Life and Nihilism: A Tableau of Recent Headlines

Baby FeetLet’s weave a tapestry of rather significant recent goings-on in life issues and see where it takes us…

1) An End-Run at Death Panels Loops Back. At the start of January the White House took end-of-life counseling out of new Medicare rules, after it was re-included, after it was explicitly removed from Obamacare. In and of itself end-of-life planning isn’t a bad thing, but when the government starts meddling in health care in ways that lead to euthanasia, the specter of the government encouraging doctors to discuss end-of-life “options” isn’t pleasant. Consider: the Obama Administration official who wrote the counseling back into Medicare was Donald Berwick, whom Obama recess appointed to head up Medicare and Medicaid since he knew Berwick couldn’t get approval even in the last Senate, dominated by Democrats. Berwick truly loves the British National Health Service, while the Brits are downright tired of it. Said Janet Daley of the UK Telegraph:

Dr Berwick professes a love (which he describes in ecstatic terms that will have a tragicomic ring to most British ears) of just those evils of a national health system with which we are exasperated: the calculated rationing of treatment, and the ruthless enforcement of uniform cost limits, which often puts the most advanced medication and procedures out of reach of patients whose lives might have been extended or transformed by them. Dr Berwick thinks that our own dear National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) – which is scarcely ever out of the headlines for denying some poor suffering victim a remedy that is available in other countries – is simply wonderful.

Enough to give one pause when considering what sort of counseling the government might encourage those doctors to tend toward… I can see death panels from my front porch!

2) Sarah Palin Violent Rhetoric Jared Loughner Killed People. We all know the story. Few stories have received so much coverage as the mass murder in Tucson. Unfortunately, the majority of the coverage was because a whole lot of people immediately, without one iota of evidence, sought to pin blame for the slaughter on a whole other group of people, and one person in particular. Only to find out, the killer was mad. From his nonsensical screeds about mind control through controlling grammar, to his hatred of all things government (all sides, that is), to the vaguely occult altar in his backyard, and finally his maniacal grin mugshot, the man who shot those people was seriously not right in the head. If anything should have dominated conversation it should have been detection of serious mental disturbance in people and how to prevent those people from doing grave harm. You won’t get them all, but this one seemed to be a prime candidate. But instead, the mass killing and critically wounding immediately became a reason for one side to attack the other for the sake of “civility.” Killing and death and maiming should have been a moment to simmer down and pray and take stock; instead it was a moment to take advantage.

3) Abby Johnson’s Book Realease. You wouldn’t know it from the major news outlets, just like you wouldn’t know that Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff of Roe v. Wade, is now an ardently pro-life Catholic, but a former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic just wrote a book about her experience (including a harrowing, gut-wrenching account of witnessing an abortion for the first time), and how her seeking wholeness led her to reject abortion “rights” and to become a pro-life activist. Eventually she entered the Catholic Church.

For comparison sake, Ron Reagan wrote a book about his late father in which he alleges that President Reagan showed early signs of Alzheimer’s disease during his first term in office. Who knows what other “revelations” he fills the pages with, but that unsubstantiated piece of sensationalism has gotten play on the major networks. It took Barbara Walters (!) to declare that she saw President Reagan many more times during his presidency than either of his sons, and she saw no signs of Alzheimers.

But Abby Johnson’s book about the murderous boondoggle, the death-of-children-as-moneymaking-industry that is Planned Parenthood? Nary a peep in the major news outlets. And that’s how they, and their enablers would like it to stay.

4) The Philly House of Horrors. Really, comparatively speaking, the only thing Kermit Gosnell did was get caught. Think about all that I outlined above: callous disregard for life, callous indifference to how people die, and a willingness (eagerness?) to use warm corpses as political ammunition. Sure, a woman and seven fetuses/babies/whatever are dead, but all Gosnell was doing was, in the words of a former Midwestern state senator, honoring the “original decision of the woman, and her physician, to induce labor and perform an abortion.”

In an arresting piece over at Redstate.com titled, “Kanye West Had A Point: Modern America Hates Black Unborn Children,” the author says,

Dr. Gosnell, and the society that supported him, felt nothing other than hatred and contempt for the patients of the “Women’s Medical Society.” The Grand Jury that indicted Gosnell described his clinic as follows.

The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment – such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff – was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.

(Grand Jury Report Ob. Cit.)

Dr. Gosnell was paid handsomely to dispose of socially undesirable children. America wanted those babies dead and didn’t give a damn how Gosnell made them go take a dirt nap.

Indeed.

Obviously, any laws that would criminalize very late-term abortions didn’t stop Dr. Gosnell, but it is truly surprising the level of resistance such protective laws meet in some quarters. For instance, the aforementioned former Midwestern senator thrice voted against the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act” and then killed it in committee when he became chair. He thought something like BAIPA would only place a new…

…burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child – however way you want to describe it [you know, "fetus," "child," however: they're all dead to me] – is now outside the mother’s womb [i.e., born] and the doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved.

Convenience forbid that we burden doctors with determining if a baby, or whatever you want to call it, is alive or dead. Might miss our tee time.

According to the votes and actions of that former Midwestern state senator, really all Gosnell did that deserves scorn was kill one woman and keep an untidy shop. The babies with snipped spinal cords? Just honoring mom’s wishes.

And that brings me to my final piece of the puzzle…

5) Rick Santorum is Right; Margaret Sanger Smiles. Rick Santorum caused a minor sensation yesterday when, during an analysis of Obama’s statements and positions regarding abortion, he said, “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, ‘No, we’re going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”

Naturally, as soon as someone recognizes a black person’s race and says something political, that person is branded a raaaaaacist! by those too blinded by skin color-colored glasses to think that maybe, just maybe, there’s a point to his words. And indeed there is. The logic goes like this: babies, from conception, are unique, separate human beings; black people are human beings; for a long time, blacks were kept as slaves because they were deemed property and not persons; eventually blacks were counted as 3/5 of a person so southern states could have more Congressional representation, but they were not given any voting rights at all; therefore, it is remarkable that a person who, had he lived at that time, would have been considered less-than-a-person would entertain any argument about whether another member of the species is also less-than-a-person, especially one who has made it out of the birth canal.

But there’s no accounting for some people. Margaret Sanger for one. There’s a piece of work.

Margaret Sanger opened the first Planned Parenthood abortion mill in Harlem. She was a racist eugenicist. She wanted poors, immigrants, and especially blacks, to disappear. Today 40 percent, that’s 4 in 10, of pregnant black women in New York City get an abortion. Today, people like Kermit Gosnell can operate out in the open (no back-alleys for him!) for a dozen or more years.

Does anyone else see the nihilistic image woven through all this? The denial of the value of life? the forgetting of history and its holocausts, its genocides, its gulags? the grinding of persons in the grist mill of personal vanities?

In the forward to Abby Johnson’s book, Father Frank Pavone likens the aborted children to the “scapegoat” of Judaism. Once per year the high priest would place all the sins of the people upon the head of an innocent goat, and then the goat, taking all that sin and irresponsibility, would be led into the desert never to be seen again. The innocent child killed in the abortion is killed to somehow erase sin and irresponsibility, and the abortionist simply leads it out to the desert.

And yet, there is an answer. Norma McCorvey and Abby Johnson found it, after realizing they were being burned  by the fires of evil. They found the forgiveness and the healing they sought and the support and the encouragement to re-engage the fight on the side of life in and through the Church and her Sacraments.

Hopefully Abby’s book and the many prayers offered will help many, many others to have similar stories.

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