“It’s a girl” has become a three-word death sentence to hundreds of millions of unborn babies across the globe. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of female gendercide. Killed, aborted and abandoned—these are the brutal realities of the actual “war on women.”
The worst offenders are India and China—countries where ancient cultural traditions, dictating a preference for male offspring, join with pro-abortion government policies. It’s a deadly combination that allows for the deliberate extermination of girls. However, no country is immune, including the United States. Recently, a disturbing story and photograph went viral.
A woman, very visibly pregnant with twins, decided to have an abortion because they were girls. Keep in mind that gender is determined via ultrasound near the 20th week of pregnancy, meaning this mother was well into her second trimester when she had her babies aborted. Also, this summer, the investigative pro-life group, Live Action, released a series of videos called Protect Our Girls, which exposed Planned Parenthood’s disturbing practice of actually doing gender-based abortions. They claim to be “nonjudgmental,” essentially stating they don’t question the reasons why a mother wishes to end the life of her unborn child. I can’t think of anything more judgmental than sentencing a baby girl to death simply because she’s female.
And I can’t think of any other act that is motivated by more ruthless discrimination. Pro-abortion activists like Planned Parenthood are accusing pro-life individuals and candidates of participating in a “war on women.” What utter hypocrisy. All the while they’re searching out and killing unborn babies only because they’re female. There’s no graver war on women than this.
Sadly, Planned Parenthood isn’t alone. There are many who refuse to acknowledge this travesty taking place across the globe, or worse yet, they participate in it. However, I’m privileged to know someone who’s made it her mission to combat this ignorance and crime against humanity. She’s bringing it to the forefront in a way that it can be addressed educationally, morally and actionably—she is Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.
Reggie is part of the production team for an eye-opening film releasing this month. It’s a Girl is a powerful documentary that takes this international issue and makes it personal. Shot on location in India and China, you meet girls and women who’ve been impacted by this brutal practice. The film tells the stories of abandoned and trafficked girls, of women who suffer extreme dowry-related violence, of brave mothers fighting to save their daughters’ lives and of other mothers who would kill for a son. These faces, and the millions of others like them, are the reason female gendercide can’t be ignored any longer. It must be addressed and ultimately it must be ended.
Abortion for the purposes of sex-selection is a horrific testimony of where the so-called “pro-choice” mentality of the abortion industry inevitably leads. When pregnancy becomes a “choice” rather than a child, there’s no limitation to why a woman can decide to end her unborn baby’s life.
Wherever they are in the world on Sept. 8, the members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word sing an old French hymn, “Queen of the Waves.”
Whether in their ministry in rural Kenya, East Africa or one of the hospitals of the Sisters of Charity Health Care System, which they sponsor, the Sisters of Charity sing the same hymn that has been sung on that date every year since 1900.The song provides the sisters and all those who co-minister with them an opportunity to pause and remember all who lost their lives in a devastating hurricane more than a century ago.
Striking Galveston on Sept. 8, 1900, the Great Storm is considered the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history. More than 6,000 men, women and children lost their lives. Among the dead were 10 sisters and 90 children from the St. Mary’s Orphans Asylum, operated by the Sisters of Charity. The sisters also operated St. Mary’s Infirmary in Galveston. It was the first Catholic hospital in the state, established in 1867.
The sisters were called to Galveston by Catholic Bishop Claude M. Dubuis in 1866 to care for the many sick and infirm in what was the major port of entry for Texas. They were also charged with caring for orphaned children, most of whom had lost parents during yellow fever epidemics. At first the Sisters of Charity opened an orphanage within the hospital, but later moved it three miles to the west on beach-front property on the former estate of Captain Farnifalia Green.
The location seemed ideal as it was far from town and the threat of yellow fever. As Galveston entered the new millennium, it was one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the United States and one of the largest in the state. It was a prosperous community with a bustling port. With a population of 36,000, Galveston appeared to be poised for greatness.
