I received this blurb in my email this morning. It is written by an amazing woman named Elisabeth Elliot . Her writings and teachings shaped much of my early adulthood life. I still go to her books when I am struggling with just about anything because she always leads me back to the Bible and the foot of the Cross. For some reason, I have recently had Terry Schiavo on my mind. Any way, when this came up this morning, I decided to post about it because E.E. says quite eloquently what I have wanted to say on this issue of “right to life”.
I am not sure of the date of this news report she mentioned, but I think the message still comes through.
Another moral threshold was crossed when a tiny baby boy, at the specific request of his parents and with the sanction of the Supreme Court of Indiana, was starved to death in a hospital. “Infant Doe” (he was not allowed the usual recognition of being human by being named), born with Down’s syndrome and a malfunctioning esophagus (the latter could have been corrected with surgery), died, as the Washington Post (April 18) stated, “not because he couldn’t sustain life without a million dollars worth of medical machinery, but because no one fed him.” For six days the nurses in that Bloomington hospital went about their usual routines of bathing and changing and feeding all the newborns except one. They bathed and changed Baby Doe but they never gave him a bottle. Over his crib was a notice, DO NOT FEED. Several couples came forward, begging to be allowed to adopt him. They were turned down.
What went on in that little box during those six terrible days and nights? We turn our imagination away. It’s unthinkable. But if I were to think about it, and put down on paper what my mind saw, I would be accused of playing on people’s feelings, and of making infanticide (yes, infanticide–call it what it is) an “emotional issue.” Let me suppose at least that the baby cried–quite loudly (at first). One report says that he was placed in a room alone, lest his crying disturb others (others, perhaps, who were capable of helping him).
Joseph Sobran, in his column in the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, suggested that “opposition to infanticide will soon be deplored as the dogma of a few religious sects who want to impose their views on everyone else.” The language sounds sickeningly familiar.
There has been a conspicuous silence from those who usually raise shrill protest when other human rights are violated–the rights of smokers, homosexuals, and criminals are often as loudly insisted upon as those of children, women, and the handicapped.
The handicapped? What on earth is happening when a society is so careful to provide premium parking spaces to make things easier for them, but sees no smallest inconsistency when one of them who happens to be too young to scream, “For God’s sake, feed me!” is quietly murdered? It is in the name of humanity, humaneness, compassion, and freedom that these things occur, but never is it acknowledged that the real reasons are comfort and convenience, that is, simple selfishness. “Abortion not only prefers comfort, convenience, or advantage of the pregnant woman to the very life of her unborn child, a fundamentally good thing, but seeks to deny that the life ever existed. In this sense it is a radical denial not only of the worth of a specific life but of the essential goodness of life itself and the Providential ordering of its procreation” (R.V. Young, “Taking Choice Seriously,” The Human Life Review, Vol. VIII, no. 3.)
But weren’t we talking about infanticide and haven’t we now switched to abortion? The premises on which abortion is justified are fundamentally the same on which infanticide is seen as civilized and acceptable. What Hitler used to call eugenics is now called “quality of life,” never mind whether the life in question happens to be the mother’s or the child’s. Death, according to three doctors who put the issue out into the open in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1973, is now considered an option in the “treatment” of infants; in other words, a mortuary may now replace the nursery. One cannot help thinking of the antiseptic “shower rooms” of the Third Reich, where the unwanted were “treated” to death. Nor can one forget the words of Jesus, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40, KJV).
Can any Christian argue that the smallest and most defenseless are, by virtue merely of being too small and too defenseless, not His brethren?