Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Guest Blogger: Why I am Pro-Life

The following was submitted to us by Rhea Volans.

In Danusha V. Goska’s book Save Send Delete the character Mira takes up email correspondence with the atheist Rand, and in one of her emails to him, she states “Many of the qualities in myself that I value most are rooted in the vile mud of suffering.” Isn’t that just the truth. I don’t think I’d be as pro-life as I am today if I had not, for 80% of my life, suffered from Type 1 Diabetes.

There are a lot of misconceptions about suffering, and these misconceptions are ones that I see being used to justify why having an abortion is the right thing to do. “The child is deformed. The child will suffer. It would be cruel to make the child suffer. An abortion would be a kindness.”

Leaving aside the frequent and disturbing stories of parents who were told that their child would be horrifically deformed and unable to live a good life and who, when the child was born, found their child to be perfectly healthy, and the frequent and heartrending stories of parents whose child lived only a few days or hours after being born but changed their families so much in those few hours or day that the child’s brief life was considered such a huge gift by the parents, I want to look at the argument about suffering as a justification for abortion.

More than any other argument for abortion, the argument about killing the child before birth to spare them “suffering” grates on me. It sounds like nails dragged down a chalkboard when I hear it. If these people who put forth this argument would at least admit that, no, they don’t really want this child, yes, they are being selfish, yes, they are taking the easy way out, yes, this is their excuse to justify their actions, I could at least try and respect that they carried out their ghoulish intentions honestly. 

But people who tout abortion for those they suspect to be disabled are to me worse than those who admit to being selfish. Those who say that it would be better that the child not suffer assume an air of benevolence that shields the worst kind of violence. 

I am well acquainted with suffering. Admittedly, there are others who suffer worse than me. There are also those who suffer less. But suffering and I are companions, and not by my choice. The people who crow about mercy abortions suffer, but don’t remember it. Their suffering passes. Broken bones and hearts heal, life goes on for them. They don’t know what it feels like to sit on the floor of the kitchen at 2:30 am, shaking and shivering while waiting for their blood sugar of 34 to come up, and afraid to go to sleep because if they do and the reading gets lower, they’ll be asleep and not know it. 

They don’t know what it feels like to be up at 3:00 am, and what it’s like to treat a high blood sugar, be ill as it comes down, sleep for three more hours, and then get up and go to work as though nothing happened. I’ve done it. They don’t know the fear, after so many kinked cannulas, of what it feels like to insert a new one, what it’s like to wonder how badly that needle and tubing will hurt going in but there’s nothing else to do but to either put that cannula in or go back to taking shots.

But these are the people who say that women should have the right to abort a child on the off chance that that child might be disabled. These people, who know suffering in the vaguest form, think they have the high ground as they proclaim that a woman who has a child that she knows will be disabled has the right to abort that child under the pretense of saving them from suffering. That’s about as good as a doctor shooting in the head the patient who comes in complaining of a migraine, or strangling the patient who complains of a persistent cough. Only for the unborn is death ever the answer to any woes.

I have known suffering most of my life. I have known it so long that I don’t remember life before it. I have known it so long that some aspects of it have become background noise in my life. And I look at these people who suggest that death would be better then life for the disabled, and I see that if they had had some inclination that I would have been diagnosed with diabetes at the age of four, they most assuredly would have advised my mother to abort me.

About the age of fourteen, I reached that crisis point in my life, where the rhetoric of the pro-abortion advocates had penetrated deep enough into my mind that I began to wonder if my mother would have killed me if she had known. My mother is pro-life, so the answer is no. But that’s cold comfort when you’re looking at the value placed on the unborn who are suspected to be disabled and wondering what’s the difference between someone disabled in the womb and outside it. Maybe that’s why I feel so strongly about this issue as well. A little despairing over the value people place on your life can do that a person, believe me.

But this argument that if people had good health and fully functional limbs they would be happy is a bunch on nonsense, too. There are two quotes from two different sources that I think are important here. The first is from the show House, where House’s employees have come to tell him that his friend Wilson, who has cancer, is in so much pain that he wants to die. House, who for the duration of the show, has struggled with pain, shouts at them,

 “Life is pain! I wake up every morning I’m in pain, I go to work in pain.” 

This is true. This is the first part of why abortionists are wrong in saying that a disabled child would not want to live. I have lived with diabetes for so long that in some ways I am numb to it. My fingers are calloused enough that checking my blood sugar no longer hurts very much. Sometimes it does, but even when it does, it’s so routine it’s background noise. And the biggest fallacy in the abortionist’s argument is the truth that life is pain.

No one, no one, goes through life in a perfect state of joy. No one escapes pain. There is physical pain, there is emotional pain. Broken hearts and broken bones. One may heal more quickly, but they are both still sources of pain. To act as though we are morally righteous by sparing a child of pain is to ignore the fact that we live a world where pain exists and we all experience it.

The second quote, which completes for me the first one, comes from the short film The Butterfly Circus. In this film, Will, the protagonist, was born disabled, and makes his living during the Depression at a circus sideshow. He joins up with the Butterfly Circus and on one occasion, watches the performers of the circus visit a shanty town to entertain the residents and bring them “a little wonder” as Mendez, the ringmaster, puts it. In the previous circus he worked at, Will was described as “cursed from birth, the man God Himself turned His back on.”

He was described this way because he was born with no limbs. When Mendez reminds him of this, Will demands to know why he would say those things again. Mendez tells him he says those things because Will believes them, but, pointing at the other performers, hall of whom have suffered, Mendez says,

“But if you could only see the beauty that can come from ashes.” 

Will protests that they are different from him, to which Mendez agrees, and says,

“You do have the advantage. The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.”

In this ugly yet beautiful world, there is pain, and there is beauty despite that pain. Sometime I wonder if anyone else knows the depths of my feelings towards the beautiful things I see around me. I will never lie about the fact that my life is filled with pain, but I define myself as the sum of my experiences, not simply the total of my pain.

I think that Dante was almost right. There is a heaven, there is a hell, and there is also a purgatory. I do think, however, that he was wrong about purgatory. We don’t go there after we die. This moment, this life, right now on this earth and in this time, is our Purgatory. This is where we choose Heaven or Hell. This is where our souls are tested. In pleasure and in pain. We learn from, we grow through it.

I am pro-life, in all circumstances. With the child who is born disabled, I want that child to be able to have a chance at life. With the child who is born whole and hale, I want that child to have a chance at life. Man should never play God, no matter what the reason is, and to claim to save someone from pain is a stupid reason for abortion. Life is pain. But pain is a feeling, and “no feeling is final.” There is so much more to life than just pain. I know this to be true, better then I know anything else.

“Until a sea of glass we meet, at last, completed and complete, where tide and tear and pain subside, and laughter drinks them dry, I’ll be waiting, anticipating, all that I aim for, what I was made for, with every heartbeat…”

- Switchfoot, “Restless”

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