Taken from the Catholic Universe – 28 July 2013
The nation is this week celebrating the birth of a healthy baby son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – congratulations to this lovely young couple who are undoubtedly going to make wonderful parents.
My heart went out to Kate Middleton, having suffered identical ailments in pregnancy, from severe morning to sickness, to enduring sweltering summer temperatures in the final weeks before delivery. Kate may have many advantages, but chances are she isn’t going to enjoy the opportunity that most of us get to slob around the house in our dressing gowns in the post-natal blissful haze known as the babymoon! Watching the media furore over the past few days was a compelling reason for her to consider having any future births at home.
What was however both telling and heartening was that not once, even in the very early stages of the Duchess’s pregnancy was her son referred to as anything other than what he is, namely a baby. The absence of the word ‘foetus’ which we hear so often in relation to pregnant women, especially in the time before the baby becomes viable, was noticeable. Not once did any reporter or journalist refer to the Royal Baby as ‘the products of conception’, ‘a bunch of cells’, a ‘future potential person’ but for the entire duration of the pregnancy, his humanity and future destiny was explicit. The pregnancy even prompted a rushed change to the succession laws to ensure that the baby would automatically succeed to the throne regardless of their gender.
How many other unborn children have the privilege of being deemed so important that they necessitate a change to the country’s legislation? That’s not in any way to begrudge the status of the newborn, but instead of fighting for an unattainable equality of birth, (far better to concentrate our minds on the equality of death) surely we should all be fighting for the equality for every unborn child to be deemed a baby and thus accorded the opportunity of life?
Whilst we were all quite rightly desperately excited for the royal couple, I wish that some of the excitement and magic of pregnancy could be transferred elsewhere, to the frightened pregnant teen, to the single mother living in a run-down tower block, to the homeless drug addict whose baby will most probably be born with an addiction. Whilst the world was watching and waiting in breathless anticipation, I wondered how many other mothers would be labouring, perhaps alone, without the huge amount of support and well-wishers or loving family unit that the Duchess is fortunate to possess and was reminded of the gross inequality regarding how their pregnancies are viewed by society. Whereas the world would have reacted with horror had the Duchess suddenly decided to abort, proving that the whole notion of choice is a misnomer, had the teen mum or drug addict had an abortion, it would have been seen as the morally correct course of action, that these children would have been better off not born, due to their status and potential health problems.
Every child is born of equal dignity and worth in the eyes of the creator and so in one sense every birth is that of a Royal baby! Kate and William’s baby was never just a cluster of cells, but always a human being in the eyes of everyone, even the most avowed pro-choice commentators, by virtue of the fact that he was wanted. Compare the worldwide interest and concern for this baby’s welfare with that shown for the tragic victims of Kermit Gosnell, the American late-term abortionist who killed newborn babies at full term by snipping their necks. The media was on the whole disinterested and only began to report the distressing details following a widespread campaign on social media.
It’s certainly worth not only noting the dual standards applied by the mainstream media towards the Cambridge baby but also applying it to all children, refusing to allow the frame of clinical euphemism that only serves to dehumanise the unborn. Abortion providers rely upon the power of language to couch the unpalatable truth in terms of medical terminology. We never congratulate pregnant women on their embryos, foetuses, pluripotent cells or products of conception and this is why pro-life counselling groups cause such consternation in that they too are always keen to refer to the baby in purely factual terms. Political language is deliberately used, as in the words of George Orwell it is ‘designed to make lies sound more truthful, murder respectable and give the appearance of solidity to pure wind’.
All babies are deserving of a welcome fit for a prince and every single pregnancy an occasion of great joy as well as an opportunity of service, whether that be from the expectant mother carefully sustaining and providing for her child’s needs, or from those around her who should seek to provide her with every means of support in gratitude for her physical sacrifice. We should be daring to work for a society in which the bunting is hung out for every single baby.
In the meantime we should keep the Duke and Duchess and their new prince in our prayers and hope that they continue to model a strong vision of marriage and family life for the nation. It would be wonderful if they could be generous enough to break the mold and produce a large family of Catholic-sized proportions.
Even better that the baby was born on the feast day of St Mary Magdalene, the icon of a repentant sinner turning back to Christ. Perhaps there’s a portent for the UK in there somewhere? Let’s hope so.