A Schizophrenic Nation

By Carol Tobias, President, National Right to Life

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines schizophrenia as a psychotic disorder with serious specific characteristics. Its second definition is “contradictory or antagonistic qualities or attitudes.”

Based on this second definition, when it comes to Life, I think it’s safe to say that our country is schizophrenic.

After almost 44 years and 59 million dead babies, this country is still not comfortable talking about abortion. It’s not a topic at the family dinner table. “Well, Susie, what did you do today?” “Oh, I went to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion.” Women don’t tell co-workers they will not be at work tomorrow because they’re going to get an abortion.

Because of right-to-life efforts to keep the fate of unborn child alive as part of the public debate, this country still knows that it’s wrong to kill unborn children. Any woman in this country who is considering abortion knows that someone–a family member, a friend, co-worker, or neighbor– would counsel her not to do it.

This loss of respect for the innocent human life of that defenseless unborn child has created a mindset that no human life is special. The elderly and persons with disabilities are being denied food and water, and medical treatment, because someone decided they are a “burden” taking up space and resources.

However, while our country legally condones the killing of unborn children, and devalues the lives of other vulnerable persons, the children who did survive, the so-called “wanted” children, have become even more precious– maybe because they survived.

Consider: The development of technology has allowed us to declare “Amber alerts” nationwide. If a single child is missing, the entire country is asked to help find him/her. This is an unqualified good– we should search for every missing child and grieve for every lost child. But this highlights our schizophrenia.

A less unqualified good, perhaps, are parents so overtly involved in their children’s lives that a recent phenomena—“helicopter parents”– has arisen. The parents are “hovering” not just in their young children’s lives– there are stories of parents who phone their college-student children to wake them up for class, or even attend job interviews with them.

Some might say it’s a paradox that at the same time we dispose of more than a million unborn children each and every year, the children who “survive” are cherished and protected.

A better explanation, I believe, is schizophrenia.