In pandemic times we think and talk a great deal about death. We also mount a massive defence, with the help of our continuously advancing scientific knowledge, to protect ourselves from its earlier than expected arrival in our individual lifetimes.
But Pestilence is only one of the Four Horsemen who constantly threaten and sometimes make incursions from the wings of our narrow stage.
In parallel with that pandemic-battling effort, however, our scientific knowledge is also being put to use in the relentless termination of countless human lives. What is wrong with us? Why can we not see the evil of the destruction of life which our warring, our hatred and our selfishness are perpetrating? We fear death but it seems that we do not fear the the evil in our hearts which makes us the perpetrators or the accomplices of the agents of the deaths of millions of our fellow human beings.
Dying is not a problem, it is not even an evil. Do we not remember the immortal words of the philosophical Irish doorman at Abbey Road studios, recorded for posterity in Pink Floyd’s take on death, ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ track on The Dark Side of the Moon?
And I am not frightened of dying
Any time will do, I don’t mind
Why should I be frightened of dying?
There’s no reason for it, you’ve gotta go sometime.
On 3 May an Irish mother cried out on Facebook with the following post. Suspicious that a hidden algorithm might eliminate it, I take the liberty of recirculating it under the sheltering shadow of Garvan Hill.
Jennifer Kehoe writes:
I was manning the One Day More* stand at a Midwives conference in Dublin some time ago when a midwife who had returned from U.K. got chatting to me. She told me that over the years she had routinely advised and signed many forms for pregnant women to undergo tests to detect Down Syndrome. She had worked there for several decades when it dawned on her that she had NEVER even ONCE delivered a child with Down Syndrome. She realised then that she had somehow been blindly part of an eradication system and decided then and there to return to Ireland where sometimes mothers deliver babies who have Down Syndrome.
She was a haunted lady and told me as much.
The same day I spoke to the two very pretty, very made-up girls manning the stand promoting the ‘Harmony’ test which detects Down Syndrome with a simple blood test at an early stage of pregnancy (9 weeks). I asked the very pretty girl with a Killarney accent how she felt about the reality that the test she was promoting leads to an almost blanket eradication of people with Down Syndrome and not actually the condition. She replied that it’s science. I asked her if she thought that abortion was ok for DS and she very sincerely replied that definitely not, it wasn’t. She said that humanly it’s completely wrong but that scientifically it’s ok.
The same day a very very well dressed American lady came to talk to me. She told me about a book she has written about pregnancy loss and she was in Ireland speaking to universities to promote it. She told me about her favourite chapter which was about Fetal Reduction Abortion. That is, in cases of twin, triplet or more babies the mother chooses to reduce the number to whichever is her preference (very prevalent in U.K.). She was brimming with pride about this chapter.
I asked her how the babies are chosen to abort and was it just based on position in the womb and she replied that yes that’s right. I then remarked that it must be awful for the surviving children to realise that their sibling was killed because she was hiding behind her brother or sister. She agreed that that’s true but went on to say how sad and loving it is for a mother to see one, two, three babies hearts being stopped on ultrasound and how she’d be able to have the just number of babies she wanted. One mother she mentioned had said goodbye personally to each child (7 conceived, 5 aborted) as they chose and killed it. Unbelievable.
The only thing I could think of saying is ‘I think that’s absolutely terrible’.
The look on her face made me realise that she had likely never heard that said before, she was completely taken aback.
It was the most disturbing day of my life. I truly believe I had glimpsed the cold yet beautifully presented face of evil. Why would evil sell itself with red eyes and cloven feet? We’d run a mile. When evil presents with Lancôme and designer clothes and whitened smiles it lulls and attracts us. Real evil tells us that something unthinkable is good.
I’ll tell you, I hugged my children that evening just to seep in their goodness. The only antidote to evil is goodness.
The reason I wrote this testimony is to show that abortion damages EVERYBODY who crosses it’s path. It dehumanises, brutalises, hardens and breaks EVERYBODY. It has clearly damaged those people I met, it damages the doctors and everybody even remotely involved in the trade, it damages millions of women across this so beautiful world every year, it damages the people who don’t abort but were mistreated because of not aborting, it has damaged the people canvassing for repeal, made them vulgar and rude and coarse, it has damaged the person who smeared chewed gum on my car before Ireland’s referendum and wrote ‘vote yes’ all over it in the dust because they spotted some LoveBoth* leaflets on the seat. Most of all it damages the little ones who lose their lives like leaves falling from a tree. Abortion is a rotten business, it has NO redeeming characteristics. The sooner mankind is rid of this plague the sooner we can start to rebuild the shambles we’ve made of the world.
* Pro Life organisations.