BY Robert Brennan
April 26-May 2, 2009 Issue Posted 4/17/09 at 11:17 AM, NCRegister.com
By now, any engaged pro-life Catholic worth his rosary beads has read and reread the astonishing and sickening story of an abortion clinic danse macabre in Florida where a “failed” abortion produced a perfectly live and healthy baby. The owner of the “clinic” apparently took it upon herself to rectify this medical mishap by severing the baby’s umbilical chord without tying it off first and allowed the little girl to die alone inside the confines of a biohazard plastic bag.
On March 3, 2009, the owner was formally charged with two felonies; practicing medicine without a license, a turn of language George Orwell would have appreciated, and tampering with evidence — that’s the legal term for tossing a dying baby into a dumpster.
You can now go back to your lunch.
The story speaks volumes to the schizophrenic nature of trying to codify infanticide. If the lazy and or incompetent abortion doctor had shown up in time, the baby would have been killed the medically and legally approved way and we would have never heard about the story — and the clinic’s owner wouldn’t be facing legal and civil penalties of any sort.
But because the child was murdered while being completely outside the geography of its mother, the brutish and barbaric nature of the clinic owner’s act is seen in the light of day.
Our new president has made protecting this “right” to kill children a high priority of his new administration and backed up his campaign rhetoric with his left hand by signing away the Mexico City Policy stipulations that the former administration adhered to.
But the Florida story reminded me of a lot of things, and, strangely, it reminded me of my dad, a rat, and a lost baby. Okay, stay with me. That kind of sounded like a Dr. Seuss story for the chemically dependant, but allow me to illuminate.
Way back in time when we were young and nine of my dad’s 10 children were still living under the same roof (our sister Kathy was married by now and officially “out of the house”), we had a little problem with rats. Now, as my wonderful Southern Baptist grandmother would tell us, “There’s nothing shameful in getting rats; only in keeping them.”
Needless to say, we launched a full-scale war against these creepy rodents one fateful summer.
We used traps and poison to great effect.
But catching these little beasties was almost as bad as hearing them scamper in the attic at night.
One hot summer night, with our mom and dad out on their weekly shopping night “date,” we all heard a loud “snap” coming from the side porch. Our oldest brother, Roger, a man in his late 20s at the time, led us all out to see the trap that had sprung: It was the biggest rat I had ever seen, and the trap hadn’t killed him.
It writhed and hissed and gave us all a collective case of the willies.
Even Roger was afraid to go near it. He skittishly scooped up the rat, with trap attached, with a flathead shovel, trying to maintain as much distance between him and the trapped rat as possible.
The rest of us maintained a demilitarized zone directly behind Roger. I’ll always remember the sound the rat made as it slid off the shovel into the bottom of a trash can like some kind of Edgar Allan Poe motif. We then did the only sensible thing: put the lid on the trash can, weighed it down with a brick, and waited for our dad to come home.
When he did and learned of the prey we had captured but not dispatched out on the side porch, our dad calmly went out to the back yard, found a 2 x 4, and with a couple of quick and violent thrusts, chalked one up for the humans.
He knew what to do. I don’t think he relished having to do this to the rat, but rats carry nasty diseases, and he was well within the parameters of the “Just War” theory to do what he did.
Many years before, my dad was in a very different situation.
He was in a hospital where my mother had just delivered an extremely premature child; some would call it a fetus, and some would call it a baby.
This little one was maybe slightly younger than the child in Florida. But this one was taken from my mother and father according to God’s timetable.
Even by the infinitely more life-friendly standards of the 1950s, the baby was still deemed too small and unsubstantial to warrant anything more than a sanitized disposal at the hands of hospital staff. No funeral Mass; no blessing; nothing.
But that wasn’t good enough for my father.
He searched throughout the hospital until he found, of all things, a shoebox; he placed this child in the shoebox, and then, with the help of his brother, a priest, arranged for the baby’s inclusion into the grave of his deceased mother. He knew what to do.
President Obama doesn’t know what my dad knew.
By virtue of his intimate association with so-called abortion-rights groups, he is now the national pro-abortionist in chief and leads a charge where many babies, like the little girl in that abortion clinic in Florida, die as violently as that poor old rat did that summer so long ago.
The settings are different. The abortion clinic is clean and sanitary; the bottom of a trash can is not. But the result is the same — and a baby is not a rat.
Of course, my father did not have the benefit of an Ivy League education. My dad didn’t know that according to an organization like PETA that rat had every much a right to life as he did, and according to NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and its most prominent and powerful advocate in the White House, the baby in that clinic in Florida did not.
Some day, I pray, President Obama will learn what my dad knew.
Robert Brennan writes from Los Angeles.