“One may not go beyond a certain limit; to live is good, to want to live is human, but not at the expense of another’s death.” ~ Elie Wiesel: Messengers of God
I remember when abortion was made legal. There were restrictions, but at least we could say goodbye to the backroom butchers who often killed the mothers, too. Not that all abortionists are caring.
I remember the passing of Roe v Wade. I am Canadian so it had no real effect on me, but Canada has liberal views on abortion. We, too, no longer fear these illicit procedures.
And that is a good thing. We must not stand by and watch the blood of another be spilled. Back room abortions made society culpable for the death of these women.
But something has happened to our societies. In Canada and America. Perhaps it is the rise of entitlement; the era of all about me and my rights, and a loosening to the ties of responsibility toward others. I heard a pundit talk about self-regarding ethics when discussing abortion. He said that an abortion affects only the mother; hence self- regarding; only affects her, and has, I gather, no effect on the fetus, the father, or society. Really?
So I am going to share a story with you that took place almost 20 years ago. When I think about it, I understand those who talk about PTSD. You wish you could have, or would have, behaved differently or not been there at all because the memory brings back the same pain as first experienced.
I studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Toronto Hospital. It is the largest hospital in Canada in the most diverse city on the world. Of all the residents, I was asked to sit on the ob/gyn ethics committee where requests came for abortions. I have written about those. And like all the other Resident Chaplains, I attended to women and families dealing with abortion. I was called to meet with a family. It was a genetic abortion. Something was apparently terribly wrong with the fetus. Just to put these genetic abortions into perspective; my Supervisor, who was a Baptist Minister, told us of an abortion he attended. The parents were told the baby had no hands or feet. They agreed to abort. The baby was perfect. Oops. The baby didn’t make it.
I was called to a family and met them in a storage room. A baby was sitting on a shelf; on the metal shelf of a storage rack. A nurse was standing beside the shelf. The mother and father were standing several feet away. This was no fetus. This was a baby. And I stood there, near the parents, across from the nurse and the baby. And for a rare moment I was speechless. And I failed as a chaplain and as a woman and as a human being. I stayed with the parents. Quietly, until I felt it was time to leave.
And I relive this whenever the discussion about abortion reaches the boiling point.
Looking back, I’d like to think that had I not been in such shock I would have done the right thing. I would have taken the baby and wrapped her in her blanket, sat the parents down in chairs; there were none there, and handed that baby to them. To hold, to love, to keep warm. To pray, if that is what they wanted. Most I importantly, to tell the baby how loved she was and then say goodbye. I often wonder about those two young people. How they survived that horrible cold room and the baby on the shelf.
You can do that when the baby is not a baby but reduced to being a thing, that can be aborted third term, and now in America after birth.
We do not murder babies. We know this. We know that we must dehumanize a human being to murder her. We must turn him into a thing to even consider a late term abortion or death on arrival.
And this is what is happening in the West. We are dehumanizing our most vulnerable. It started with abortion. Limited in time. To unfettered abortion; a woman’s right to choose. How dare a man get involved? I don’t know; fifty percent of that child carries his genetic material? How dare anyone interfere with that precious right?
So let me tell you about another visit I made; to a family discussing death with dignity regarding the father. As I made my way to the room, I bumped into the doctor, who informed me, under no certain terms was I to interfere with the decision; the hospital needed the bed. Let me repeat that; do not interfere because the bed was needed. This, dear friends, is part of socialized medicine. The father was sitting up in bed, talking to his family, but it had been decreed, he was in need of death with dignity.
Death with dignity. And like abortion, the rules on death with dignity will be loosened, because we need the beds; because we will be taught that life is not sacred at all. Old people need to move on. Unwanted babies; well they aren’t human!
So, today, we listen to women demand that a woman has the right to abort a full term baby. Listen to this interview. This spokesperson can’t answer the question about post birth abortion. She is too busy fear-mongering.
That it is not the right of the society to say whoa-wait a minute. I mean, how dare you tell a woman she does not have total control over her body? She has the right to change her mind in Virginia after the “fetus” is born. Seems to me she could have made that decision 6 months earlier. And for those of you who talk about genetic abortion. Tell me, what would be wrong with giving birth and holding that child and saying goodbye rather than finding out that the abortion to which you agreed causes untold pain on the fetus, because it is sliced and diced to remove it, unless, of course, it is murdered first, and suffers terribly as well, and then the woman, with the right to choose, carries a dead fetus a few days and then gives birth.
This is a callous disregard for life. And Progressive women are demanding it. And I weep.
We need the courage to talk about abortion.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”