And then one weekend in September in 1900, the same proximity to the sea that had made the community grow and prosper as a port city, was to change Galveston Island forever. On Sept. 8, Galveston became the victim of a powerful hurricane of such destructive force that whole blocks of homes were completely swept away and one sixth of population was killed. Beginning early on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8, 1900, the winds began coming in strongly from the north. Despite the opposing winds, the tides of the southern gulf waters also rose sending large crashing waves upon the beach front.
Sister Elizabeth Ryan, one of 10 sisters at St. Mary’s Orphanage, had come into town that morning to collect food. Despite pleas from Mother Gabriel, the assistant superior at St. Mary’s Infirmary, for her to stay at the hospital until the storm passed, Sister Elizabeth said she had to return to the orphanage. Sister Elizabeth said that she had the provisions in the wagon and if she did not return the children would have no supper. She didn’t know that whether she returned or not there would be no more suppers at the orphanage.
During the afternoon the winds and rain continued to increase. The tides of the gulf rose higher and higher with fierce waves crashing on the beach sending flood waters into the residential areas. St. Mary’s Orphanage consisted of two large two-story dormitories just off the beach behind a row of tall sand dunes that were supported by salt cedar trees. The buildings had balconies facing the gulf.
According to one of the boys at the orphanage, the rising tides began eroding the sand dunes “as though they were made of flour.” Soon the waters of the gulf reached the dormitories. The Sisters at the orphanage brought all of the children into the girls’ dormitory because it was the newer and stronger of the two. In the first floor chapel, they tried to calm the children by having them sing “Queen of the Waves.” The waters continued to rise.
Taking the children to the second story of the dormitory, the Sisters had Henry Esquior, a worker, collect clothesline rope. Again they had the boys and girls sing “Queen of the Waves.” One of the boys later said that the children were very frightened and the Sisters were very brave.
By 6 p.m. the wind was gusting past 100 miles per hour and the waters of the gulf and bay had met, completely flooding the city. Residents climbed to the second stories, attics and even roofs of their homes. Flying debris struck many who dared venture outside their homes.
Around 7:30 p.m. the main tidal surge struck the south shore.
Houses along the beach front were lifted from their foundations and sent like battering rams into other houses. Houses fell upon houses. At St. Mary’s Infirmary the flood waters filled the first floor. From the second story balcony, the sisters pulled refugees in as they floated by and brought them into the over-crowded hospital. Almost every window in the facility was broken out sending the wind and rain whipping through the building.
At the orphanage, the children and sisters heard the crash of the boys dormitory as it collapsed and was carried away by the flood waters. The sisters cut the clothesline rope into sections and used it to tie the children to the cinctures which they wore around their waists. Each Sister tied to herself between six to eight children. It was a valiant, yet sacrificial effort to save the children. Some of the older children climbed onto the roof of the orphanage.
Eventually the dormitory building that had been the sanctuary for the children and sisters was lifted from its foundation. The bottom fell out and the roof came crashing down trapping those inside. Only three boys from the orphanage survived: William Murney, Frank Madera and Albert Campbell. Miraculously all three ended up together in a tree in the water. After floating for more than a day, they were eventually able to make their way into town where they told the sisters what had happened at the orphanage.
One of the boys remembered a sister tightly holding two small children in her arms, promising not to let go. The sisters were buried wherever they were found, with the children still attached to them. Two of the sisters were found together across the bay on the Mainland. One of them was tightly holding two small children in her arms. Even in death she had kept her promise not to let go.
The death and destruction in Galveston was unbelievable. More than 6,000 were dead and their bodies were littered throughout the city. It would be months before some would be uncovered. A complete list of the dead was never made.It is estimated that the winds reached 150 mph or maybe even 200. The tidal surge has been estimated at from 15 to 20 feet. Whole blocks of homes had been completely destroyed leaving little more than a brick or two. In all more than 3,600 homes had been destroyed.
A great wall of debris wrapped itself around St. Mary’s Infirmary on the eastern end of the city and then zigzagged through the city to the beach. At places the wall was two stories tall. Inside this great wall were destroyed houses, pieces of furniture, pots, pans, cats, dogs and people. Those who were dead and those who were dying. At St. Mary’s Infirmary, there was no food or water. While the main hospital building was still standing, the adjacent structures, had been destroyed.
The hospital was packed with those who were injured and those who had no where else to go. Two of the Sisters walked about the area until they found crackers and cookies that had been soaked in the water. They brought them back to the hospital and over a fire they built in the street they dried the food and served it to those in need at the infirmary. Firmly committed to the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Sisters repaired St. Mary’s Infirmary and, one year later, opened a new orphanage. Today the sisters have extended their ministry to other states and foreign countries.
On Sept. 8, 1994, a Texas Historical Marker was placed at 69th Street and Seawall Boulevard, marking the site of the former orphanage. The descendants of two of the survivors, Will Murny and Frank Madera, returned to participate in the marker dedication. As part of the ceremony, “Queen of the Waves” was again sung at the same time and place as it was during the Great 1900 Storm. And, as it continues to be each Sept. 8 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Queen of the Waves
from a Latin French hymn, author unknown
Queen of the Waves, look forth across the ocean
From north to south, from east to stormy west,
See how the waters with tumultuous motion
Rise up and foam without a pause or rest.
But fear we not, tho’ storm clouds round us gather,
Thou art our Mother and thy little Child
Is the All Merciful, our loving Brother
God of the sea and of the tempest wild.
Help, then sweet Queen, in our exceeding danger,
By thy seven griefs, in pity Lady save;
Think of the Babe that slept within the manger
And help us now, dear Lady of the Wave.
Up to the shrine we look and see the glimmer
Thy votive lamp sheds down on us afar;
Light of our eyes, oh let it ne’er grow dimmer,
Till in the sky we hail the morning star.
Then joyful hearts shall kneel around thine altar
And grateful psalms reecho down the nave;
Never our faith in thy sweet power can falter,
Mother of God, our Lady of the Wave.
Fr. Augustín Fuentes was the Mexican priest named vice-postulator of the cause of beatification for Francisco and Jacinta. In the interview Sr. Lucy said that Our Lady told her: “The last means that God will give to the world for its salvation are the Holy Rosary and My Immaculate Heart.”
This important conversation of December 26, 1957 was the last public interview of Sr. Lucy. After it, permission was refused for any other interviews and she was effectively silenced and completely hidden away for the next several decades.
Another very jovial Sr. Lucy appeared 10 years later in 1967 during Paul VI’s visit to Fatima. This Sr. Lucy, square-faced, cheerful and robust – incredibly different from the oval faced, sad and pale Sr. Lucy who spoke to Fr. Fuentes – was seen more regularly starting in 1982, after John Paul II’s visit to Fatima. [See our Two Sister Lucys’ analysis]
These are the authentic words of her 1957 conversation with Fr. Fuentes, which came from the records of the official archivist of Fatima, Fr. Joaquín María Alonso, CMF. Fr. Alonso spoke with Sr. Lucy and publicly testified that her statements to Fr. Fuentes in 1957 were genuine and true.
This text is from his book, La Verdad sobre el Secreto de Fátima sin Mitos [The Truth about the Secret of Fatima without Myths ]. The text has the approval and imprimatur of Archbishop Sánchez of Santa Cruz, Mexico.
What follows is the literal translation of Fr. Fuentes’ text reporting what he heard “from the lips of” the seer of Fatima.
Interview of December 26, 1957
Speaking to the sisters of Motherhouse of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Mexico on May 22, 1958, Fr. Fuentes said, “I want to tell you the last conversation I had with her [Sister Lucy], which was on December 26 of last year. It was in the convent, where I found her very sad, pale and drawn.”
He then proceeded to read Sister’s Lucy’s words to him at the December 26, 1957, interview:
“Father, the Blessed Virgin is very sad because no one has paid attention to her Message, neither the good nor the bad. The good, because they continue on the road of goodness, but without paying mind to this Message. The bad, because of their sins, do not see God’s chastisement already falling on them presently; they also continue on their path of badness, ignoring the Message. But, Father, you must believe me that God is going to punish the world and chastise it in a tremendous way.
“The chastisement from Heaven is imminent. The year 1960 is on us, and then what will happen? It will be very sad for everyone, and far from a happy thing if the world does not pray and do penance before then. I cannot give more details, because it is still a secret. By the will of the Blessed Virgin, only the Holy Father and the Bishop of Fatima can know the secret. Both have chosen, however, not to open it in order not to be influenced by it. (1)
“This is the third part of the Message of Our Lady, which still remains secret until 1960. Tell them, Father, that the Blessed Virgin said repeatedly – to my cousins Francisco and Jacinta as well as to me – that many nations would disappear from the face of the earth, that Russia would be the instrument of chastisement from Heaven for the whole world if the conversion of that poor Nation is not obtained beforehand. …”
A decisive battle with the devil
Sr. Lucy also told me:
“Father, the Devil is fighting a decisive battle against the Virgin and, as you know, what most offends God and what will gain him the greatest number of souls in the shortest time is to gain the souls consecrated to God. For this also leaves unprotected the field of the laity and the Devil can more easily seize them.
”Also, Father, tell them that my cousins Francisco and Jacinta made sacrifices because they always saw the Blessed Virgin was very sad in all her apparitions. She never smiled at us. This anguish that we saw in her, caused by offenses to God and the chastisements that threaten sinners, penetrated our souls. And being children, we did not know what measures to devise except to pray and make sacrifices. …”
We cannot wait for Rome to speak
Referring to the vision of Hell that Our Lady showed her and Jacinta and Francisco, she said:
“For this reason, Father, it is my mission not just to tell about the material punishments that will certainly come over the earth if the world does not pray and do penance. No, my mission is to tell everyone the imminent danger we are in of losing our souls for all eternity if we remain fixed in sin.
“Father, we should not wait for a call to the world from Rome on the part of the Holy Father to do penance. Nor should we wait for a call for penance to come from the Bishops in our Dioceses, nor from our Religious Congregations. No, Our Lord has often used these means, and the world has not paid heed. So, now each one of us must begin to reform himself spiritually. Each one has to save not only his own soul, but also all the souls that God has placed on his pathway.
Two last remedies to save the world
“Father, the Blessed Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but I understood this for three reasons:
“The first is because she told me that the Devil is engaging in a battle with the Virgin, a decisive battle. It is a final battle where one party will be victorious and the other will suffer defeat. So, from now on, we are either with God or we are with the Devil; there is no middle ground.
“The second reason is because she told me, as well as my cousins, that God is giving two last remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And, being the last remedies, that is to say, they are the final ones, means that there will be no others.
“And the third, because in the plans of the Divine Providence, when God is going to chastise the world He always first exhausts all other remedies. When He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever, then, as we say in our imperfect way of talking, with a certain fear He presents us the last means of salvation, His Blessed Mother.
If we despise and reject this last means, Heaven will no longer pardon us, because we will have committed a sin that the Gospel calls a sin against the Holy Spirit. This sin consists in openly rejecting – with full knowledge and will – the salvation that is put in our hands.
“Also, since Our Lord is a very good Son, He will not permit that we offend and despise His Blessed Mother. We have as obvious testimony the history of different centuries where Our Lord has shown us with terrible examples how He has always defended the honor of His Blessed Mother.
“Prayer and sacrifice are the two means to save the world. As for the Holy Rosary, Father, in these last times in which we are living, the Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the praying of the Holy Rosary. This in such a way that there is no problem that cannot be resolved by praying the Rosary, no matter how difficult it is – be it temporal or above all spiritual – in the spiritual life of each of us or the lives of our families, be they our families in the world or Religious Communities, or even in the lives of peoples and nations.
