Sunday, February 17, 2008

Picking a side

I wrote this, a couple of weeks ago:
66 British Babies Survived Abortion - All Were Left to Die Without Medical Aid

A report by the British government's Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) noted, in the fine print in a footnote at the bottom of the page, that last year sixty-six "foetuses" [a government euphemism for un-registered people] survived attempts to kill them by abortion. In 2005, after an early report on this topic by a doctor at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester, Dr. Trevor Stammers of St. George's University Hospital in London, said:
"Despite all attempts at emotional neutrality, the heart does not work that way when you get a baby in front of you that colleagues on another floor of the same building would be trying to keep alive."

I've been writing and researching and lobbying in the areas of bioethics, abortion and biotechnologies for some years now. I thought I had got past the phase of being able to be deeply upset or disturbed by what I read and write about. But in the same story, I discovered that there is a standing protocol for British doctors who, when having accidentally delivered a live child instead of a dead one in a "botched" abortion, the doctor may inject the child with a chemical that will stop its heart.

When I read that, I froze and could not move for a moment. That one got under my shielding.

There is never a point at which one is unmoveable. Human beings cannot become so calloused as to be insensible. It is recorded that those involved in the killing in the German T4 euthanasia project in which disabled children and other vulnerable patients were killed by lethal injections, gassing and starvation, went slowly mad. Drug and alcohol abuse rose significantly among staff and they began to display bizarre psychological and behavioral problems.

I have observed that there are three things we do to psychologically to try to shield ourselves from the reality of abortion:

The American position: partial denial. This is the position of most American legislators. From these you will hear most often the line, "I'm personally opposed to abortion but..." You will hear people like Hillary Clinton saying that abortion is a "sad" or "difficult" decision and that it can be "tragic". They regard it in much the same way as heart disease or road accidents, or possibly drug addiction, as though it were a mostly preventable phenomenon.

The Canadian position: Complete denial. This is the position of almost all feminist abortion activists whose position is to deny the existence of an unborn child and to refuse to address the issue. These people mostly refuse to engage in debates with pro-life apologists. Their position, if it is ever articulated, is that there is no child. There is nothing in the womb before birth but "tissue". A growth, analagous to cancer. (I've never been able to figure out where they think children come from...perhaps the stork). Therefore abortion is a purely innocent medical procedure that spares women mostly social and economic hardship. They look upon it, essentially, as cosmetic surgery that cures a tragic disfiguring disease. This is also the position of the Canadian government and legal system that literally denies the existence of a child before birth. Cases in the Canadian courts have stated that the child before birth does not exist, and is merely a part of the woman's body.

The British position: No denial but a forthright assertion that a child exists and is of no inherent value before or even after birth and can be killed at will by parents with the help of the publicly funded medical system. This is the position advocated by leading utilitarian philosophers of medical ethics of our time, Peter Singer foremost among them. Because it resolves certain emotional problems of the abortion debate, this third position is slowly growing in popularity among abortion advocates, particularly in Europe and in the academic world and among the more highly educated feminists (cf. Naomi Wolfe who asserted that it is dishonest to deny the existence of a child, but that in order to maintain the gains of the feminist movement, women must be given the right to kill their children under limited conditions). It is a complete reversion to the position of the pre-Christian pagans who saw no particular sacredness or value in individual human lives. Only in those human beings who were properly and legally recognized by the state or their families were granted what we understand in our Christian-based philosophies, as human rights, personhood. In Roman society, as in many others of the ancient world, there was no concept of "inalienable" human rights and the parents had the full right of life and death over children. An unwanted child was simply killed without any moral or legal qualms. This third, and most advanced position, seems to be the one held by the legal and medical authorities of the United Kingdom.

Except for Britain, in most national medical jurisdictions, the possibility of the child surviving an abortion is simply not dealt with directly, depending on the level of denial of the legal and political cultures. This situation lasted in the US from the legalization of abortion until the recently passed legislation that mandated that an abortion survivor must be cared for as any other living premature child.

In Canada, there is no such legislation being considered because in that country, there is no law at all regarding abortion. Canada is in one of the deepest, darkest and quietest wells of denial imaginable. To the Canadian medical establishment, there is no child at all and what comes out of the woman during an abortion is nothing more significant than an unwanted appendix.

