On the Altar of Convenience

In the interest of full disclosure, I resisted the idea of writing this piece. Part of me thought I had something to contribute to the debate. Another part of me said, “This issue is radioactive. Stay out of it!” Staying out of anything has never been my strong suit. Also, when God taps your shoulder twice in the same day, you might want to rethink your silence.

I am of course speaking of the debate touched off by the State of New York’s decision to legalize abortion up to the last minute or beyond. Some years ago I wrote about abortion. That piece discussed the real, in this writer’s opinion, understanding of the term sacred when applied to the life of an unborn child. While the debate over abortion has been ongoing for decades, the debate took a turn most could hardly imagine before New York’s actions.

Again, I was fully prepared to avoid this issue. Then God, or if you prefer; the universe, fate, or serendipity stepped in. The first tap was during discussion time at a men’s Bible study group. We were asked to share something reflecting how God had triumphed in our lives. One of the men at our table shared the story of his son.

His son is severely disabled. He is unable to care for himself and is confined to a motorized wheelchair. In times past, his son’s condition made him angry with God, and he said he often thought the first thing he would say when he reached heaven was, “Why did you let this happen?” Today, almost forty years later he realizes how much of a blessing his son was to their family and those around him. God used his disabled son in miraculous ways.

Later the same day, I was walking to my car on a Target parking lot. A lady was loading items into her SUV. A small child was sitting in the cart. As I passed, the child looked around and gave me a beautiful smile. It was a smile lighting up the child’s face and the face of anyone seeing it. It was the smile of a child with Down Syndrome.

The new legislation is only new for New York. Other states allow late-term abortions and more are considering such laws. New York made itself famous, or infamous if you will, by celebrating the legislation in a garish fashion. The governor ordered the tasteless display to celebrate the victory for what many call reproductive rights.

Believe it or not, this writer understands, as much as any male can, the dilemma someone faces with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy. I have seen the problems, pain, and the aftermath of decisions in this area. I know that for many it is not a simple decision, and for others, it seems too easy.

I once held a grown man in my arms as he finally grieved the loss of the child he agreed to abort years before. I looked into the faces of women who decided to have a child or were forced to have a child they never wanted. I have comforted and counseled a woman who struggled with the knowledge that her mother gave her away to pursue personal success. I have a daughter who would not even be a memory if her mother had followed the advice of a doctor. Still, I am not here to judge or condemn anyone’s personal decision in the area of reproductive rights.

I am however here to make a point. It seems pro-choice advocates wish to make pregnancy termination as easy as having a mole removed, easier actually. A minor child cannot authorize a dermatologist to remove a mole. Parental consent is required. Yet, in many states, a child can authorize an abortion. No parental consent, or even knowledge in some cases, is needed.

No one, least of all this writer, should argue aborting an unwanted child, regardless of why it is unwanted, is a clear and easy choice. Yes, some people realize the situation in which they find themselves, yet seem unconcerned about the gravity of their decision to abort.

Such people may indeed be cavalier about the matter. They may also be scared to death, but fear admitting their anxiety would keep them from following through on what they feel is the correct decision. None of us can read their minds, see into their hearts, or know exactly why they think this termination is the right choice.

Years ago a friend discovered she was pregnant and decided to abort the child. It seemed she gave the matter almost no thought. Even when others offered to help her find a way to have the baby she brushed it off. One might have thought she was having a wart removed.

She was a single mom with a young child. I know she thought a second child was just too much to handle. Several years later while still the in same situation she faced the same decision and chose to have the baby. It makes one wonder what changed in the interim. Perhaps that first decision was not as easy as it seemed.

Compassion and understanding notwithstanding, one thing remains clear. The decision to allow a child to be aborted up until it is delivered is a drastic move. If it is not infanticide, it is so close an objective observer might have trouble understanding the difference, and the fact it is a “reproductive rights issue” makes little difference in the long run.

Some on the right have cried this is not a slippery slope. Instead, it is the next step toward the legalization of euthanasia at any age if society decides that is the right course of action. While that may be an extreme point of view, it is possible they are correct.

Two decades ago many of us watched in horror as the Terri Schiavo case played out in Florida. There the question was can a life be terminated if the person is unable to decide for his or herself? It took years to come to a legal resolution of the situation by allowing  Terri Schiavo’s body to die, years after her brain died.

Today we are arguing over the question of a full term child’s right to life. If a society decides terminating a viable fetus just before, or as some have admitted, just after birth, it is little better than the societies in ancient times. Societies which left children out to die if they were unwanted, weak, or deformed. Societies which sacrificed children to their gods for one reason or another. Those practices came from superstition, tradition, or the harsh realities of primitive life.

The current crop of late-term abortion legislation deals with just one thing, convenience. Yes, the mother’s mental state can be an issue but is killing the baby at the last minute going to help or damage her mental state. I cannot think of a better opportunity for a reaction similar to buyer’s remorse. The difference here is the irreversible nature of the decision.

Likewise, dealing with a mentally challenged or disabled child can be a problem and an inconvenience. Is that really a legitimate reason for terminating it at birth? Yes, it is a problem if a child is put up for adoption and is never adopted. Such a situation inconveniences society in general and many people, including the child. Is that sufficient evidence to support late-term abortions on an otherwise healthy fetus, the chance it will be in the foster care or orphanage system?

Like it or not, people have come to worship convenience. We want telephones we can carry in our pockets. Not only do we want them to function as communication devices. We want them to operate as our payment system. We want them capable of documenting our life in pictures. We want them to help us find our way home. The old ways of doing business, communicating, and seeking directions were inconvenient.  We cannot have that. We want everything to be convenient.

It saddens me to think of what the world would be like today if we had the same attitude about life in the past as we seem to be developing today. The boy in the wheelchair mentioned earlier might never have been a successful wheelchair-bound man because caring for him and teaching him was certainly not convenient. The beautiful little Down Syndrome child who brightened my trip to Target the other day might not have been allowed to draw its first breath.

They might have been sacrificed on the altar of convenience.

© sinnerswalk.com – 2019

About S. Eric Jackson

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1 Response to On the Altar of Convenience

  1. Pingback: Convenient Barbarism? | An Old Sinner's Place

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