“I repeat, there is no problem, as difficult as it may be, that we cannot resolve at this time by praying the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary we will save ourselves, sanctify ourselves, console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.
“Then, there is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Most Holy Mother, holding her as the seat of mercy, goodness and pardon and the sure door to enter Heaven. This is the first part of the Message referring to Our Lady of Fatima, and the second part, which is briefer but no less important, refers to the Holy Father.”
1. In 1943, the Bishop of Fatima José Correia da Silva authorized Sister Lucia to write down the Third Secret during her bout with pleurisy, which threatened her life. On June 17, 1944, this document was officially placed in his hands. When Sister Lucia gave the letter to Bishop da Silva, she told him that he could read it, but he refused. Instead, he ordered the sealed document to be kept in the safe of the Episcopal Curia. Pope Pius XII also chose not to read the message, and left it in the care of Bishop da Silva until 1957, when the sealed envelope was sent to Rome at his request.
“They are the most disagreeable of people…Their insincerity? Can you not feel a sense of disgust at the arrogant presumption of superiority of these people? Superiority of intellect! Then, when it comes to practice, down they fall with a wallop not only to the level of ordinary human beings but to a level which is even far below the average.” -Winston Churchill
In the 1960s, the left experienced a resurgence, financed mostly by Moscow through a variety of front groups, and focused on American college campuses. Ever-so-intellectual, they dubbed themselves the New Left, suggesting that they had taken a quantum leap beyond the monolithic bureaucracy of Stalin, and even transcending the moral incentives of Mao. They identified with the dashing, romantic Cuban revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Oddly, somewhere along the way, they missed the fact that these people were mass murderers who made Hitler look like an amateur.
The neo-Marxist philosophy they concocted had no specific goals, other than full adoption of Third World Anti-colonialism, and destroying the existing capitalist state. It was taken on faith that socialist institutions would naturally be created by the freed proletariat, with no previous planning, as if by miracle or magic. Saul Alinsky was one of the New Left’s prophets, and had numerous followers in Academia, such as Cloward and Piven at Columbia, where Barack Obama claims to have been a student. In any case, this is the milieu the current occupant of the White House was raised in, and what he clearly still believes today.
The Left has always been a haven for misfits, ne’er-do-wells, and people with a myriad of psychological disorders. Boozers and dopers like Barry Soetoro found a place where they didn’t feel out of step with the rest of the world — it was the rest of the world that was out of step with them. They could don the mantle of a Revolutionary and immediately become 10 feet tall, bullet-proof, and invincible. Looking at the makeup of the current administration, especially in it’s upper echelon, the policies and legislation they have produced makes it eminently clear that many of these people have never gotten beyond this ideology.
For reasons that are not clear, far too many conservatives adamantly refuse to admit that Barack Hussein Obama is, by his own admissions and open associations, a New Left Marxist. His destruction of the economy, his looting of the Treasury and redistribution of trillions to his backers in the international banking community; his nationalizing of health care, the financial markets and the auto industry; his ratcheting up of more regulations, especially environmental ones, aimed at shutting down our ability to produce energy; his total lack of effort to bring down unemployment are not the result of incompetence. On the contrary. From a New Left point of view, this has been the intention all along: do the greatest harm to the capitalist state in the shortest period of time, and they’ve been very successful.
In addition, they have taken great strides toward undermining the Constitution, and laying the statutory groundwork for transferring virtually unlimited power to the executive branch, making Congress an irrelevant footnote to history. They have ignored the courts, lowest to highest, selectively enforced the laws that are supposed to be applied equally, refused to prosecute blatant violations when it didn’t suit their political agenda, and have been allowed to get away with it. Even Eric Holder’s contempt of Congress is being allowed to get brushed aside as a “distraction.”
