Are you prepared to love?

Meet the Dennehys. This has got to be the most beautiful family in the world. Just seeing how much the adoptive parents’ love empowered and enabled these kids, I don’t think you could even call them “disabled” anymore.

Lately I’ve been thinking (and talking, and arguing..) a lot about what it means to be pro-life. Which involves knowing why you genuinely oppose  pro-abortion (I don’t like the term “pro-choice” — it attempts to shroud and sugarcoat the ugly truth) arguments. I honestly believe that the pro-abortion movement in modern, prosperous America is all about self-centredness. In particular the labelling of abortion as a constitutional “right” — it reeks of individualism (that discriminates the defenseless unborn). It’s about living and running a self-centric universe. It’s the American dream, of doing whatever it takes to get to where you want to be, stretched to disgusting proportions. But what about the argument that it’s for the child’s good, to spare him/her of a life with deformities/disabilities? Altruistic, is it not?

This video gave me another powerful insight into this question. Can anyone watch this and honestly say, “Those poor, miserable kids!”?

One big reason a woman would assume her deformed baby would grow up to be miserable, is because she herself would give the child a miserable life. She’s not prepared to love unconditionally, to love in a way that would enable a victorious life. When expectant parents say, “I don’t want them to be miserable,” is, what they really mean, whether they realize it or not, is “I don’t want me to be miserable.” There, self-centred.

Also watch little Ace Eicher tell the world about her brother with Down syndome, and weep. :’)

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2 thoughts on “Are you prepared to love?”

  1. I agree that, in general, helping a disabled child avoid a miserable life is a poor reason for abortion – disabled children really can lead very full and meaningful lives. I also agree that, in general, this argument is often used as a proxy for the self-centered argument that bringing up a disabled child is too difficult to bear.

    However, I think that being self-centered in this way is not a problem. I think that in some cases, this argument leads to the responsible course of action. What if the parents know that they do not have the financial means to raise a disabled child? I think that in that case, it would be more responsible to abort the child rather than give the child up for adoption and have the child be a burden on a society which had no say in the creation of the child.

    Obviously, this is premised on the assumption that there are circumstances in which it is impossible to raise a disabled child. I concede that this is debatable, but I think it is quite a different discussion. Anyway, if we accept this, then bringing a child that one cannot raise into the world because of one’s anti-abortion beliefs seems to me to be self-centered because it prioritizes one’s ideology at the expense of society’s resources.

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    1. “If we accept this, then bringing a child that one cannot raise into the world because of one’s anti-abortion beliefs seems to me to be self-centered because it prioritizes one’s ideology at the expense of society’s resources.” That’s a reasonable and thoughtful statement, but I disagree on two counts.

      It would indeed be self-centered if one’s ideology can be summed up as “anti-abortion”; you just don’t like the idea of abortions so you oppose them regardless of consequences (on the future of the child, on society, etc.). But I make a distinction between being anti-abortion and being pro-life. The former, when taken to an extreme produces those guys who go around shooting pro-choice activists and abortionists (how ironic to chant baby murder but murder adults). To be pro-life is to recognize the inherent value of life, be it developing or fully-formed (how the distinction could possibly be made, since we’re always developing, is also debatable). You want to bring the conceived child into the world because it’s a life and you are not the author of any life. I love reading inspiring stories by people who were conceived in rape or survived abortion etc, and think about their birth mothers would go, “I would have never guessed.” When there’s a chance at life, who are we and what do we know (certainly not the future, and certainly not everything) to nullify that chance? So I suppose you could also call “pro-life” an ideology, but I think it’s different from “anti-abortion” because it’s life-promoting and life-preserving in a human-centric way, not simply a matter of personal preference.

      I also wanted to comment on the “at the expense of society’s resources” bit. Societal resources exist to support human life, do they not? Why should anyone be more entitled to these resources than others? Should there be some form of “audition” prior to birth to determine if one is going to be more of boon or a bane to society (wow this is an idea for a bad dystopian-society novel)? I think human beings, be it on an individual level, or communities, an entire society, and the government, shows signs of being being “irrational” in the allocation of resources all the time, especially when it comes to preserving life. A plane crashes horribly in some highly inaccessible part of the Amazon. How much time, money, and manpower would be allocated to getting there to comb the ruins for signs of life? Even if we were to up it a notch and imagine this as a plane carrying convicts, people deemed threats to society, I believe the same would be done. (On a smaller, far more relatable level, look at how much we “irrationally” lavish on our significant others.) My point is that we are not rational, because there’s a part of us that values life, and I’m glad.

      Rationality is not a bad thing in itself, but when applied to human life, it makes us see people (or potential people) as numbers. Isn’t that part of the reason the people behind the Tuskegee syphillis experiment felt it was justified to let 600 African-American men die of untreated syphillis because it would eventually allow many more to overcome it? Same with innocent lives lost to drone strikes today. “Justified”. (I hope this doesn’t come across as scaremongering tactics — I genuine believe it’s a very slippery slope.)

      Anyway, when there’s a chance at life, we should promote it. Let along a chance at a life well-lived, because I acknowledge that it’s a different case for babies unlikely to survive childbirth (e.g. with missing vital organs, etc.). When I was at my lowest point of depression, I so badly wanted to cease to exist, rather than be a drag on myself and the people around me. I’m glad no one encouraged it. They had faith that I’d overcome it and be able to live life to the fullest, and even if I didn’t, that I’d learn to live life to the fullest given my limited capabilities.

      Overall I believe that the logical–I mean–humane solution to strive for is to expand and improve resources to support life, and not discriminatorily. Certainly not to snuff out lives for the sake of having life-promoting resources remain at the status quo. And for all it’s worth, which I think is a lot, there are presently adoption agencies specializing in promoting the adoption of special needs kids. And there’s a growing demand.

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