24 May 2007

It's a scene played out in darkened sonogram rooms all over the country every day:
Greenbaum turned the screen toward the patient. "That’s the little heartbeat," she said, pointing to the area where a tiny organ was clearly pulsing. "And there are the little hands. There's the head. The body."

"Oh, my God, I can really see it!" the patient cried. "Oh, my God! I can see the fingers!"
But, instead of a glow of happiness, this reaction from the mother:
"Okay!" she said, abruptly, gesturing for the screen to be turned away. She began sobbing. There were no tissues in the room, so her husband gave her a paper towel, which she crumpled to her face. The patient spent the rest of the procedure with her hospital gown over her face, so she would not see any more of what was happening.
What happened was something like this:
Then he pinned [the third one] with the needle, and pushed the plunger to release the chemical. The fetus, which had been undulating and waving, went still. It would remain in the womb, while the other fetuses grew and developed.

"Let's check the other two," Evans said, and they moved the transducer to see the other two fetuses, still there, still waving, two hearts beating, unaware of what had just happened to the sibling they would never have.

I truly believe that the women facing this agonizing choice are victims. They are caught up in a web of lies fed them by thoughtless or uninformed media people, well-meaning doctors, and putative ethicists who persuade them of a series of incorrect conclusions. Where you start in your thinking determines the road you will take... up to and including taking actions which cause the very dilemma in the first place, of having more children than the doctors feel is wise to try to carry to anything like "term."

We are slaughtering untold numbers of presidents, theoreticians, waste management specialists, teachers, mothers, fathers, warriors, peacemakers, mathematicians, linguists, cookie-bakers and lawyers every single day. Of course, we are also self-selecting against chromosomally-deficient persons every day, too - including those whose male or female genes render them inappropriate for life, according to their parents. Those ill and damaged people would be a drain on society, no doubt; they would also allow us to have the opportunity to cherish and care for them. And - I realize for some this will be heresy - sometimes, the doctors are wrong. They predict all kinds of miserable outcomes, but their dire predictions come to naught.

Maybe what's needed is a dose of reality. Maybe, instead of sentimentality, we need to look at the real reason for wanting population to decline:
...the farmers of Bobai and nearby towns have been known since the Qing Dynasty for resistance to highhanded rulers. True to their legacy, they rose up against the collection teams, whom they decried as bandits. Backed by their sons, thousands of peasants and townspeople encircled government and birth control centers across surrounding Bobai County, residents here said, stoning riot police brought in to quell the unrest and, in some places, trashing local offices.

"There was trouble in all the villages around here," said a truck driver who, like most of those interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution by local officials.

Even near the main county office building, a witness said, a white banner was unfurled calling for revenge against Su Jianzhong, the Bobai County Communist Party secretary. "Crack down on the head of the bandits, Su Jianzhong," it advertised for all to see, until authorities pulled it down.

The townspeople were all the more unwilling to accept authorities' demands for payment because, as frequently is the case in China, they expressed belief that local officials were generally corrupt and that the money for fines would go to line their pockets rather than into government coffers.
Are we being persuaded to cull ourselves into small, manageable groups so we cannot fight back against people who would control us for their own ends?

As for the mothers who are persuaded to do the heinous act of allowing a perfectly healthy child to be killed, I would not trade with them for a moment. If ever their ability to remain in denial about what they have done breaks down, they will know what they have done, and they will suffer terribly. God is merciful, and loving, and knows to what extent their "choice" was theirs, and how much was in response to cruelly relentless deception and lies. If they ever feel in need of peace about what they did, I pray they will find it in His love. But, unless they are able to prevent the truth from breaking through into their consciousness, they will forever think of that little one, alive and waving.

No comments: