By Dave Andrusko
The wonders of the Internet and saved stories hidden away on your hard drive.
I was researching my response to yet another puff piece hailing abortionist Willie Parker when I ran across a column I read a year or two ago. It was by Ross Douthat, a columnist for the New York Times, and the title of his superb piece was “Looking Away From Abortion.”
Bless his heart, Mr. Douthat began his column with an excerpt from an essay that appeared in “Mortal Lessons: Notes On The Art Of Surgery,” a magnificent book written by Dr. Richard Selzer published in 1976. The title of the essay is “YOU SAW AND YOU KNOW.”
What Selzer saw is as good an example of the shock of recognition as you will ever find. After a garbage truck left, Dr. Selzer finds “a foreignness upon the pavement.”
But the “it” is not an “it” at all, but fetal body parts which a hospital
mixed up with the other debris” instead of being incinerated or interred. “It is not an everyday occurrence. Once in a lifetime, he [the hospital director] says.”
The bag containing the babies’ remains had fallen off the garbage truck and broken open. It was very important to the hospital director that Selzer understand what had happened—and to himself as well, it appears.
It mattered to him that Selzer know that “aborted fetuses that weigh one pound or less are incinerated. Those weighing over one pound are buried at the city cemetery.”
Why the need for the meticulous detail? Selzer speculates that it is an attempt to offer a rationale—an assurance—that contrary to your lying eyes, the world has not gone crazy. The hospital director’s explanations are to assure us so that
Now you see. It is orderly. It is sensible. The world is not mad. This is still a civilized society…
But Selzer DID see, in the only way that matters.
“All at once you step on something soft. You feel it with your foot. Even through your shoe you have the sense of something unusual, something marked by a special ‘give.’ It is a foreignness upon the pavement. Instinct pulls your foot away in an awkward little movement. You look down, and you see… a tiny naked body, its arms and legs flung apart, its head thrown back, its mouth agape, its face serious. A bird, you think, fallen from its nest. But there is no nest here on Woodside, no bird so big. It is rubber, then. A model. A joke. Yes, that’s it, a joke. And you bend to see. Because you must. And it is no joke. Such a gray softness can be but one thing. It is a baby, and dead.
As he ponders what he has seen and heard—and what it means — Selzer concludes
But just this once, you know it isn’t [sane and sensible]. You saw, and you know.
And once you see and you know, you can never stop fighting to save unborn babies and our culture.
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