Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Wisdom of the Innocents

My introduction to the cruelty of life came at a young age. My two sisters and I were given three baby bunnies one summer which we named Petunia, Sweet Pea, and Tar Baby. For weeks we coddled our wee bundles of fluff, wrapping them in doll blankets, toting them everywhere we went, feeding them treats of grapes and peanut butter crackers. By fall, when we headed back to school, the novelty of our pets had worn off and they spent more and more time in their joint pen where they grew into adult rabbits who mated and gave birth. Discovering the new babies was not the Disney Experience you might expect but more of a Bunny Holocaust: The naked, newborn bunnies were tiny and perfect--right down to their miniature noses and eyelashes. And they were also bloodied and half-eaten; victims of their own witless, clueless mothers who greeted us with their usual enthusiasm, looking for treats.

Sometimes, it takes a child to give voice to what adults shudder to acknowledge. I recall a story from years ago, of a mother who had inadvertently left out a pamphlet of information on abortion that contained graphic images of aborted fetuses. Her toddler discovered the pamphlet and brought it to her mother and asked with a furrowed brow, "Who broke the baby?"

The little girl was too young to know that what she was seeing, human body parts, was "not actually a baby, but a fetus, a mere blob of flesh" torn from the uterus of a woman who did not welcome it. She was too young to know that a decision whether to "continue the pregnancy" was a "personal matter between a woman and her doctor." She did not know that human life is valuable and protected only when children are planned and wanted. She did not know that the country in which she lives is hotly divided by this issue of the Right to Choose, precluding any rights of personhood the child itself may deserve. She did not know that babies can be legally crushed and torn limb from limb out of their mother's bodies until the day they are due to be born, and it is not considered a crime. This little girl's brain was not muddled with political correctness. All she knew was someone had broken a baby.

Like this child, there is much I don't understand in our world. Just as I could not fathom a momma rabbit killing and eating her own young, I do not understand the female gender of my species. I do not understand women who fight for equality with men in every respect forgetting that they have an ability no man could ever possess--the gift to conceive, nurture, and bear life. Only a woman will ever experience the wonder of an unborn baby's hiccups or midnight gymnastics. Only she will know the thrill of pushing that person from her body into the world and hearing his first cries. It is a privilege that defies description! If it were only men who were lobbying for abortion rights, I could maybe understand--they might feign ignorance based on lack of experience. What could they know about the wonder of cohabiting the same body as another? And yet women, in defense of women's rights, are militant about permitting the choice of other women to kill their innocent unborn children. How can they not defend the tiniest, weakest souls among us who have no voice? How can other women turn away and stay silent? Where is the maternal instinct in humanity? Are we so cultured, so wise, so beyond something as base as reproducing other humans? Where is nurturing? Where is tenderness? Does this not go against everything that is sane?

Oh, that we would ask a toddler what is right!

I am convinced that any girl/woman considering abortion would think twice if she got to see what was really going on inside her womb. What if she could see that child opening and closing his fingers or sucking his thumb? Or what if live abortions were shown on cable TV channels just like other routine surgeries in reality programming? You know why they aren't. Abortions are not like any other surgeries and we instinctively know it! We want to keep things secret and private so the reality of the horror is known only to a select few which have somehow managed to override their own consciences. Today I watched an older movie clip on YouTube called The Eclipse of Reason. Charlton Heston gives the introduction and then a physician who formerly performed abortions talks the viewing audience through an actual abortion as seen through a fiber optics camera inserted into a woman's uterus. You see the child's limbs torn from his torso as blood fills the uterus. The 12 oz baby is extracted piece by piece and reassembled like a puzzle on a sterile tray to make sure they "got everything." I had to turn away in tears. I could not watch.

What will it take for people to see this "procedure" for what it is? Where are the mothers and why aren't they crying out against this horrid practice? Where are the doctors whose goal must be to preserve all life? We cringe as we hear accounts of ancient civilizations who tossed children into active volcanoes or sacrificed them on the fiery arms of stone idols. Oh, the horror of genocide and gas chambers and medical experimentation that we read about in history books and see on CNN. Yet our crime is worse! We clamor for animal rights and gay rights, and decry everything that smacks of discrimination in one breath; and then, in the name of human rights and choice, we allow hundreds of our children to be chopped to pieces every day for convenience and profit. How can we call ourselves an intelligent, civil society and why is there is no media and public outcry?

There is a murder trial currently taking place which ought to be the story of the century. A doctor and his staff are accused of killing countless infants who survived his abortions, and permanently maiming women in a Philadelphia clinic. Reading accounts of the charges against him, it appears the man is more a butcher than a doctor. Babies born living were beheaded and discarded without a thought. This physician's specialty was late term abortions. He joked about his victims--one whom was so far along (30 weeks)--he quipped, "That one was big enough to walk himself to the bus stop!" And it wasn't only babies that died at his cruel hands, but their mothers as well. Why isn't the rage first and loudest from supporters of "choice?" Surely this is not what Planned Parenthood and its supporters had in mind: A woman who bled to death because of medical negligence and others who were severely damaged and rendered sterile when they said matters such as these are every woman's right? And you must realize that half of all the babies aborted are also female...what about their rights?

Whenever debate about abortion comes up, there are always the exceptions that are showcased: What about rape and incest? What about when the health of the mother is at stake? I daresay these situations comprise a very small percentage of abortions performed every day. The more common scenarios are repeat procedures requested by women who have come to regard abortion as a viable form of birth control. You have to wonder why this is so since we continually inundate our young people with sex education and free contraceptives. Why is pregnancy the common "surprise" that it is? An unplanned pregnancy of any kind should be the exception rather than the hundreds that are terminated every day considering all the information and prophylactics we have at our disposal.

So here's the deal--I am actually pro-choice. Yes, you heard me correctly: I believe a girl or a woman should have a choice. She can choose to abstain from activities known to produce children, or she can take measures to lessen that possibility. Suppose, despite the best the pharmacy has to offer, she still finds herself pregnant? Good news--more choices: Pregnancy is a limited condition lasting only  nine months. To her advantage, there remains but a vestige of the shameful stigma once associated with a woman's unplanned pregnancy. Religious and secular organizations alike stand ready to offer women assistance with health care, emotional and physical support, counseling, even job training both during and after the pregnancy whether she chooses to raise her child or gift it to someone waiting to adopt. A woman has many choices with regard to her body and sexuality. Murder should not be one of those options.

To all the broken babies of the world--I am sorry. I am sorry for a culture that considered you a burden and not a blessing. I'm sorry that the warmth and comfort of the only home you ever knew was not the place of safety it should have been. I'm sorry there were no loving arms and smiles to welcome you into our world. My heart breaks for all you have missed; the middle-of-the-night cuddles, the sweet smell of baby shampoo on your downy heads, the fleecy-softness of baby clothes, the sunshine on your cheeks, the rattling purr of kitties, the first taste of ice cream. I'm sorry millions of us missed out on the chance to be your mommies and daddies. You did nothing wrong. You did not deserve this. Please forgive us. God help us.

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 This photo was taken in 1999 when a surgeon was operating on an unborn baby named Samuel whose gestational age was 21 weeks. The surgeon was correcting a hole in the baby's spine. You can see the baby reaching out his tiny hand and grasping the surgeon's gloved finger as if to thank him. Not a person?

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