Friday, June 1, 2012

The gender abortion bill: And how to keep an old world from returning

The gender abortion bill fell short by 30 votes in the House of Representatives on Thursday, May 31st. A total of 246 members of the House voted for the ban on abortion based on gender, while 168 voted against it. As the Telegram reported: “The legislation would have made it a federal crime to perform or force a woman to undergo a sex-based abortion, a practice common in some Asian countries where families wanting sons abort female fetuses.” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said that this selective procedure is the real war on women. The author of the bill, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said that in the end people will know where the opponents of this bill really stand.

Thursday evening on the O’Reilly Factor, Laura Ingram was interviewed about the defeat of this bill. The host, Bill O’Reilly, and Ingram were aghast as to how far we have come as a nation. They reasoned that abortion practices based on gender discrimination (championed by Planned Parenthood) are eerily similar to China’s one-child policy. As you may know, under the compulsory one-child policy, most Chinese couples opt to abort female babies. This selective abortion procedure has created a seismic gender imbalance in many of its districts. And due to the aggressively enforced policy by the Chinese communist regime, demographic collapse like the world has never seen will cripple that country just when it will be poised to become the world’s economic power. It is not difficult to forecast that there will be too few workers to support the elderly population and to further sustain economic growth. In addition to being a sin against God and an egregious offense against the rights of the baby and the couple, in due time the world will see that such an anti-life policy will prove to be diametrically opposed to the nation of China’s best economic interests. Indeed, the best resource a nation possesses is people.

Back to the gender abortion bill: Of course, any abortion is intrinsically evil. However, what is alarming about the failure of the House to pass this legislation is that the practice of gender-based abortion doesn’t even make the pretense that such a procedure is for “reproductive health.” Rather, the motive to kill an unborn baby is manifestly one of convenience or preference. No need to justify it on the grounds of medical necessity anymore.

Gender-based abortions should not surprise us. After all, countless preborn babies have been aborted on the grounds that he or she has a developmental disability. That’s right. Downs syndrome babies are daily discriminated against in the worst way. Not all, but many doctors in prenatal care advise couples to abort their babies if they show signs of disability.

We should know by now that what happens in the womb does not stay in the womb. You may have read about the February edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics. In an article entitled, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva quite unabashedly argued in favor of infanticide. “What we call ‘after-birth abortion’’ they wrote, “killing a newborn – should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” The paper maintains that infants lack those properties required for the right to life to be assigned to them. In the absence of these properties, their worth is dependent upon the value a mother or anyone else may or may not assign to that individual. In other words, a new born baby is not a person, only a potential person.

The scary thing about gender-based abortion and so-called “after-birth abortion” is that it is justified on such arbitrary grounds. No doubt, when the dignity of human life is not respected from the moment of conception to natural death, then real people become expendable on any grounds whatsoever. The culture of death is polished and subtle. It insinuates itself under the guise of rights or compassion. It claims to want to relieve us of burdens. And surprisingly, it does not have to begin with a gunshot. Quite often, it begins in the medical institutions that were originally designed to save and improve life. Recall the words of Malcolm Muggeridge. He wrote about Germany in 1930’s and their Great Liberal Death Wish:

“What happened in Germany was that long before the Nazis got into power, a great propaganda was undertaken to sterilize people who were considered to be useless or a liability to society, and after that to introduce what they called ‘mercy killing’…It's not true that the German holocaust was simply a war crime, as it was judged to be at Nuremberg. In point of fact, it was based upon a perfectly coherent, legally enacted decree approved and operated by the German medical profession before the Nazis took over power. In other words, from the point of view of the Guinness Book of Records you can say that in our mad world it takes about thirty years to transform a war crime into a compassionate act.”

Christians have to be the first to learn and then explain what Christ means to civilization; and not only what He means to the individual soul, which, as we know, is the most important consideration. The Apostles were sent out by our Savior into a cruel and barbaric world. As the historian, Hilaire Belloc, said, “That in the realm of morals one thing stands out, the unquestioned prevalence of cruelty in the unbaptized world. Cruelty will be the chief fruit in the moral field of the Modern Attack…” It would seem that cruel world the Apostles and Church Fathers knew so well is beginning to manifest itself in the twenty-first century. Indeed, this modern attack- or what is commonly known as the culture of death –has many of the earmarks of ancient paganism.

For instance, gender-based after-birth abortions were practiced on a wide scale when Christ came on the scene. In 1 B.C., a man by the name of Hilarion had written to his pregnant wife, Alis. In the letter he wrote: “I ask and beg you to take good care of our baby son, as soon as I receive payment I shall send it to you. If you are delivered of a child [before I come home], if it is a boy, keep it; if it is a girl, discard it!” Christians called this baby-exposure and they condemned it outright. Seneca, a Roman philosopher and a consultant to the Roman emperor Nero, causally wrote about the discarding of abnormal children. He said, “We drown even children who at birth are weakly and abnormal. Yet it is not anger, but reason that separates the harmful from the sound.”

History teaches us, as demonstrated in ancient Rome and in Nazi Germany, that if babies are candidates for death, the disabled and the elderly will be too. And to be sure, if the rights of the mentally and physically disabled are not guaranteed by the State then nobody's rights are; even those who are politically disagreeable to the State. One thing does lead to another. This is what the slippery slope portends.

Enter the Mystery of the Cross: What Christ and his Church offers us is a worldview that encompasses the natural and supernatural order. Eternity gives light and meaning to every kind of suffering imaginable, no matter how useless and difficult it may seem. When our Lord gathered children into his arms, when he healed the infirmed, when he absolved penitent sinners, when he welcomed social outcasts and finally, when he was crucified between two thieves on a Cross, he revealed the dignity of every single human being regardless of their condition. And if, in fact, anyone should be a burden to society or, God forbid, to the family, he has, throughout the ages, inspired the Saints to give the highest of honors and the best treatment to such as these. This is how God is glorified. This is how the human condition is ennobled. The Lord of the Gospel is the same Lord in the Eucharistic. And the Lord in the Eucharist is the same Lord in those very people society deems to be a burden. When they throw them away, we, like the early Christians, gather them in.

As our world takes on the likeness of the old pagan world of yesterday, it is important to daily remind ourselves that the Mystery of the Cross is infinitely greater than the mystery of iniquity. But in order for the former to prevail over the latter, we have to believe that the power of God is best communicated through proclamation of that Cross. This is the remedy to gender-based abortions and to every kind of affront to human dignity. The willingess to sacrifice ourselves and the ability to see Christ in suffering humanity is the very thing needed to end abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.