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.
11 thoughts on “A beautiful royal baby – now we need equality for every unborn child”
I love this post. Similar thoughts have been on my mind. And those babies of drug addicted mothers are little precious treasures who can live very happy lives in adoptive families. (And
we were told alcohol is more of a problem than drugs, for the child’s future)
My cousin is involved in dealing with drug addicts. She describes the babies of heroin and meth addicts as having severe developmental and mental issues. That doesn’t stop them being precious little treasures, but romanticising just how ill these kids can be doesn’t help the issue either.
This is assuming, by the way, that the children get adopted and that’s not, unfortunately, a given for babies and infants from these very deprived and chaotic backgrounds, because prospective adoptive parents are now given full information about their circumstances and may be horrified by what they find. A good example of good intentions with unexpected consequences.
No-one is romanticising how ill these children can be, but then again there are plenty of potential people prepared to adopt an unwell or disabled child as this recent case demonstrated.
Basic equality should allow for every child in utero to be born.
All children should indeed be wanted children. But the reason that story made the headlines is because it’s rare. The children languishing in foster homes in both the UK and the US are children with ‘special needs’, which include behavioural disorders from chaotic infancies. It’s simply not true there are people lining up to take disabled or troubled babies, infants or children. It’s disingenuous to suggest there are.
This is not, of course, an argument for (or against) abortion. But glossing over how truly difficult the issue of unwanted children is doesn’t help.
A child should not be aborted because they are not ‘wanted’. It is true that there is a criminally high number of children languishing in state care, but this is because the adoption system needs a serious overhaul with prospective parents being declined on the most spurious of grounds.
A quick look at the number of approved couples on the register compared to the actual number of adoptions (especially in the newborn category) bears out the problems in the system.
We must not deny people the basic right to life on the querulous grounds that they are unwanted or may face challenges.
Sure. I believe in reproductive rights, but for me that’s a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body, not abortion as a method of getting rid of the socially undesirable.
But my point was that talking about all children being born as being suddenly wanted the day they arrive is cruelly disingenuous. As is trumpeting media reports around of a unique case, as though that represents the norm. When it doesn’t. Babies taken away from inadequate parents – prostitutes, drug addicts, criminals, abusers – don’t suddenly find themselves adopted into loving homes. Often because the ‘approved couples’ themselves reject these children.
I want to emphasise, I do not believe in abortion to solve social problems any more than I believe in gender selection abortions. I’m merely pointing out that the argument that was made – that children of drug addicts get to lead happy lives in the arms of wonderful adopters isn’t true.
That argument wasn’t made in the original piece, quite the opposite.
True. I was responding to the comment.
I agree with your essential point, which is that we should value children.
I think if you’d read the Duchess’s ultrasound reports, you’ll have discovered the radiographers referred to George as an embryo or foetus. It is the medically correct term – take it from a former medical typist.
Foetus is Latin for little one. We were all little ones once.
Women who have miscarriages do not have a right to choose what is happening to their own bodies. The miscarriage is happening and there is nothing that they can do about it. It is nature deciding that the little one will not live.
Woman who have abortions do not have a right to choose what is happening to their own bodies. Human beings do not have a right to decide when they themselves will die. Human beings do not have a right to decide whether their baby will be brought to term or the baby will have his or her life ended.