Pilate’s question

Pilate’s Question … Again

My aunt recently visited me from Florida, and we drove over to Savannah. En route, she told me about a young couple who are distant relatives, though I don’t know them. They live somewhere in Pennsylvania and I think they’re Methodists—though my aunt isn’t sure about that.

Anyway, they had their first child a few years ago, in their very early twenties, and unfortunately, the little boy lived only an hour or so, due to some complication during the birth. They were told they did not have to have a funeral. I suppose the idea was just to bury the child or otherwise dispose of him. (I’m using that phrase “dispose of” because I just don’t know what else to use!) My aunt simply said they were encouraged not to have a funeral, or even a name. Perhaps—and I’m being as charitable here as my limitations allow—the hospital personnel, and whoever else was involved, sought to minimize grief in this way? I don’t know.

The young couple did not take that advice. On the contrary, they named the child, had a funeral in their local church, and the father dismissed the funeral home staff to carry the small coffin to the grave himself. They have a couple of other children now and the parents take them to visit their elder brother’s grave.

So—are we right to be horrified here, as I admit I was? How is it that the born-alive child’s personhood should be a subjective question, a matter of personal choice? What is the truth? Pilate’s question again. Did someone believe that denying the personhood of this baby would somehow alter the truth? Did they think that the “kindness” of their intention to lessen the parents’ grief somehow determined reality? And do abortionists believe that an unwanted baby is no longer a baby if it’s unwanted? That’s the illogic of the abortion question. If it’s loved and cherished in the womb, then medical personnel—and everybody else—will move heaven and earth to assure its safety. If it’s unwanted, does it cease to be a baby? Is it just something to be sold for parts to help all those babies who were wanted, and who, therefore, were “real” babies.

Further, how do progressive, modern-minded folk who scream about women’s rights—how do they justify this insanely imbalanced treatment? There can be only one explanation for the radical regard for the safety of the wanted child versus the radical disregard for the unwanted: The child is property. Yet these are people for whom there is no greater evil than slavery. But there it is: the wanted child is sacred, endowed with unalienable rights; the unwanted child is a literally disposable thing. Yet both are human babies; what else can account for the difference in how each is regarded by law—and by everybody else who must live in obedience to that law.

Truth is relative. It exists in the eye of the property-owner. And if the Supreme Court says that a person is not a person if his or her owner says he or she is not, then slavery didn’t just survive the civil war, it triumphed. Like Pilate, the Court said truth is relative, and then washed its hands.

Dena Hunt
Dena Hunt is the author of the award-winning historical novel Treason (Sophia Institute Press), and The Lion’s Heart (Full Quiver Press), as well as several short stories and reviews, online and in print, at Dappled Things, StAR, and The Pilgrim Journal. She also writes for FaithCatholic, a liturgical publication company. She is currently working on her third novel. She is the book review editor of St. Austin Review.

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