And lest we forget, Barack Obama promised his buddy Vladimir Putin that “After my election, I have more flexibility”. He will be in a position to have Leon Panetta over at the Defense Department, unilaterally destroy our nuclear arsenal.
Half of the Cabinet and their second and third rank appointees, and the president and much of his staff and “czars” should be under indictment, There has never been such rampant, unbridled, unabashed corruption in the history of American government. As the Ministry of Propaganda, aka, the “mainstream” media likes to say, “unprecedented, historic!” And nearly as guilty are the Rinos who daily turn into the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys, allowing our country to be dismantled and turned into an impoverished, Third World has-been dictatorship, right before our eyes.
We, the People, by all real indicators, should win the November elections in a historic landslide of epic proportions. If we do, we have a long, hard road ahead of us, repealing and repairing the damage done by the looters, the misfits, and the lunatics who have been controlling the Democrat party and Washington for the past 50 years. But it must be done, for we are teetering on a dangerous brink, and if we go over, there’s no way back.
In the meantime, remember this truth and apply it: The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance.
In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men… All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics. Oh! If I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries. And this reproach can be leveled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries. ~Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908
Pope St. Pius X,
POOR AND HUMBLE OF HEART
UNDAUNTED CHAMPION OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH
ZEALOUS TO RESTORE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
St. Pius X, pray for us.
Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable. –G. K. Chesterton 1909
Each year in America fewer and fewer disabled infants are born. The reason is eugenic abortion. Doctors and their patients use prenatal technology to screen unborn children for disabilities, then they use that information to abort a high percentage of them. Without much scrutiny or debate, a eugenics designed to weed out the disabled has become commonplace.
Not wishing to publicize a practice most doctors prefer to keep secret, the medical community releases only sketchy information on the frequency of eugenic abortion against the disabled. But to the extent that the numbers are known, they indicate that the vast majority of unborn children prenatally diagnosed as disabled are killed.
Medical researchers estimate that 80% or more of babies now prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. (They estimate that since 1989, 70% of Down-syndrome fetuses have been aborted.) A high percentage of fetuses with cystic fibrosis are aborted, as evident in Kaiser Permanente’s admission to the New York Times that 95 percent of its patients in Northern California choose abortion after they find out through prenatal screening that their fetus will have the disease.
The frequent use of eugenic abortion can also be measured in dwindling populations with certain disabilities. Since the 1960s, the number of Americans with spina bifida has markedly declined. This dropping trend line corresponds to the rise of prenatal screening. Owing to prenatal technology and eugenic abortion, some rare conditions, such as the genetic disorder Tay-Sachs, are even vanishing in America, according to doctors.
“There really isn’t any entity that is charged with monitoring what has been happening,” says Andrew Imparato, head of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), “A lot of people prefer that that data not be collected. But we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg. This is a new eugenics, and I don’t know where it is going to end.”
“I think of it as commercial eugenics,” says Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment. “Whenever anybody thinks of eugenics, they think of Adolf Hitler. This is a commercial eugenics. But the result is the same, an intolerance for those who don’t fit the norm. It is less open and more subtle. Try to get any numbers on reproductive issues. Try to get actual numbers on sex-selection abortions. They are always difficult to get. If you are involved in that commerce, do you really want people to go: So you aborted how many disabled children? That’s the last piece of information people want out there.”
Indeed, intellectual arguments in favor of eugenic abortion often generate great public outcry. Princeton professor Peter Singer drew fire for saying, “It does not seem quite wise to increase any further draining of limited resources by increasing the number of children with impairments.” Bob Edwards, the embryologist who created the first test-tube baby through in vitro fertilization, has also drawn protests for predicting that “soon it will be a sin of parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.”
