The Lessons of Andy

By Jean Garton

Editor’s note. Although it does truly seem like yesterday, we lost this pro-life giant three years ago. Jean, my friend of over 30 years, wrote many stories for NRL News and NRL News Today. Periodically, we run one of her terrific posts for those who were not privileged to read the magnificent work of the author of the pro-life classic, “Who Broke the Baby?” In so doing it would remind pro-lifers, especially younger ones, that we stand on the shoulders of giants.

This is a story about Andy whose life came to be known throughout the world. Born with stumps for feet, Andy couldn’t walk or swim. When Gene Fleming, an inventor in Nebraska, made customized baby shoes for Andy, he was soon toddling around and greeting everyone who came by. He visited schools and hospitals, encouraging disabled children for whom he was something of a role model.

Then one day in 1991, when Andy was four years old, he was kidnapped and brutally murdered. No motive or suspects have ever been found. Authorities called the incident “senseless destruction.” Andy’s death made news around the globe. It was featured on TV networks, and newspaper headlines read “Beloved Goose Found Murdered.”

Yes, Andy was a goose! He was discovered with his neck broken and his head and wings pulled off while still wearing the baby shoes made especially for him.

“Why would anyone do that to this poor little goose,” asked Andy’s owner, Nadine Fleming. “He was my pet,” she said, “but someone broke into his house, kidnapped and killed him.” It was a cruel, barbaric and tragic act, and his loss was mourned by many.

It seems ironic, doesn’t it, that it was his disability–the absence of feet–that made Andy special. Then when someone found a way to meet the challenge of that disability it made Andy famous and beloved.

Why don’t we do that for unborn children? Thousands are aborted when it is discovered that they may have a limitation, whether slight or large. Like Andy who was torn apart in a brutal way, in abortion the unborn are torn apart, dismembered, scalded, or killed in other horrific ways.

Why don’t their limitations make them special instead of making them disposable?

Unlike Andy who was personalized by having a name, unborn children are treated as non-persons, not only in our culture but also in our law. Non-human entities such as corporations, trade unions, and ocean going vessels are accorded personhood. They are protected under the law, but living human unborn children aren’t!

Can a corporation have a blood transfusion? Can a trade union experience physical pain? Can an ocean going vessel have heart surgery?

Human unborn children can experience all of those while still in the womb!

When the category of “human being” changes from fixed to fluid, the certainties that biology teach us simply dissolve. Who is or isn’t a human being is inevitably up for grabs.

Inalienable human rights quickly become alienable. The word “inalienable” means “a right of which I cannot be deprived; a right of which I cannot even deprive myself.” That is why, in the past, the U.S. opposed abortion, suicide and euthanasia.

The key phrase in that sentence is “in the past.”

Since 1973 the anti-life forces have targeted the little ones in the womb who are unwanted for any reason,–especially those with a limitation (like Andy)–and children born with major medical problems. However increasing human beings at the other end of life’s spectrum are in the crosshairs when they become, like the unborn, dependent, disabled, nonproductive, or “unwanted.”

Are you a human being? By whose standard? In whose opinion? It gets very “iffy” for all of us when human beings are not recognized as deserving of legal protection, beginning in the womb and extending through natural death.

But for all the bad news, the far more important good news is that the unborn and the medically vulnerable have a legion of defenders, women and men, young and old, who will not rest until all are protected in law.

I once wrote a “Top Ten” list for National Right to Life News, those indispensable individuals who are the solid gold of our movement and who, at great sacrifice, have given us a foundation and a vision with which to shape the future.

With no order or ranking, since all are valuable and essential, here is my Top Ten List of Gifts to Unborn Children.

1. The Seasoned Warriors who were in the first wave of the battle and, 42 years later, are still standing and devoting their time, talent, and treasure to the defense of unborn children.

2. The Angels in supportive services who counsel and uphold women struggling with untimely pregnancies while providing a loving and practical response to crisis situations.

3. The Influencers – – priests, pastors, teachers, speakers and writers who promote the sanctity of human life.

4. The Whistleblowers – – men and women of honor and conscience who have testified to the cruel workings of abortion clinics and the brutality of abortion procedures.

5. The Mind-Changers who once favored abortion as a woman’s right but who are now valuable witnesses in the vital struggle against an evil and killing movement that promotes death solutions to life’s problems.

6. The Pray-ers who faithfully call on the greatest Power of all and Whom we thank for each success, recognizing that our victories can only be explained in terms of the God.

7. The Parents who instill in their children an appreciation for the gift of life and the importance of protecting all members of the human family.

8. The Wounded – – women and men who are also victims of abortion and, having been deceived by the seductive rhetoric of abortion, are now willing to publicly share their pain to save others from the suffering.

9. The Legislators – – who continue to hold to their convictions and to seek legal protection for unborn children.

10. The Disabled – – who are the greatest of teachers of the truth that human life is valuable regardless of age, stage, or condition because it is – – simply and wondrously – – human life.

The Bible says: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1) The time is now; the season is now; the activity is righteous.

A lesson is gradually being learned throughout this land: abortion kills babies, hurts women, and is a violation of every core principle that we believe in as Americans.