This is something I've been thinking about all day, so here's hoping it comes out in some sort of coherent fashion.
I used to, among other things, be pro-abortion. I fully and whole heartedly believed that a woman could do whatever she liked with her body, and if she screwed up and the birth control and/or condom didn't prevent pregnancy, then she should be able to end it. In the semi-famous words of a politician, I didn't think that she should be 'punished with a baby' for a mistake. Especially if she had been raped, or the child had a severe birth defect, or it was a pregnancy that threatened her life. I even, God forgive me, stated that if I ever became pregnant and discovered that the child had Down's Syndrome or something along those lines, that I would have an abortion. For the good of the child, you see, because I didn't want to have the child and have him suffer. Yes, that was my reasoning. You can see that it was just a cover for my own selfishness. I didn't want to be burdened with anything less than a perfect specimen of humanity.
In my long (to my mind at least) journey to where I am now, I eventually understood that, flaws and all, a child was a child from the moment they were conceived. I can't really point out a specific point where I realized this, but the 'moment of conception' realization came when I was trolling around a Catholic apologetics board. I can't remember the specifics, but one of the poster's was relating an anecdote where a professor/scientist? was lecturing to a class. He was a guest speaker, and the discussion was on proving where life began. The hosting teacher drew a line on the board, with different points along it, starting a conception and moving on down. After the lecture, the visiting lecturer continued the line, adding later in life possibilities. Graduating high school, college, marriage, getting a tenure as a professor. Those sort of things. And the point he made was that aside from the moment of conception, all of those points, all of those moments where you could point and say 'life begins here' were arbitrary. And that clicked for me.
And, thinking about it, I myself am only here because my mother chose to have me. Why? I don't know, she doesn't talk about my father, and I don't ask, because I know that it's a rough subject. I just know that she was eighteen, barely out of high school, and pregnant. I know that her parents supported her, and helped her, and for that, for my life, I am grateful. My best friend, a woman that I love as my sister, is only here because her mother chose to disregard the advice of her doctor. She was old when she got pregnant, and her doctor recommended an abortion, as a pregnancy at her age could be complicated. She didn't, and I have Eve.
So I'm thinking of these things, and I read this post over at Ave Maria, a blog that I adore. She's so clear, so concise, and right:
Ave Maria Gratia Plena...: You're walking down the street one day with five friends and you see a woman being raped...
Because these are the arguments that you hear to support abortion, and what's to stop them from flowing over into other crimes? And people will say, well, that can't happen, because those are crimes, and an abortion is legal. But abortion is a crime, whether the secular law sees it or not. It was a crime for a lot longer than it's been legal.
And I flow from the legalizing of killing our babies before they're born, later and later in their little lives, to the mothers who kill their children after they've been born. We just now had a grand jury return an indictment on a mother accused of killing her three year old daughter.
Arrest in Caylee Anthony Case
How can a mother do that? And I can't help but think that it comes from us cheapening life. Pregnant? Doesn't fit into your schedule? Abort. It's not really a child, not really even human yet. It has nothing to offer society. How much of a stretch is it for a person, selfish and clearly damaged in some fundamental way, to reach the conclusion that her child is in her way? That the baby, toddler, preteen, teenager cramps her lifestyle? She wants to go out and party, but no, there's the kid to worry about. Well, what does a three year old offer to the world? Nothing. So it's okay to kill her, because then we can get back to doing whatever we like, when we like. I'm not saying that this is this woman's process, but I think it's something to do with it. We've told generations of people that their babies aren't really human, and that just devalues all life.
And where does this end? I'm afraid somewhere around here:
Ave Maria Gratia Plena...: And the evil keeps rolling in like a suffocating fog...
All life is either sacred and defensible, or it's not. And I'm afraid that this is where we're heading, more and more. I read this, and I remember by grandfather, who did so much to raise me. He died about ten years ago, from cancer, and toward the end, he was helpless. He was delusional from the pain, and the medicine, and he could do nothing for himself. But we took care of him. We had hospice in, and my mother and my grandmother and I all did what we could, which wasn't much. My uncles had the chance to come and see him, and when he died, he died at home, with my grandmother, with the woman that he loved. And it kills me to imagine someone saying to him that he was a burden! A drain on our family! He gave everything that he had for his family, for strangers, he was filled with so much love and kindness that I can't even begin to explain it. The least that we could do was honor him in his last days, keep him comfortable. He was worth more than any measure, from the beginning of his life to the very end.
And so must everyone else be, from beginning to end. And only God knows when that end should come. Not us.