But these comments, far from being unthinkable, reflect unspoken mainstream attitudes and practice. Only through political gaffes (and occasional news stories) is eugenic abortion ever mentioned, such as the time in 2003 when a blundering Hillary Clinton objected to a ban on partial-birth abortion because it didn’t contain an exemption for late-term abortions aimed at the disabled. Women should not be “forced” to carry a “child with severe abnormalities,” she said.
In an interview with TAS, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania recalled his 2003 exchange with Hillary Clinton on the Senate floor in which she endorsed eugenic abortion. “It was pretty revealing. She was saying there had to be an exemption for disabled children being aborted as opposed to healthy children being aborted,” he says. “When she realized what she was advocating for, she had to put in the general niceties. But I don’t think you can read her comments and come to any other conclusion than that the children with disabilities should have less constitutional protection than children who are healthy.”
He added that “the principal reason the Democrats defended the partial-birth abortion procedure was for pregnancies that have ‘gone awry,’ which is not about something bad happening to the life of the mother but about their finding out the child is not in the condition that they expected, that it was somehow less than wanted and what they had hoped for.”
What Hillary Clinton blurted out is spoken more softly, though no less coldly, in the privacy of doctors’ offices. Charles Strom, medical director of Quest Diagnostics, which specializes in prenatal screening, told the New York Times last year that “People are going to the doctor and saying, ‘I don’t want to have a handicapped child, what can you do for me?'” This attitude is shared by doctors who now view disabled infants and children as puzzling accidents that somehow slipped through the system. University of Chicago professor Leon Kass, in his book Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity, writes that “at my own university, a physician making rounds with medical students stood over the bed of an intelligent, otherwise normal ten-year-old boy with spina bifida. ‘Were he to have been conceived today,’ the physician casually informed his entourage, ‘he would have been aborted.'”
The impulse behind prenatal screening in the 1970s was eugenic. After the Roe v. Wade decision, which pumped energy into the eugenics movement, doctors scrambled to advance prenatal technology in response to consumer demand, mainly from parents who didn’t want the burdens of raising children with Down syndrome. Now prenatal screening can identify hundreds of conditions. This has made it possible for doctors to abort children not only with chronic disabilities but common disabilities and minor ones. Among the aborted are children screened for deafness, blindness, dwarfism, cleft palates, and defective limbs.
In some cases the aborted children aren’t disabled at all but are mere carriers of a disease or stand a chance of getting one later in life. Prenatal screening has made it possible to abort children on guesses and probabilities. A doctor speaking to the New York Times cited a defect for a eugenic abortion that was at once minor and speculative: a women suffering from a condition that gave her an extra finger asked doctors to abort two of her children on the grounds that they had a 50-50 chance of inheriting that condition.
The law and its indulgence of every conceivable form of litigation has also advanced the new eugenics against the disabled. Working under “liability alerts” from their companies, doctors feel pressure to provide extensive prenatal screening for every disability, lest parents or even disabled children hit them with “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” suits. In a wrongful birth suit, parents can sue doctors for not informing them of their child’s disability and seek compensation from them for all the costs, financial and otherwise, stemming from a life they would have aborted had they received that prenatal information. Wrongful life suits are brought by children (through their parents) against doctors for all the “damages” they’ve suffered from being born. (Most states recognize wrongful birth suits, but for many states, California and New Jersey among the exceptions, wrongful life suits are still too ridiculous to entertain.)
In 2003, Ob-Gyn Savita Khosla of Hackensack, New Jersey, agreed to pay $1.2 million to a couple and child after she failed to flag Fragile X syndrome, a form of mental retardation caused by a defective gene on the X chromosome. The mother felt entitled to sue Khosla because she indicated on a questionnaire that her sibling was mentally retarded and autistic, and hence Khosla should have known to perform prenatal screening for Fragile X so that she could abort the boy. Khosla settled, giving $475,000 to the parents and $750,000 to the child they wished that they had aborted.
