The Extinction of the Human Race Has Already Begun

March 1988By Edmund B. Miller

The threat of nuclear annihilation is very real and very terrifying. But it is not, alone, the princi­pal evil — only the summary of the evil already among us. Extinction of the human race is incre­mental, not instantaneous. Let me explain.

Last year during Lent (significantly), a friend wrote me and asked me to come to Chicago on the approaching Saturday, which I did. She and a friend of hers met me at the airport; we had dinner together, then met more people at a bar — all of them strangers to me, though I had heard of Jo­seph Scheidler. Leaving the bar, we formed a small caravan of three cars, drove into the heart of the city and turned into an alley. Chicago had been grey and slushy that day; the alley was littered, potholed, and muddy. In the dim light were sha­dows of rats running for cover under trash dumpsters. Our cars stopped at a loading dock; we got out, jumped up onto the dock, and soon pulled a certain powder-blue trash bag from one of the dumpsters. In the bag was a cardboard box sealed with tape; it was taken from the bag and placed on the back seat of one of the cars. We then drove across town to Joe Scheidler’s home. In his garage we carefully opened the box and removed 42 med­ical specimen bags. In each bag was the torn body of a human fetus.

A disgruntled employee at a downtown abor­tion mill had told Joe that the bodies of aborted babies were being thrown into the dumpsters in this rat-alley. All during Lent, then, the dumpsters were checked three times a week; usually, a box of bodies was found.

Why not immediately scream to the authori­ties? It seems that throwing fetal children away, in Illinois, is not illegal. The authorities will get you for putting dead dogs or cats into dumpsters, but there’s no problem with putting dead children in as long as it’s tidily done. So we kept quiet about it — and were really thankful, in a way, that God had given us the opportunity to practice one of the corporal works of mercy in burying his children.

I, who live in Milwaukee, became involved be­cause of a friend here, Monica Migliorino, who ori­ginally came from Chicago and still has many friends there. So when the people in Chicago need­ed a respite from the misery, Monica and I would drive the 100 miles to this alley, get the box, and drive back to Milwaukee. The babies could not be buried immediately for two reasons: difficulty in obtaining burial ground; also, when buried, the press would be informed, the public would hear, and the clinic would stop throwing them away. It may seem odd that we wanted the clinic to contin­ue placing the bodies in the trash, but as long as we were diligent in rescuing them from the dumpsters in order to provide burial it was a far better end than the alternative — to be sent to a pathology lab and incinerated with other “surgical tissue.”

Until burial, then, the bodies, secure from de­cay in their formalin bath, stayed with one of us. I remember well the night it was my turn to house these “poorest of the poor,” as Mother Teresa calls abortion victims. I placed the cardboard box in a trunk in my apartment, and covered the trunk with cloth. I then sat in a chair, looked around my neat, small bachelor’s apartment. I looked at all the good, normal things I had there — my writing ta­ble, the lamp on top; white cotton curtains; the quilt my sister made for me; the photographs of my many brothers and one sister and parents; even the old gas stove, the kind that needs a match to light. All so normal, so good. Then I looked at the trunk. Within were 42 murdered children. Not aborted fetuses or “products of conception.” Mur­dered children. I thought then, “Edmund, if you’re ever going to go insane, now’s the time.”

In a Greek Orthodox church in Chicago there is an icon of the Blessed Mother that weeps. Actual tears proceed from each eye and fall over her breast onto the shoulders of the Christ-child held in her arms. We took some of the bodies to the priest there to be blessed. As he blessed the bodies in front of the icon, his own tears welled up in his eyes. When the blessings were completed he turned to us and said simply, “No wonder that she weeps.”

If only I could describe to you the delicate, near-translucent perfection of the features on the faces of those children! Surely, only God’s artistry could achieve such beauty. Is there any difference in tearing the fetus from the womb and tying me to a pole and ripping me limb from limb? God sees all of time as one eternal moment, and in that mo­ment God sees those tiny bodies in their fulfill­ment. He knows the painter, the waitress, and the mechanic who were pulled from the trash. He knows them and loves them as fully as he knows and loves you and me. He sent his Son for them too. But we did not love them.

All this is very much related to the possibility of nuclear destruction. As I stated, annihilation is incremental; it has already begun. The U.S. popula­tion is now below a stage called “zero-growth.” Abortion is the most common “surgical proce­dure” practiced today. One in four pregnancies ends in abortion. The shame is that, perhaps, in the building in which you work or the neighborhood in which you live, 40 to 50 human lives may be lost in one week — and we never see the victims or hear the cries.

Can we expect nuclear annihilation to pass us by while daily, in each major city of the U.S., hun­dreds of innocent human lives are systematically erased? For seven years I lived within six blocks of an abortion mill and never knew. But I could have known; I should have known (open the Yellow Pages, look under “clinics”).

The real terror of abortion is that it kills not only the body of the child, but the “consciences of all involved” (again, Mother Teresa). It eats away at the most blessed manifestations of God that we mortals know. It is a denial of love. It is also a de­nial of our own human goodness. What must a mother, especially, think of herself to submit to the violation and destruction of her most precious possession, that very motherhood? “Not blessed,” she says, “but cursed is the fruit of my womb.” Many abortions have, in fact, been followed by sui­cides.

If we cannot love God’s innocents, then we cannot love, cannot live. If nuclear holocaust comes, it will only be the summary of what we’ve already committed. We must not lose ourselves in abstract consideration of such issues as armaments, social injustice, and the like to the degree that we forget the real, bodily horror that goes on daily, right down the street. “Do not forget” — that re­quest was made of me by each torn face upon which I looked. Those babies could not cry out, so we must do so for them.

On May 11 all the bodies we had retrieved from the dumpsters were buried in a Chicago ceme­tery. In the end, there were more than 500.

DOSSIER: Abortion

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