I read a new book by Monica Migliorino Miller: author, theologian, and pro-life activist. It is entitled Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars. The word “abandoned” appropriately expresses the experience of the unborn in the author’s moving narration of her involvement in the pro-life cause since the 1970s, for America has abandoned millions of innocent persons to a tragic fate. While the book gives the historical data of her life and work in post-Roe v Wade America (and some behind-the-scenes accounts of which you are probably unaware), it offers much more. The author helps us see more deeply into something that is not simply a serious crime that somehow has been enshrined in law as a right. She gives us a poignant glimpse into what this wanton slaughter of the innocents means, both for them and for the human race as such. A couple examples will give some idea of her reflections on the issue:
“I wrote [Judge] Schudson about the bodies of the unborn we had retrieved from the trash… I included three photos of the victims… One showed the arm and hand of a fourteen-week-old fetal child. I explained:
“To see these bodies there was to see a complete and horrifying abandonment, as if the edge of the dock [where the bodies were stored in trash containers for eventual disposal] was the edge of the world where the unborn had been cast adrift apart from all human care. To me the photo of the hand… still connected to the arm torn at the shoulder speaks of the utter loneliness of the aborted child. The hand is unconnected to a body and looms out of nothing, yet in this void the child’s hand speaks his humanity and speaks the horror of his alienation.”
[Then, after burying many aborted children publicly in a cemetery, the author found a note left there by a woman whose child was likely numbered among the others, expressing her deep grief and remorse. The author comments:]
“The woman’s note… expressed an intense feeling that she had abandoned her baby, something she sensed deep within her being. By burying the baby we had returned the child to his mother. The burial gave the baby a human place in the world. The awful tearing of human bonds caused by abortion knew a more perfect healing. On a lonely day, one woman had come to this site, and her act of love banished her isolation. In her sorrow the order of the world, rooted in human bonds, was affirmed. From out of all the nameless, faceless children buried there, the mother claimed back to herself the one who was her own.”
A child, even in the womb, even in some pre-articulate form, needs to know, to feel that he or she belongs to someone, a mother and a father, someone who can say: “you are my own.” The anonymity of tens of millions of discarded unborn children profoundly wounds the human race as a whole; it lays against us the charge of trying to rob them of their very humanity.
The author thus points out not only the biological fact that a human being is destroyed in the womb, which fact can no longer be credibly denied even by abortion supporters. The issue is deeper still. What is happening in each abortion is a rupture in the order of the world. A human being is not allowed to take his or her place in the human community. This is the ultimate, irrevocable rejection. The child is not only refused the right to live, but in that refusal it is denied the right to be accepted and loved as a member of the human race. Judges of the Supreme Court of the US have arrogantly ruled that unborn children are non-persons, so their little bodies can be legally dismembered and crushed and thrown into the garbage. They are forbidden to live human life, for the law states they have no right to it. They have no right to be who they already are, so in terms of the law there is no injustice in killing them. (And there are people who even decide to turn a profit in this grisly business; this is America, after all, the land of opportunity, and of opportunists.)
In this sense, the murder of the unborn is a more heinous crime than that of the murder of adults (even apart from the fact that the unborn are utterly innocent). At least the adults whose lives are tragically taken from them had the opportunity to enter this world, to experience belonging to the human community. They had a place here, however imperfect it may have been. All humans have a right and a need to be welcomed and loved by other humans. It is only to the unborn that this right is categorically and absolutely denied. They are not allowed to be regarded as human; they have no rights; their humanity, their souls are torn from them. They are, in effect, told by society that no one loves them, no one cares for them, no one will defend them, no one will remember them as they are destroyed and disposed of like so much trash.
Yet they are received with love by the One who made them and redeemed them. They will not be unloved forever. And they will stand in judgment upon those who trampled on the image of God within them. God has called the human beings He created “very good,” yet society says to the most defenseless of them: “We don’t want you; you have no value; you are a threat to our convenience and our freedom—go away, and haunt our dreams no more.”
But they won’t go away. Their silent voices will continue to penetrate souls, even if it takes a long time for the majority of people to wake up. “We are human beings,” the little ones cry, “and so we belong to the human family. You have no right to deny us our place in this world or the same opportunity you have had to live and to love. You have killed our bodies but your couldn’t kill our souls. We testify to your works, that they are evil (see Jn. 7:7), but we invite you to repentance, to offer henceforth our little brothers and sisters safe passage into this world.”
Their involuntary sacrifice will testify to the failure of our society to live up to its own humanity. By casting off our own, we are slowly committing suicide. Soon humanity will no longer be able to cover with self-righteous slogans what is at root a sick self-loathing, expressed in a drive to demand the legal right to destroy one’s own image in one’s child. (It doesn’t ultimately matter what the many “practical” reasons are that people may have for getting an abortion. If you are willing to destroy life, then you don’t love it.) There is a certain madness by which people can choose to kill that which they co-create with God, that which alone will outlast the planets and the stars, with full potential to “shine like the sun in the Kingdom of the Father” forever (Mt 13:43). But with each new dawn the Lord offers another chance to change, to throw off the diabolical yoke that the father of lies calls “freedom,” and to begin to heal our broken humanity, receiving new life as a gift—saying “yes” to the tiny immortal beings created in the image and likeness of God.
Get the book. You need to see this; you need to weep over it. You need to let your heart rediscover its own human depths of compassion for the violated, rejected innocents. You also need to see the brutal callousness of judges, lawyers, and those who have any stake in promoting the abortion agenda—and the heroic sacrifices made by those who are uncompromising in their defense of the innocent. This is not about politics and it is not about religion. It’s about holding on to our humanity in a world that would strip us of it, beginning with the most vulnerable…