What would you say in response when an unborn child is described in a demeaning and dehumanizing fashion?

By Dave Andrusko

A while back, in response to a genuine bizarre article, I asked NRL News Today readers how they would respond to a blogger’s use of the deeply offensive sneer that the unborn is equivalent to a “parasite.”

I was clear that I was not talking about “fetus,” which is silly (in normal conversations, nobody calls an unborn baby a “fetus) and distancing, but not in the same category.

The answers were 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 we have run over the years that demonstrate the benefits the baby passes onto his or her mother and which remain with her for the rest of her life. One of my favorites was on (of all places) National Public Radio.

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.” USA Today subsequently ran a fascinating complementary article.

Several readers went to the site, which I omitted, because the language found there is more than a little coarse. Sasharusha, they explained, is saying the unborn child acts like a parasite in the sense that the baby is “all take and no give,” as one paraphrased the argument.

Ignore what we just discussed, what is actually an amazing array of benefits the unborn child “bequeaths” to her mother—that, as NPR’s Robert Krulwich describes 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.”

Anne Lamott once wrote an extremely telling memoir, “Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son.” Lamott is brilliant but stupidly pro-abortion and has written some dumb stupid stuff in defense of the indefensible. 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 many important ways 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, and the pressures were enormous on both of them especially with Sam in school full-time. But caring for and nurturing “Jax” brought out qualities in these two young people that the reader (and, I suspect, they) would never have guessed they possessed.

They, like we parents, are forever indebted to their son for helping them climb out of the swamp of narcissism and self-absorption. Talk about gifts! That is giving that no amount of time and care that we spend on them can ever repay.