When life is devalued in one part of the spectrum – i.e., before birth – it is eventually devalued in all parts of the spectrum. Child abuse increases. Violence against women increases. Calls for “compassionate” killings, usually called “assisted suicides,” increase. Who we see as human and deserving of respect decreases.
I’ll tell you something about this link. It’s very disturbing. The local news called it “gruesome,” but that is probably an understatement. It’s sickening. Really and truly sickening.
Seems that for fun, a group of six people, including a seventeen year old girl, tortured and killed a mentally disabled Pennsylvania woman.
[WARNING!!! CONTENT IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN, AND IS VERY DISTURBING!!!!]
What’s fascinating is that the more we pay lip service to valuing life, the less life is actually valued. This is touched upon a bit by the previous post I made, in which I linked to the Anchoress’ post about low birthrates and the global economic slowdown. And it’s difficult to believe for most people, but really, it’s a contraceptive mentality that brings us to this point.
Why would I say such a strange thing? Well, let’s look at it this way. Keep in mind that this is very rough, and a better understanding can be gained by a thorough reading of Humanae Vitae and other writings from the Church that explain things in more detail.
First of all, instead of widespread use of contraception – and especially the Pill – creating an environment where all children are wanted children, it has created a serious disconnect in the link between sex and procreation. Instead of children being viewed as wanted, they are viewed as intrusions more often than they were before. Sex and having babies have a very loose connection these days – it only results in a baby if you WANT it to – and so people wind up seeing a child as someone who was not necessarily wanted. Certainly, this does not speak to all situations. We all know that there are families who have used contraception and decided to stop in order to have children, but women who are surprised by a pregnancy are treating sex as a separate thing from creation very often. Most women who have abortions were using some kind of birth control at the time they fell pregnant. The resulting baby was an intruder, someone they did not want for one reason or another, and is disposed of. And so we got Roe v. Wade.
And so we have devalued human life before birth. If you want a baby, you can have one, but if you don’t, then you don’t have to. Children become commodities instead of blessings. They are things to have instead of people to welcome into your life.
It doesn’t take a large stretch to move that devaluation to babies and children. Child abuse and abandonment has increased since Roe. More children live below the poverty line than before that decision, and women are treated with less respect. With the easy availability of both contraception and abortion – the latter is available through all nine months of pregnancy – it makes it much easier for men to “love ’em and leave ’em.” And, when left, if a woman does not have an abortion, she’s more likely to live with her child in poverty. That’s what being a single mother is about, you know. It usually means you live under the poverty line. The feel-good success stories are feel-good because they’re the exception, not the rule.
With the devaluation of women and children, we have moved on to the other end of the spectrum of life: the elderly. If someone is ill, why not assist them with their suicide and help them “die with dignity”? The problem is, there is little dignity in being dehydrated to death over a two-week period. And what dignity are we giving a person when we put them down like an animal, anyway? Real dignity doesn’t shy away from difficulties. Real dignity shines forth even when those difficulties seem overwhelming and unsurmountable. This is the face of real dignity in the face of death:
And, you know, when we’re already “helping” the dying to go faster, why not focus on quality of life for everyone? The handicapped, mental or physical, certainly can’t be capable of really living life, can they? Enjoying it to the fullest? Poor people, they need help, too. Those with brain injuries … they’re not themselves. They’re vegetables.
But still, we’ve already gone so far in devaluing life in general, and so, sadly, this story is not really that much of a surprise. A shock, of course. We should be shocked at this. But, the way our society treats human life in general – of the unborn, the sick, the dying, the handicapped – surprise is not an emotion I felt when I read this.
What we need to be careful of is when outrage ceases to be among the emotions, though.
Thank God, there will always be those who are outraged. The question is, how long will we be in the majority?