On Tuesday morning, in one of the busiest places on earth and in full view of hundreds of passersby, a woman stepped aboard a subway train and left her 11-month-old daughter in a red and white polka-dotted stroller sitting on the platform alone with nothing more than a bottle. Fortunately no harm befell the child. Others have not been so lucky. The same day, New York police arrested a mother who is alleged to have murdered her 11-month-old son. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, police have encountered a series of disturbing revelations which suggest that the hyperthermia death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris was a premeditated murder. These crimes are at once horrifying and heartbreaking, but sadly, they are not a new trend.
Last October, when a teenager was arrested with a baby in her handbag, LifeSiteNews compiled a macabre catalog of similar instances of newborn babies being thrown in the trash or drowned in the toilet. Deacon Kevin Fournier compares this to the ancient pagan practice of exposure, but this is not fair to the pagans. In so many of these cases, the parents who are charged with the sacred duty of caring for their helpless children instead become their murderers. It is perhaps a small distinction, but while exposure is unquestionably a Godless and incomprehensible crime, to murder one’s own child requires a callousness and hatefulness that can only be described as pure evil.
This evil has many faces. In May of last year, Kermit Gosnell was convicted murdering three babies as well as 21 counts of illegal late-term abortion and 211 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s 24-hour informed consent law, although the true scale of the slaughter in his grisly workshop of death was undoubtedly much higher than even those shocking figures. Perversely, almost on the eve of this past Mother’s day, Emily Letts posted a “viral” video documenting her abortion as a mundane surgical procedure. This was followed with the release of a Hollywood production celebrating abortion as a path to greater personal fulfillment. This is a culture that treats babies as trash and celebrates abortions in film. This is the dominant culture of the world we live in.
Everywhere around us people believe the great lie that a child can ever truly be unwanted, but this is impossible. In begetting a child, we mortals participate in the miraculous and divine creation of life. God does not make mistakes. God does not despise His creations. When a seed is planted in the mother’s womb, God wants that seed to grow and flourish and someday bear fruit of its own. When a child is conceived, God wants that child to live and to thrive and to succeed. Every force of nature is motivated by that desire, by God’s love for life, and every creature alive has the central and animating ability to procreate.
This world is filled with such horrors and such tragedy that we can be tempted to ignore it all and shut it out. It is not easy to face these evils. Many people say they personally would never have an abortion, but they don’t want to force their beliefs on others. Evil is begotten of lies but thrives on indifference and abortion is both: first the lie that it is the mother’s choice and then the indifference to the needs of the child. In this way, an abortion not only destroys the life of the child, but gives birth to evil instead. This unhappy realization has left many women–and men–with suffering and grief that may never be healed.
It may not be popular or easy, but in this time of darkness and despair and death, there can be no solace in ignoring the evil which is constantly in our faces. If we are to prevent more Cooper Harrises, we must be witnesses to the joy of the Gospel and shine forth with the light of love. If we are to prevent children from being abandoned, we must be tireless, because evil does not sleep. If we are to prevent women from inflicting the deep wounds of abortion, we must be compassionate, because evil cuts deep into the soul. If we are to prevent more Kermit Gosnells, we must be courageous, because evil fears no man. If we are to build a culture of life, it is not enough to say that we oppose abortion on some purely theoretical level, but we must do everything we can always and everywhere to protect the unborn and to defend the dignity of the human person. This is the great struggle of our age, but with God’s help, it is one we can win.