But Britain brings the issue to a new and unprecedented level of barbarism. They admit that there is a child and that the intention of abortion is to kill a child. Therefore, when a child who is slated for abortion lives instead, the child is summarily killed. The British health authorities had no need for any equivocation or hesitation. No compunctions whatever.

The only note of hesitation that I saw in connection with this, is that it is generally acknowledged that most individual doctors have some difficulty carrying out the British directive.

It is something of a hobby between myself and my Canadian colleagues to send each other news items about abortion or euthanasia or embryo research from our respective countries. We are having a contest to show which country is furthest gone into darkness. Until I saw this item, we were more or less at a draw. But with this one, I think I pulled my country far out ahead in the running.

But the idea is an interesting one that there is no way, as this doctor said, to entirely shield the soul from its instinct to conscience. Doctors, nurses and women who abort their children are the ones most directly affected by this. I would say that most vulnerable to long term psychic and spiritual damage are the doctors who commit multiple abortions. I can well understand what he means, as it has been a struggle for me over the years to continue looking this monster in the face.

But a question arises in my mind. If an entire country is complicit, an entire culture, as is the West, in the greatest systematic mass murder in the history of the human race, can there be any way for any of us to shield our minds from its effects?

Are we not all subject to the long-term damage caused by this impossible dilemma? We kill our children. We do it in enormous numbers. Those of us who do not participate in the killing are complicit by inaction. And everyone knows this.

Do we not all engage to some degree in one of the three reactions I outlined above? In each case the first instinct is to try not to think about it. When forced to address the issue, the most common response is the one least defensible: "I wouldn't have an abortion, but I can't force my opinion on others." A six-year old could tell you what is wrong with that, but most people will say it, and mean it, when they are confronted. I have found it is wise not to try to push past this by demolishing the logic of their position. Mayhem usually ensues.

When the issue cannot be avoided, a new dilemma is presented, theres is a side to pick and no one, I have observed, really wants to pick a side in any fight. Usually, people must be forced into one side or another in any war. But the effort to remain neutral requires one of the the above three solutions of partial denial, which is difficult and uncomfortable; complete denial which is impossible without doing some form of psychological self-surgery, amputation; or complete acceptance which, at the least, requires a form of demonic courage, or perhaps bravado.

The last, I believe will become more popular and more widespread in the general public as it is presented as the more "heroic" position, the bravest. It is the position that most effectively calms the psychic static, what shrinks call "cognitive dissonance" of the first two. I also think it is the one that is most likely to lead to demonic possession or at least a mild form of insanity, (but I think we are nearly there with most people anyway).

The only other position is the one least taken, since it is the one that puts the subject at odds with the entire culture, his whole world, his work, his entertainment, his government, his friends, his school and often his family.

It is the choice of exile.


MMajor Fan said...

You are entirely correct. It actually is an even more bleak situation than pagan or pre-pagan. Children were valued as at least workers or heirs in even the most primitive culture and never as infant sex objects. Part of the global contamination of the psyche by abortion is that for the first time in history a generation has a significant proportion of people who look at an infant within the family as a sex object. Even the most profane empire on earth never had the dynamic of aborting potential contributors to the family income combining with a view toward infant, toddler and child sexual abuse. The situation is even more dire than you described, sadly.

owenswain said...

"Their position, if it is ever articulated, is that there is no child. There is nothing in the womb before birth but "tissue". A growth, analagous to cancer."

Absolutely. One wonders how the pro-death people can criticize people of faith, especially Catholic Christians who uphold life, as being people who have a blind faith and blind adherence to what they are told to believe by the Church. What takes the greater leap of faith, the more intentional covering of the intellectual eye, to believe as we do or to believe that in some magical instant and a distance of millimeters mere tissue becomes human life. Pretty mystical stuff for self determining evolutionary humanists.

As someone recently said, we never ask a pregnant woman, How is your body? Nor do we ask, How is that tissue inside you? Whereas we always ask, How is your baby? So it's magically a baby when it's wanted but when it's unwanted it's magically only tissue.

You nailed us Canadians. Spot on.

And, your final two summation paragraphs speak not only to the abortion issue but many others. It is frightening to be set apart. May God help us.