Profiles from the Culture of Death

The Background: Gruesome reports of forced abortions continue to emerge from China, where a one-child policy has resulted in untold death, chiefly targeting girls. So far, few American media have circulated Monday’s news of a U.S. State Department inquiry into the case of Cao Ruyi, who anti-abortion activists say will be required to abort her child this weekend if she fails to pay a substantial ”social burden fee.”

Tragically, we have no shortage of incidents that remind us of abortion’s horrors, intended and unintended. For example, last fall a hospital in Australia mistakingly killed the wrong twin in a selective abortion. Steven Ertelt, founder and editor of, reports, “The mother of the two babies had wanted to abort the baby who doctors said had little chance to live. But now, both babies are dead.” The doctors told the mother that one of the unborn babies had a heart defect that would require years of surgeries, if the child survived long enough. The mother asked doctors to abort the one child while allowing the other to live.

“However,” Ertelt writes, “the abortion . . . went awry and the wrong baby was injected with drugs meant to end his or her life.”

The Implications: Peter Saunders, CEO of Christian Medical Medical Fellowship in the UK, responds, “The story graphically illustrates the grim reality of the ‘search and destroy’ approach to unborn babies with special needs. Such procedures are now very common although very few involve twins.”

His remarks deserve further reflection:

It is interesting that the killing of an “unwanted” child with special needs in the womb is regarded as “normal” whilst the killing of a “wanted” normal child is seen as a tragedy and worthy of international news coverage.

By contrast the Christian view is that the life of every human individual, regardless of its intelligence, beauty, state of health, or degree of disability is infinitely precious. A just and caring society is one where the strong make sacrifices for the weak, or in the words of the apostle Paul, “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Earlier this week, Ross Douthat’s column “Eugenics, Past and Future” notes the eerie relation of today’s selective abortions to “the American elite’s pre-World War II commitment to breeding out the “unfit.”‘ He concludes:

From a rigorously pro-choice perspective, the in utero phase is a space in human development where disease and disability can be eradicated, and our impulse toward perfection given ever-freer rein, without necessarily doing any violence to human dignity and human rights.

But this is a convenient perspective for our civilization to take. Having left behind pseudoscientific racial theories, it’s easy for us to look back and pass judgment on yesterday’s eugenicists. It’s harder to acknowledge what we have in common with them.

First, a relentless desire for mastery and control, not only over our own lives but over the very marrow and sinew of generations yet unborn. And second, a belief in our own fundamental goodness, no matter to what ends our mastery is turned.

  • Jason B. Hood

    Thanks for this sobering and heart-breaking post.

  • Matt Bailey

    Was this post deleted?

    “Abortion exists because sexual immorality is not punished.”

  • Andy

    As a dad whose wife is about to give birth to our second baby, it is heart rending that anyone could see the pre-born as anything other than needing protection rather than state-sanctioned murder. Where have we gone as a society that we see our own children would be better off dead than adopted out? Not all adoptions are perfect, but in most cases they would be infinitely preferable to never getting to see the sunshine, or feel the wind on your cheek.

    It’s amazing that the politcal left lobby for rights for so many sectors of society, but the most vulnerable and most innocent (considered in a secular sense) are fair game to be summarily killed in the place where they have no advocate to speak on their part, or to defend them.

    It speaks to the amazing patience and love of God that he would wait even this long before Jesus coming again.

    • DKJ

      I think for many women, abortions are easier than having the baby grow inside you, giving birth, then giving up the baby, so they go with the first choice. And if you are against abortions and are for adoption, maybe you should consider adoption yourself? If more Christians adopted instead of only having their own children, then there would be less orphans in the world.

  • dadphil

    Thanks for posting this…tragic!
    And the horror continues when you start to look at IVF and the sad, sad tragedy of embryo selection and disposal. There must be hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of tiny little humans destroyed in the process of “sorting” out which embryos to implant, which to destroy, and which to freeze for possible later use.
    We adopted a tiny baby (embryo) last year, who has now developed into a beautiful 5 mnth old little girl. When you look at the wonder of each human life, it breaks your heart to know that so much of that life is treated with such little respect and compassion.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    When God said He is longsuffering and forbearing and merciful, He wasn’t kidding.

    It’s a miracle He hasn’t wiped us all out for our terrible wickedness or our toleration of terrible wickedness.