Volume > Issue > The Modern-Day Little Shop of Horrors

The Modern-Day Little Shop of Horrors


By Judie Brown | January-February 2014
Judie Brown is president and cofounder of American Life League, a three-time appointee to the Pontifical Academy for Life, and a Contributing Editor of the NOR.

It was once understood by the vast majority of people that each individual person is created by God in His image and likeness and is therefore an original and unrepeatable phenomenon. Most people knew, therefore, that every human being deserves respect and affirmation. Of course, there have always been murderers, rapists, plunderers, and other sorts of barbarians who surely did not appreciate human dignity. For the most part, however, it is safe to say that human lives were not viewed as disposable. Few would have thought of a person as equivalent to a piece of garbage.

But all that is changing.

News reports regularly provide examples of the new mentality. This October in Wisconsin, for example, a 33-year-old woman was charged with “concealing the death” of her child after she gave birth prematurely, allegedly wrapped the baby in a plastic bag, and tossed him in the garbage (WSAW.com, Oct. 30, 2013).

While cases of infanticide invariably evoke raw emotions, our communities rarely express the same level of horror when the killing occurs during pregnancy. Recent opinion polls suggest that the vast majority of Americans don’t consider the fact that a baby dies during an abortion; they are willing by and large to keep abortion legal in most circumstances. For example, a survey conducted in December 2012 by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that 83 percent of Americans favor restrictions on abortions. Of that 83 percent, only ten percent of respondents said that abortion should never be allowed. In other words, merely restricting the killing is just fine with most of us.

One has to wonder whether it has occurred to our fellow citizens that today there are more and more techniques for eliminating the youngest of our human family as well as for creating them in laboratories. This has come to pass because, after forty years of decriminalized abortion, freely available contraception, and abuse of the human embryo, the elderly, and the otherwise marginalized, nearly anything that once shocked us now gets nary a second thought.

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