Had the case gone to court, Khosla would have probably lost the suit. New Jersey has been notoriously welcoming to wrongful birth suits ever since the Roe v. Wade decision, after which New Jersey’s Supreme Court announced that it would not “immunize from liability those in the medical field providing inadequate guidance to persons who would choose to exercise their constitutional right to abort fetuses which, if born, would suffer from genetic defects.”
According to the publication Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy, “court rulings across the country are showing that the increased use of genetic testing has substantially exposed physicians’ liability for failure to counsel patients about hereditary disorders.” The publication revealed that many wrongful birth cases “are settled confidentially.” And it predicted that doctors who don’t give their patients the information with which to consider the eugenic option against disabled children will face more lawsuits as prenatal screening becomes the norm. “The human genome has been completely mapped,” it quotes Stephen Winnick, a lawyer who handled one of the first wrongful birth cases. “It’s almost inevitable that there will be an increase in these cases.”
The combination of doctors seeking to avoid lawsuits and parents seeking burden-free children means that once prenatal screening identifies a problem in a child the temptation to eugenic abortion becomes unstoppable. In an atmosphere of expected eugenics, even queasy, vaguely pro-life parents gravitate towards aborting a disabled child. These parents get pressure from doctors who, without even bothering to ask, automatically provide abortion options to them once the prenatal screening has diagnosed a disability (one parent, in a 1999 study, complained of a doctor showing her a video depicting the rigors of raising an afflicted child as a way of convincing her to choose abortion), and they feel pressure from society at large which having accepted eugenic abortion looks askance at parents with disabled children.
The right to abort a disabled child, in other words, is approaching the status of a duty to abort a disabled child. Parents who abort their disabled children won’t be asked to justify their decision. Rather, it is the parents with disabled children who must justify themselves to a society that tacitly asks: Why did you bring into the world a child you knew was disabled or might become disabled?
Andrew Kimbrell points out that many parents are given the complicated information prenatal screening yields with little to no guidance from doctors. “We’re leaving parents with complete confusion. Numerous parents are told by doctors, ‘We think there is some fault on the 50th chromosome of your child.’ A number of polls have shown that people don’t understand those odds.”
“There is enormous confusion out there and nobody is out there to help them,” he says. “This is a huge tangle. And it leads people to abort out of confusion: ‘I guess I better abort, because I don’t know. It sounds really bad and I don’t know what the percentages mean.'”
The New Eugenics isn’t slowing down but speeding up. Not content to wait to see if a child is fit for life, doctors are exploring the more proactive eugenics of germline genetic engineering (which tries to create desirable traits in an embryo) and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which is used to select the most desirable embryos after extensive genetic testing has been done before they are implanted in mothers’ wombs.
“The next stage is to actually start tinkering genetically with these embryos to create advantages such as height,” says Kimbrell. PGD is a “gateway technology” that will advance the new eugenics to the point “where children are literally selected and eventually designed according to a parent’s desires and fears,” he says. (Meanwhile, doctors are simultaneously reporting that children born through in vitro fertilization are experiencing higher rates of birth defects than the average population, suggesting that for every problem scientists try to solve through dubious means they create multiple new ones.)
Many countries have banned PGD. But American fertility clinics are offering it. Two-thirds of fertility clinics using PGD in the world are in the U.S., says Kimbrell. “Reproductive technology is an unregulated Wild West scenario where people can do pretty much anything they want and how they want it,” he says.
Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, coined the term eugenics in the 1880s. Sparking off his cousin’s theory of evolution, he proposed improving the human race through eugenics, arguing that “what nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly.” As eugenics passes through each of its stages — from sterilizing the enfeebled at the beginning of the 20th century to aborting the disabled at the end of it and the beginning of the 21st — man is indeed playing God but without any of his providence or care.
Andrew Imparato of AAPD wonders how progressives got to this point. The new eugenics aimed at the disabled unborn tell the disabled who are alive, “disability is a fate worse than death,” he says. “What kind of message does this send to people living with spina bifida and other disabilities? It is not a progressive value to think that a disabled person is better off dead.”