Handicapped Kids...Better Off Dead

For those of us committed to the fight of saving Western Civilization from collapse, stories like the one that recently emerged from West Palm Beach, Florida are not reassuring.  It seems that Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana, the parents of a young disabled boy named Bryan Santana, have received a $4.5-million court victory over a doctor and ultrasound technician they accused of malpractice.

What makes this story uniquely disturbing is the alleged offense of the two medical professionals.  According to the Palm Beach Post, "[the parents] claimed they would have never have brought Bryan into the world had they known about his horrific disabilities ... the West Palm Beach couple said they would have terminated the pregnancy."  In other words, since Bryan was born with only one limb, his life isn't worth as much as it would be if he had all of them.  Therefore, the doctor and ultrasound tech are responsible for Bryan being alive rather than in a trash bin, and so they should have to pay for him.

The $4.5-million decision is half of what the parents requested, allegedly to help pay for Bryan's lifetime medical costs.  That two individuals could be so shameless as to even publicly attach their names to a lawsuit of this nature, that our court system would even hear such a case, and that a jury of citizens would disgracefully reward the plaintiffs with anything but a callous lecture on their own moral degeneracy amount to a shocking commentary on how far our culture has fallen in terms of its respect for the value of human life.

Imagine for a second eight years down the road when Bryan, bound to a wheelchair but otherwise functioning and interacting as a typical pre-teen boy, gets into an argument with one of his friends.  Without thinking, his friend shouts out something like, "Yeah, well, at least my parents wanted me!"  Perplexed, Bryan does a little digging and question-asking, and he eventually finds out that his parents were so upset at the thought of having to deal with him as he was that they would have preferred to kill him.  How many of the left's cherished "self-esteem" classes will Bryan have to sit through to overcome that devastation?

For its part, the Palm Beach Post editorialized against the lawsuit.  Andrew Marra wrote for the paper:

The problem with their lawsuit is its premise that their son is more flawed or somehow worse than a person with four fully formed limbs[.] ... Certainly, Bryan will face challenges that few have to consider, and that is tragic. Whether these obstacles mean his life is not worth living should be up to him to decide, not to Ms. Mejia and a jury of her peers.

While Marra is barking up the right tree, he doesn't take his condemnation of this case far enough.  After all, there is nothing logically different about what Mejia and Santana are saying from what the left has said for years about the whole right to choose abortion.  Why should we be surprised when two people say that their son's physical disabilities make him unworthy to live?  For years we have been condoning the left's lie that an inconvenient child can be killed legally -- so why not a handicapped one?  Surely if the financial burden, emotional strain, or psychological stress caused by an unplanned pregnancy is enough to justify abortion, the kind of grief provoked by finding out your child will face physical challenges should be as well, right?

What we are witnessing in this case is the logical end of the moral relativistic rubbish that our entire abortion culture is based on.  Consider the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that saw the U.S. Supreme Court attempting to provide some moral clarity to the muddled mess that the infamous Roe v. Wade decision had left in its wake.  Their pitiful effort shows that even when given almost 20 years to come up with a better explanation for the gruesome practice, the brightest legal minds can't offer anything beyond a self-defeating quagmire of personal preferences.

The Court opined that "[a]t the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."  And as intellectually vapid and logically flawed as that mammoth definition of liberty is, it isn't difficult to figure out why we are experiencing the kind of moral decay represented by this "wrongful birth" case.  Parents Mejia and Santana's "concept of existence" involves a sliding scale of humanity's worth: those whom they define as "normal" are more valuable and worthy of life than those who aren't.  They are merely "defining the meaning of human existence" to be predicated upon what an individual can do for society.

Therein lies the problem.  We can and should recoil in disgust at such brazen acts of selfishness as preferring to kill your handicapped child over caring for him.  But until we eliminate the moral relativism that triggers those acts and replace it with the Judeo-Christian truth that life is valuable -- not for what it does, but what it is -- we should only anticipate more of the same.

Peter is a public high school history teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana.  E-mail peter@peterheck.com, visit www.peterheck.com, or like him on Facebook.