Christina Martin

‘I wish he’d never been born’: The misguided view of abortion as ‘mercy-killing’

Christina Martin
By Christina Martin
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April 24, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - Emily Rapp is a writer, a devoted mother, and a left-leg amputee who was once a poster child for the March of Dimes. Her son Ronan is living with Tay-Sachs, a devastating rare genetic disease. I first heard of Emily in a disheartening Time magazine article titled “Why a Mother would have aborted her son.”

It sprang from a Slate article Emily wrote where she said, “I’m so grateful that Ronan is my child. I also wish he’d never been born; no person should suffer in this way—daily seizures, blindness, lack of movement, inability to swallow, a devastated brain—with no hope for a cure. Both of these statements are categorically true; neither one is mutually exclusive.” She continues later, “I love Ronan, and I believe it would have been an act of love to abort him, knowing that his life would be primarily one of intense suffering.”

I don’t question Emily’s love for her son. Her writings reveal a brave, caring mother who is deeply committed to her child. I sympathize with her family in their pain. At the same time, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that abortion can ever be an act of love. “Sparing” a child from suffering by taking his life is a popular but dangerous idea. Abortion is never a merciful or compassionate act. Although a parent may feel motivated to end her child’s pain, it doesn’t justify the violence and cruelty of abortion.

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This push toward abortion as a form of “mercy-killing” reminds me of African mothers who killed their children so they wouldn’t have to endure the torment of enslavement. Slavery was atrocious, but can you imagine the loss if Fredrick Douglas’s or Harriet Tubman’s mother had chosen to “spare” her child from the agony of life? Their endurance through suffering is what inspires us all.

Sara Carpenter was devastated when her doctor told her that the baby in her womb had spina bifida. She told Mail Online, “I tried to shake away the image I conjured in my head of a little boy, lonely and friendless, robbed of the most basic human functions.” After wrestling over her decision, Sara chose abortion stating, “I realized I couldn’t bring this child into the world, knowing the extent to which he would suffer. Andrew [my partner] and I talked long into the night, and finally agreed that ending the pregnancy was the kindest thing we could do for our son.”

Sara’s story caused me to think back to my college years. I was an assistant and friend to a young lady with spina bifida. We had interesting adventures together. I was just one of the people in her life who loved her. Though she faced physical difficulties, she was remarkably strong, determined, and personable. In some ways she had more experiences than I did. While I was single through most of college, she had more than one significant romantic relationship. She was not the picture of a “lonely and friendless” person. The kindest things her mother did were give birth to her and care for her with love.

Ninety percent of Down syndrome babies are murdered in the womb. Children are aborted for things as treatable as a cleft palate. Some doctors even argue that post-natal abortion and infanticide are merciful and morally acceptable. How far do we want to take this?

There are questions we must ask ourselves. What measure of suffering could ever warrant a babies death? What messages are we believing and communicating when we agree with aborting the weak? What is our definition of love, and how does that include suffering? How do disabled children bring beauty into our lives? What do we think of the children who were given a wrong prognosis or the ones who overcame negative ones?

Aimee Mullins‘ legs were amputated at birth. The doctor who delivered her told her parents that she would never walk. With the help of prosthetic legs, Aimee became an NCAA track star and a runway model. She travels the world speaking and is a spokesperson for L’Oréal makeup. She was named one of People Magazine‘s 50 most beautiful people.

Later in life, Amy ran into the doctor who gave her parents the tragic news. Over the years, he’d saved newspaper clips of all her accomplishments. He proudly told her, “You’ve made a liar outta me.”

Some babies will never accomplish what Aimee has, but they are still valuable simply because they are human. Tripp Roth was one of those little boys. His mother Courtney was a Reader’s Digest Hero of 2011. Tripp recently passed away from epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, a rare skin disease that caused him to be covered in blisters and sores. His disease wasn’t detected until after birth, but his case was so horrific that some encouraged her to “put him out of his misery.”

In an excerpt from her blog, Courtney wrote:

Tripp taught me love.  He taught me love like I’ve never known it before.  What I’ve learned most from him is unconditional love. A love so strong that nothing can break it, not even death.  A love that shines through pain, anger, and exhaustion, but also through times of complete joy and trust.  Tripp taught me that every day counts and every minute matters.  He loved me with his whole tired little heart every minute he was alive.  Never once while he was alive did I think that my job as a mom was hard.  I was doing what I was supposed to be doing- all I knew how to do, and all I wanted to do.  He led me through every day and every hour by showering me with love like I’ve never known before.

In a message to her son, she wrote, “I love you, my sweet little man and no one knows your heart like Mommy.  And NO ONE knows when you are ready to leave this Earth, except God.” Tripp’s life has ended, but Courtney is determined to keep fighting for a cure for EB.

The human experience is intermingled with pain. It’s necessary to show compassion towards those facing challenging and traumatic situations. We also must uphold our value for life, even in the face of grave suffering. The dignity of life should be protected at all costs. Accusing and judging parents as selfish is not the route we should take. Rather, we seek to call others to a truer understanding of mercy and a greater reality of loving kindness.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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