Roe v. Wade, the “Cave Boys,” and the stain of abortion on our national character

By Dave Andrusko

Cave or Womb?
Photo credit: shutterstock.com

I suspect I was but one of tens, if not hundreds of millions of people who checked their Ipads and Droids and laptops every hour or so to hear the latest updates about the 12 teenage soccer players and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand.

The good—make that wonderful, even miraculous—news is that all were saved. There was a, however, a loss of life. Saman Gunan, a Navy Seal diver, came out retirement to try to save the boys. “He served as a volunteer during an overnight mission in which he had been delivering oxygen canisters in the Tham Luang cave system,” according to Sky News.

Columnist Mona Charen wrote a fascinating piece titled, “What the Cave Boys Teach about Abortion.”

She asks this pointed and provocative question: why so much attention to these boys, ages 11-16, when there is so much mass misery in the world?

The answer is drama. We saw images of these particular boys crouched in that cave. We learned of the long odds against a successful rescue – their debilitated health after so many days without food and water, the sharp rocks, narrow passages, and nearly complete darkness of the cave, and waters that challenged even experienced divers (as the death of a Thai Navy seal underscored). Some of the boys didn’t even know how to swim, far less scuba dive. ….We saw those boys as individuals and thus our sympathy was engaged.

What is the connection to abortion? Stay with me for two more paragraphs.

The miracle—and even now I think of it as a kind of miracle—of ultrasound, its power of revelation. It has utterly changed the way many-to-most of us relate to unborn children.

When my wife and I saw the first ultrasound of our first child back in 1983, I have to admit (now, not then) that I didn’t see much of anything; the technology was that primitive.

Not now! “Once grainy and hard to interpret for non-experts, ultrasound images are now clear and unambiguous,” Charen writes. “They reveal that fetuses as young as 15 weeks old will move to avoid a bright light shined on the mother’s belly. They reveal fetuses placing their hands in front of their faces, palm out, sucking their thumbs, getting hiccups, and smiling. Some interpret these smiles as random muscle movements rather than true smiles since born babies rarely smile until six weeks old. But try telling the besotted parents who glimpse a smile on a sonogram that it means nothing. That’s the way we’re wired.

“Ultrasound is like those cameras in the cave. It reveals the humanity of those inside a dark, inaccessible place.” She adds, “And some women report not feeling pregnant until they’ve seen the ultrasound image.”

Her point is reinforced by Malcolm Nicolson, who authored a history of ultrasound. Nicolson told LiveScience, “Overwhelmingly, pregnant women expect to be scanned, and are moved and excited by seeing the fetus.”

If you are a hard-core, dyed-in-the-wool, never-say-live pro-abortionist, all of this is just hooey. Who cares if the unborn child is no longer shrouded, out of sight, out of mind? What difference does it make that it is impossible to deny our common humanity? So what if the unborn child moves and tumbles and (if a twin) jostles with his/her sibling—and all in plain view?

But to the rest of us, it raises the moral ante by making it increasingly difficult to rationalize the execution of our own children as nothing more than an abstract exercise of “choice.”

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor walked to the brink of recognizing the insanity of abortion before retreating. But her point in a dissent rings even more true today than in her 1983 dissent in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health: “The Roe framework , then, is clearly on a collision course with itself.”

Justice O’Connor was referring to the three trimester framework Justice Blackmun concocted in Roe v. Wade. But the entirety of Roe is on a collision course with improved medical technology, a more aware public, and a growing realization that abortion is a horrible abomination, a dark stain on our national character.

Roe must, and will, go!