What to say when an unborn child is described as a ‘parasite’?”

By Dave Andrusko

A while back, in response to a genuinely bizarre article, I asked readers how they would respond to the deeply offensive sneer that the unborn is equivalent to a “parasite.”

The answers were both indignant and very thoughtful.

One wrote back that she thought dismissing the unborn as a “clump of cells” was as far as you could go to dismiss their humanity. “But I was wrong,” she wrote. “At least a ‘clump of cells’ implies a HUMAN clump of cells.”

Others took the discussion in a different direction. One woman who had lost her baby late in pregnancy wondered if “Sasharusha” (the name the blogger gave herself) would look at that perfectly formed human being and see a “parasite”? Women who had lost their babies “would be up in arms over the idea of our precious heaven-born babies being viewed as parasites.”

Another reminded me of the stories NRL News Today has run in the past that demonstrate the benefits the baby passes onto her/her mother and which remain with her for the rest of her life. For example, NPR ran a story about the increasing evidence that “when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or daughter, [but] an army of protective cells–-gifts from her children that will stay inside her and defend her for the rest of her life.”

There actually is an amazing array of benefits the unborn child “bequeaths” to her mother. As NPR’s Robert Krulwich described it, “the son or daughter cells stay in mom…to protect, defend and repair her for the rest of her life whenever she gets seriously ill.”

USA Today subsequently ran a fascinating complementary article.

Speaking of the benefits of (in this case born) children. A while back I finished in two sittings Anne Lamott’s amazing book, “Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son.”

Lamott is brilliant but has written some astonishingly ill-informed pro-abortion stuff defending the indefensible. (See my critiques here and see also here.) But she is nonetheless an astonishingly gifted writer with great insights in other areas.

I bring up “Some Assembly Required” because it teaches one of the great lessons that all of us parents (and even more so, we grandparents) know deep down. In caring for our children, helping them to grow up and mature, we are at least as much the beneficiaries as they are, probably more. (I cringe when I think how immature I was when we had our first child.)

Lamott’s son, Sam, and his girlfriend were young and not married (as was Lamott when she had Sam). The pressures were enormous on both of them especially with Sam in school full-time. But caring for and nurturing their son brought out qualities in these two young people that the reader (and, I suspect, the couple) would never have guessed they possessed.

They, like we parents, are forever indebted to their baby son for helping them climb out of the swamp of narcissism and self-absorption.