Why do they have to get all tangled up so badly?
I know, I know...what a pollyana thought....it's one for my philosophy student to spout about over coffee at the java bar on campus.
I have that Sally Field part of myself that wants to 'be liked."
But the fact is, our family is pro-life.
Doh. What a surprise, eh? Um, yeah, right...
Of course we are!
We are Catholic, first and foremost. So, right there: done. Pro-life.
I've written about this before, oh, every January 22. So you know all this.
But this year I'm pondering the stats, especially one that is newer in my consciousness....
It's the stats man....they are brutal. Literally.
The two that give me the most pause are the abortion rates for black children: over one third of black pregnancies end in abortion. Oh my. Now, I know that is a reflection of so much more: the economic and social ills of our day, the huge seemingly insurmountable difficulties of having and raising a child for so many. I "get" the layers, I do.
But even so.
This stat is close to home for me.
I look at the faces of my beautiful children and I wonder and I weep a bit at the loss of so many others and the hurt to so many women and the frustrations and rages against the machine of our culture that panders to this statistic...and I say a prayer of thanks for my children and my fortune....
Then I ponder the next, fresher to my mind stat: that over 90% of downs syndrome babies are aborted. 90%.
And my mind can't let it go.
I wonder, are those babies unwanted due to simply the stigma of Downs?
Are they so because they look different?
Or is it, as I suspect, because their intellectual ability is so often compromised?
It's the fear of course, it's always, every time the fear...on every level, it's always the fear.
But in this case, I suspect, its the fear of difference, of disability...of the other.
And now we are hitting closer to home, again. Again, with the 'other."
Marta does not have Downs Syndrome.
But Marta has intellectual disability, developmental delays.
And it was a surprise to us, as this always is, and is still something we all are learning how to work with. So, I get the fear of disability and the fear of "Can I handle that??"
But those things are just part of who she is.
Do we wish it was different? Yes, things would be easier for her and for us.
But then again, some of her sweetness stems from this part of her, some of her silly funny grins and ours are part of this too. Just as if she was at genius IQ levels, her quips or insights and sweetness might stem from that...it would be part of who she is.
But, and this gives me pause, if she had an extra chromosome, here in America, she might not have made it.
Because some think that having that difference, that cognitive difference, is enough to not be "worth it."
Worth...what? A chance. Life.
And looking at my girl, learning to love her, as she is.....that idea makes me wince and rebel.
We each and every one of us have an express inalienable right to be here.
We have a right to life.
And, that is worth fighting for.
Whether or not you agree or it makes me popular or unpopular.
At one point in my life, back when I was a different person really...I was in my twenties and basically unformed in so many ways (I had yet to become me as I am meant to be, with my own thoughts and values and beliefs)....I was pro-choice. Yup. Me. I wasn't really living the Catholic life then, I was religious but more as a general concept, not a daily lived faith (whole 'nother round of posts that). I didn't want to tell anyone else what to do or think. I was afraid to say anything else out loud maybe.
But I grew up.
And I learned and formed.
And now I believe that no decision should ever be based out of fear. Politics should not be run out of fear. And too often life issues and decisions are made based on a platform of fear...of the unknown, of difference, of unknown futures. And even now, I can only say what I think and believe and know and hope to encourage others to think wider maybe, or tell them what I have learned because it blew my mind.....
But now I know this is true:
If anyone wants to tell me that ANY one of my kids shouldn't have had that right to BE...well that is when I will push up my sleeves and push back my glasses and get political after all. That's when I will get all up in their face and tell them that they are flat wrong. Period.
No matter the hardship, no matter the skin color, no matter the intellect....every one of my kids and any kid has the right to be.
That's it, life is sacred, no matter how small or little or grand or simple or brilliant or annoying or sweet.
Each one of us has a right to life.
Always and from the start to the last.
No matter what.
From Mother Teresa, National Prayer Breakfast Speech Against Abortion - 1994:
Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by deliberate decision..... And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today - abortion which brings people to such blindness.
And for this I appeal in India and I appeal everywhere - "Let us bring the child back." The child is God's gift to the family. Each child is created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things - to love and to be loved. In this year of the family we must bring the child back to the center of our care and concern. This is the only way that our world can survive because our children are the only hope for the future.