Born Alive to a Dead World

Casey Mattox
Proponents of the culture of death have long reaped fruit from various forms of their "quality of life" verbiage.  From pleas for "safe" and "legal" abortions for mothers with "unwanted" pregnancies -- aka pregnancies impacting the mother's preferred quality of life -- to fights for legalized killing of the physically or mentally handicapped -- aka children who, if born, could not enjoy the preferred quality of life adults assume -- those who've spoken loudest for the culture of death have spoken in unity: our value is in our capacity, not our humanity. 

These arguments are ethical and moral train-wrecks which, from time to time, are dragged out into the light by examples of inhumanity usually hidden behind closed (abortion clinic) doors.

One more in a recent series of such examples arose last week in Vietnam, when an "aborted" baby girl was born alive and left to die beneath a covering of blankets.

In Vietnam's Gia Lai Province, expectant mother Nguyen Thi Thu T. decided to have her child killed following two ultrasounds that showed that the child had congenital defects.  Thus, seven months into pregnancy, the girl was aborted via premature delivery (expected to be fatal, given the supposed defects) and placed in a bed under blankets, where her body was to rest until Thi Thu T. returned to get it and have it buried.

However, to the mother's shock, when she returned, she found her daughter alive under the blankets.  Moreover, she discovered that the ultrasounds had been wrong -- the baby had no defects.

Upon the discovery, hospital staff rushed to save the child whom they thought they had left to quickly expire.  But it was too late: umbilical bleeding had taken its toll, and she died.

Note here the utter inhumanity of the "quality of life" argument, and the gut-wrenching agony imparted by the knowledge of the little girl struggling to live.

The mother chose to abort her child in the first place because the girl wasn't perfect -- at least according to ultrasounds.  This certainly would have been taxing on the mother -- her quality of life -- as well as the child and her quality of life.  So the decision was made to simply wipe her life out altogether.

And because the abortion clinics have the act of taking a life down to a science, ending this baby's life should have been routine.  But the variable in the scenario was the child's will to live.  Thus, others' plans for her death notwithstanding, the little girl lived, at least for a time.

By living, she forced the watching world to come face-to-face with those they are accustomed to discarding, testifying to that same world's inhumanity.  And face-to-face, the mother and the hospital responded with frantic efforts to spare this child's life instead of take it.

The "quality of life" verbiage leads to death, and it rewires our consciences so that death by scalpel or vacuum -- or even by intentional neglect under a pile of blankets as was the plan in this case -- does not repulse us as it should.  However, life, even at its most fragile, is recognizable.  And when it is recognized by that dim flicker of conscience that God continues to stoke inside each of us, life urges us to defend and sustain those who can never defend nor sustain themselves.

Casey Mattox serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund at its Washington, D.C. Regional Service Center.

Proponents of the culture of death have long reaped fruit from various forms of their "quality of life" verbiage.  From pleas for "safe" and "legal" abortions for mothers with "unwanted" pregnancies -- aka pregnancies impacting the mother's preferred quality of life -- to fights for legalized killing of the physically or mentally handicapped -- aka children who, if born, could not enjoy the preferred quality of life adults assume -- those who've spoken loudest for the culture of death have spoken in unity: our value is in our capacity, not our humanity. 

These arguments are ethical and moral train-wrecks which, from time to time, are dragged out into the light by examples of inhumanity usually hidden behind closed (abortion clinic) doors.

One more in a recent series of such examples arose last week in Vietnam, when an "aborted" baby girl was born alive and left to die beneath a covering of blankets.

In Vietnam's Gia Lai Province, expectant mother Nguyen Thi Thu T. decided to have her child killed following two ultrasounds that showed that the child had congenital defects.  Thus, seven months into pregnancy, the girl was aborted via premature delivery (expected to be fatal, given the supposed defects) and placed in a bed under blankets, where her body was to rest until Thi Thu T. returned to get it and have it buried.

However, to the mother's shock, when she returned, she found her daughter alive under the blankets.  Moreover, she discovered that the ultrasounds had been wrong -- the baby had no defects.

Upon the discovery, hospital staff rushed to save the child whom they thought they had left to quickly expire.  But it was too late: umbilical bleeding had taken its toll, and she died.

Note here the utter inhumanity of the "quality of life" argument, and the gut-wrenching agony imparted by the knowledge of the little girl struggling to live.

The mother chose to abort her child in the first place because the girl wasn't perfect -- at least according to ultrasounds.  This certainly would have been taxing on the mother -- her quality of life -- as well as the child and her quality of life.  So the decision was made to simply wipe her life out altogether.

And because the abortion clinics have the act of taking a life down to a science, ending this baby's life should have been routine.  But the variable in the scenario was the child's will to live.  Thus, others' plans for her death notwithstanding, the little girl lived, at least for a time.

By living, she forced the watching world to come face-to-face with those they are accustomed to discarding, testifying to that same world's inhumanity.  And face-to-face, the mother and the hospital responded with frantic efforts to spare this child's life instead of take it.

The "quality of life" verbiage leads to death, and it rewires our consciences so that death by scalpel or vacuum -- or even by intentional neglect under a pile of blankets as was the plan in this case -- does not repulse us as it should.  However, life, even at its most fragile, is recognizable.  And when it is recognized by that dim flicker of conscience that God continues to stoke inside each of us, life urges us to defend and sustain those who can never defend nor sustain themselves.

Casey Mattox serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund at its Washington, D.C. Regional Service Center.