The Unintended Victim

The straw that finally broke the camel’s proverbial back was the following article:

Thirty-plus comments and several angry people later, I decided that in the interest of keeping friends, maybe a blog would be a better idea. For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time the idea has crossed my mind. Anyway, the article was written by a woman who discovered in her late thirties that her birth mother was the victim of rape, who had been beaten and left to die by the side of the road by her rapist: the rapist who was, incidentally, the writer’s father. The rape victim, upon learning she was pregnant as a result of the crime, attempted to terminate the pregnancy. The abortion failed, and the child that resulted was the writer of the article.

My Facebook wall became a very heated battleground involving the rights of rape victims, the rights of children, and whether or not it was right to further punish a woman who had been raped to endure a pregnancy, labor, and delivery. In one corner was the pro-abortion crowd. In the other, the pro-life crowd. Attempting to referee was me, who was friends with all the people posting. It got ugly.

Our culture has a problem. We view things as too disposable. Cameras. Paper towels. Plastic bags. Cell phones that we upgrade every two years. Marriages had a 50% divorce rate last time I saw the statistics. Take a look at that. The man or woman we promise to love and cherish, forsaking all others, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, is served papers the moment that hot new secretary catches our eye, or the dashing young pool boy. We hear the laments, “He’s not the same man I married!” No kidding. People change. They grow. They grow old, and we hide our elderly away in nursing facilities so we don’t have to see them. When once we would have taken our aging parents into our homes, we leave them in hospital-like facilities and hope they die quickly so they don’t spend our inheritance on medical care, room, and board.

Children, once the pride and joy of a family, are brushed aside as quickly as possible. Dropped in daycares as mere newborns, from there to nursery school and after school programs, pre-K, full-day kindergartens, and more after school activities than one can count. Enrichment camps each school vacation week and a variety of overnight camps each summer ensure that working parents don’t have to worry about taking time off to be home with Johnny and Suzy.

Those are the ones allowed to live. Others, for whatever noble or ignoble reason you can make up, are rent limb from limb in their mothers’ wombs, extracted a piece at a time. Still more are burned to death by saline or other chemical injection. Up until 2003, it was entirely legal for a full-term baby to be half-delivered, only to have a pair of scissors puncture his skull and his brains removed via vacuum. That particular barbaric act is known as partial-birth abortion, or “intact dilation and extraction” in legal terms. It’s infanticide. A doctor (and I’ll use that term loosely) who performs such an atrocity faces only a fine and up to a two-year prison sentence. To put that into perspective, premeditated first-degree murder (which would be the non-abortion equivalent) generally carries a sentence of anywhere from 25-life, sometimes with the chance of parole, to the death penalty. Just let that sink in for a minute.

Meanwhile, you get these kids who, through no fault of their own, have a father who committed one of the worst crimes imaginable against another, and a mother who has to bear that trauma. Being only a few cells large at this point, it’s not like you can say much in your defense. One might hardly blame a woman for wanting to erase any trace of what she suffered.

The sins of the father shall not be visited upon the son.

This is why our culture needs to change. Not only to become a life-affirming culture, but a culture in which we stop throwing away value. The value of what we make and more importantly, the value of who we are. That family on the corner working and struggling to make ends meet, but Mom and Dad manage to have a sit down dinner with everyone at least once a week? Yes! Paint them a banner! (Literally or metaphorically.) Joe and Jane have grown apart from each other and separated for a while, but decide to go for marriage counseling? Yes! It will be hard, but what a way to honor your vows. Sam rearranged  things at the office so he can work from home, and help out his widower father? Good for him! It will be a sacrifice, but how much more comfortable will Dad be, and how much will their relationship grow? Claire and Frank already have three kids and surprise! Claire is expecting again? And she’s keeping the baby! Yay! More sibling playmates, even numbers around the table (for the OCD among us), and that many more hugs, kisses, and refrigerator art pieces.

Somebody spiked Julia’s drink at a party and she got raped? And she just found out she’s pregnant because of it? And she’s keeping the baby and giving him or her up for adoption? Or even keeping the child to raise on her own? That child is still 1/2 her, after all.

Somebody give that woman a medal.

That is the culture we need. A culture of mutual support. Not a culture of mutual trashing of what we have.

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