The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Culture of Death

Did you hear about the Oregon couple who sued their healthcare provider because their daughter was born with Down Syndrome? That's right, it seems the parents of little four-year-old Kalanit Levy are very upset because Legacy Health of Portland failed to identify the girl's condition prenatally and want to be compensated for this "wrongful birth." Had they known of their daughter's condition before she was born, Ariel and Deborah Levy stated they would have aborted her. Kalanit will require all kinds of extra care that her parents are apparently unprepared or unwilling to provide, so they wanted $14 million from Legacy Health. Read more here.

Yesterday a jury apparently agreed that the "parents" should be compensated and awarded them $2.9 million based on the estimated lifetime costs of their child's care. Attorneys who deal with these cases agree that to win a wrongful birth lawsuit "parents must argue that they would have terminated the pregnancy had they been fully informed." And so this Oregon jury in effect decided this one little girl should not have been born. Hers was a life not worth living. And the Levys have been paid off...for what? For not aborting Kalanit because they would have had they only known? Are they then rewarded for doing what thousands, probably millions, of parents do every day: give birth to and take care of their disabled children, not because they have to but because they love them?

The political left seems to be particularly bothered by these disabled children because they represent an overt rejection of abortion, and these days everything is about abortion. Abortion is the political left's cause célèbre against which all else is measured. And so anyone who knowingly gives birth to a disabled child -- e.g., one with Down Syndrome -- better be prepared to be denounced. Back in 2008 when Sarah Palin was added to the Republican ticket, Carol Fowler, the chair of the South Carolina democratic party stated that the Alaska governor's “primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion”; in other words, she hadn't aborted her Down Syndrome son, Trig. Then, on Trig Palin's birthday in 2011, Jack Stuef of the popular leftist blog Wonkette not only attacked Sarah Palin but also three-year-old Trig:
"Today is the day we come together to celebrate the snowbilly grifter's magical journey from Texas to Alaska to deliver to America the great gentleman scholar Trig Palin...What's he dreaming about? Nothing. He's retarded."
It would seem the left's mandate to adhere always to political correctness does not apply to them, and certainly not when abortion is involved.

According to courts have found it difficult to seat juries in these wrongful birth cases because they have to immediately disqualify those with strong pro-life views and there are just so many of us. I find it particularly disturbing that my support for life would disqualify me as too biased when the person who wrote the above comments on Wonkette would be completely acceptable.

Read again  the words of Pope Paul VI in his monumental encyclical, Humanae Vitae (1968), in which he warns of the consequences of the contraceptive mentality:

17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
Consequently, unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. These limits are expressly imposed because of the reverence due to the whole human organism and its natural functions, in the light of the principles We stated earlier, and in accordance with a correct understanding of the "principle of totality" enunciated by Our predecessor Pope Pius XII.
I'm afraid we, as a people, have allowed this power over life itself to pass "into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law."

Let us pray for life every day:
Heavenly Father, your cosmic gaze focused on dust and you fashioned in your image and likeness every man and women: give us, we beg you, a keen eye to recognize that image so that respect for all human life becomes our way of life. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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