I’ve just had to ponder this. What is it about a baby? A baby! That creates such murderous rage in the hearts of people that they would collude in his destruction, that the worst news they could receive would be that he is alive and well? Because make no mistake, for the Canadian hospital and their court system, the worst thing that could happen at this point would be that Baby Joseph survives.
We have a Pennsylvania abortionist going on trial for killing infants that survived his crude late-term abortion attempts. We have a president who, while in the Illinois legislature voted against protecting the lives of babies born alive during attempted abortions. In both cases the most unwelcome conclusion was that the babies live. Why? I can’t get that question out of my mind. Unlike Kafka’s hapless protagonist, these babies cannot ask “why” for themselves – they cannot protest, as an assertion of their human dignity, being killed “like a dog.” But the question should haunt the rest of us.
Mary's conclusion, that every baby is a reminder of the Incarnation and is thus hated by post-Christian societies, is an intriguing one--but I wonder if there isn't something a little more basic going on.
I think the fear of babies, the fear that leads to women gulping contraceptive chemicals like candy regardless of what these things may do to their bodies, that leads men to abandoning pregnant girlfriends or wives, that leaves to both men and women fearing and hating each other's reproductive ability even within the context of a loving marriage, and drives some people to the abortion clinic, is rooted in a truly deep and ugly fear: the fear of having to give up one's own carefully structured selfishness and, with it, the desire to remain a child.
When you become a mother or a father, you can't live your life putting yourself first anymore. You can't ignore your child's immediate and several and time-consuming needs. During the child's infancy and toddlerhood you may find yourself doing things you would never have imagined to take care of your little one. As the child grows, there are fresh areas of concern: schooling, medical needs, activities, growing responsibility and awareness. And all of that happens before the teen years, with their own new set of challenges and demands on parents.
Parents know that the rewards far outweigh what we must give; in fact, the very maturity and responsibility that comes with parenthood is a great plus in itself, before we even start to list such things as the amazing sound of a cooing, happy baby or the tug of pride when a child crosses a milestone, whether that milestone is toilet training or college graduation or anything in between. But to people who aren't parents, these rewards are too ephemeral to understand, while the sacrifice of giving up the freedom to do whatever one wants whenever one wants to do it, in exchange for poopy diapers, colic, and endless "Dr. Seuss" marathons, is too horrible to contemplate.
Of course, we all owe our lives to people who weren't afraid to be the grown-ups and to have us and raise us--but that's easily forgotten by the fearful, who see only the negatives when confronted with a positive pregnancy test, and who seek the abortion clinic with the notion that they'd rather sacrifice their child's existence than their own preferred mode of living.