’s wrong for your neighbor – it takes the life of an innocent child. 

Punchline: “Because of that, I am pro-choice. I am absolutely pro-choice. I believe women should have the right to kill babies.” 

Myth: No one is pro-killing babies 

Truth: I often hear the arguments that “no one is pro-abortion” and “no one is pro-killing babies.”

However, Chris Rock just confirmed otherwise while dropping two truth bombs – abortion IS killing babies, and being pro-choice is believing women have a right to kill babies. 

Punchline: “That’s right, I’m on your side. I believe you should have the right to kill as many babies as you want. Kill them all.” 

Myth: Abortion should be available on demand

Truth: A society that promotes abortion has failed to provide real support to women. Rather than pushing women toward abortion, we should be working to provide them with the support, resources, and opportunities they need.

If abortion is readily available at any time and for any reason, it may be perceived as a simple solution to unwanted pregnancies rather than the termination of human life.

This mindset can also lead to abortion being used as birth control, which only further poses potential risks to women’s health. Frequent abortions can lead to complications in future pregnancies and negatively impact a woman’s physical and mental well-being. Abortion on demand also can harm society as a whole, contributing to the devaluing of human life and potentially even a decline in population growth.  

Punchline: “But let’s not get it twisted; it is killing a baby because whenever I pay for an abortion, I request a dead baby. Sometimes, I call up the doctor like a hit-man, ‘Is it done?’” 

Myth: Abortion doesn’t kill a baby 

Truth: The reality is that abortion involves the termination of human life, as Chris Rock admits here.

Scientifically, it is widely accepted that human life begins at conception when an embryo is formed with a unique genetic code. From that moment, the developing baby grows and develops inside the mother’s womb until birth. Abortion stops this process by intentionally ending the life of the baby. 

It is important to acknowledge the biological reality that abortion does involve the termination of human life. Denying the biological facts of what happens during an abortion is not accurate or productive.

Punchline: “People argue, ‘first trimester,’ ‘second trimester.’ I think women should have the right to kill a baby until it’s four years old. 

Myth: Abortion is not a slippery slope 

Truth: While the audience is at this point laughing at the seemingly obvious absurdity of such a statement that one would believe it’s okay to kill a four-year-old, we’ve actually seen that the acceptance of abortion has led to a slippery slope mindset such as this. For example, initially, abortion activists said they wanted “safe, legal, and rare” abortion, but now abortion activists argue for “abortion on demand without apology.’ We’ve also seen this push with pro-abortion laws.

What was once abortion up to viability is now abortion throughout all nine months for any reason in Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont. 

So, if we follow this line of reasoning through its inevitable end, one day, it may be legal to kill children outside of the womb too. In fact, pro-abortion scholars such as Peter Singer, Michael Tooley, and Jeffrey Reiman have shockingly defended infanticide because they claim infants are less valuable than mature adults. This is one of the many reasons we must fight against abortion and for equal rights for all humans, both inside of the womb and out. 

Punchline: “Try trimester, semester. I think you should be able to kill a baby until you get the first report card. ‘Woah, he ain’t ever getting a scholarship?!’ ‘Okay, you can finish watching Stranger Things, but when it’s over, we’re going to the clinic.’ ‘Hurry up; I’m trying to get a smoothie.’” 
Myth: There’s a difference between abortion and infanticide  

Truth: Despite abortion being legal in most states and infanticide being illegal across the board, morally, there is no difference. Both horrific acts take the life of a unique human being and should be frowned upon by society. 

Punchline: “I’m pro-choice. I’m pro-right-choice. I’m pro-good-choice. I’m pro-practical-choice.” 

Myth: Women should get an abortion because it’s more “practical” 

Truth: A risky procedure is never more “practical” than other life-affirming options such as parenting and adoption. 

Various forms of support are available for pregnant and new mothers, so while abortion may seem more practical at the moment, no one ever has to settle for abortion due to temporary circumstances.

From housing and financial assistance programs to parental leave, remote employment, and community resources, there are many ways in which society supports motherhood and can help a mother overcome the challenges that come with caring for their child.

Plus, motherhood provides a unique and priceless experience that cannot be replaced by anything else. The bond between a mother and her child is a special one that is difficult to put into words, but it is something that brings immense joy, fulfillment, and purpose into a person’s life. While raising a child can be challenging, it also provides opportunities for personal growth, learning, and development that are hard to replicate in any other aspect of life. 

Punchline: “Ladies, if you have to pay for your own abortion, you should get an abortion.” 

Myth: Women should get an abortion because they’re financially struggling or their partner is financially unstable 

Truth: Choosing to have an abortion based solely on financial struggles can have serious long-term consequences.

While it may seem like a quick and easy solution to a difficult financial situation, you should never get an abortion simply due to finances.

Financial struggles are often temporary and can be addressed with support. Seeking assistance from community resources and support groups, like pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations, can help alleviate the immediate financial burden and provide a path toward stability. In addition, abortion can have significant emotional and psychological effects that may last long after the financial struggles have been resolved.

Many women who have undergone abortions report feelings of guilt, regret, and depression. Not to mention, saying someone should have an abortion due to finances sends a message that the value of human life is based on financial status, which is not only morally problematic but also contributes to a culture that devalues human life and sees certain people as less than. 

Photo by Chad Stembridge on Unsplash

+ posts

With a love for Jesus and passion for politics, I was called to the pro-life movement.

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.