Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday and Sadder Day

About a dozen years ago, our oldest son brought home a cat that came from a local grain elevator. We named it for the TV character MacGyver after it escaped from a locked room in our basement by climbing through a bulkhead over a suspended ceiling in an adjoining room where he eventually found a removable access panel in a bathroom. My son grew up and moved away leaving us to care for the cat. MacGyver would climb on my lap every evening totally oblivious to the newspaper I was attempting to read. He would nuzzle against my face until I put down the paper and petted him. He was a nuisance, but still part of the family.

Last evening when I got home from work, MacGyver did not greet me as usual. I found him lying on the floor obviously in pain. Being a Friday evening, I did want to risk having him be miserable all weekend so I hurriedly took him to our veterinarian. The diagnosis was a painful blood clot that was cutting off circulation to his rear legs. The vet offered little hope and suggested that MacGyver be euthanized. Having no one else available to consult, I reluctantly agreed.

The vet promised to give him a sedative so he would not know what was happening. His remains would be respectfully disposed of. She told me I could stay in the room or I could leave. Having been in a room watching my brother die a few years ago, I thought I would be okay with this. After all, I’m a sixty year-old man and this is just a cat. As it turned out, I could not watch. Tears welled up in my eyes and I had to look away. I could not bear the thought of this poor defenseless animal not knowing what was about to happen to him.

Contrast this scene with that of the Philadelphia abortionist accused earlier this week of casually killing babies after they were born by severing the spinal cord with scissors. His office contained bags and bottles of aborted babies, including jars of severed feet that he kept for no apparent purpose. He was charged with eight counts of murder, including that of a woman who died during an abortion procedure.

The grand jury report said the Pennsylvania Department of Health deliberately chose not to enforce laws governing abortion clinics and that they stopped doing inspections after 1993. In other words, they looked away. While everyone knows what goes on at abortion clinics, our society now finds it acceptable as long as they do not see what is really happening. Terminate the baby’s life in the womb, but not after we see his or her cute little face. What is the difference?

Our society treats defenseless animals better than defenseless children. You can be sent to prison for destroying an eagle egg even though the bald eagle is no longer on the endangered species list. In fact, the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal to destroy or remove eggs of any migratory bird from an established nest. Yet, ripping the child from a mother’s womb is perfectly legal.

How callous does one have to be to think killing an unborn human being is okay? And if one thinks late term abortion is not permissible but early term is, on what day does that permission change? If you say day 90, why not day 91 or day 92? And, how do you know when day 90 actually is? The point is that all of this is completely arbitrary. There is no logical time prior to which abortion is okay.

Today is the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in the United States. This morning, President Obama recommitted himself to keeping abortion legal. He said the 1973 ruling “affirms a fundamental principle that government should not intrude on private family matters.” (Like health care?) I wonder if Mr. Obama could watch a defenseless life being ended, or would he look away?