After the horrific massacre in Newtown, I remember watching a news segment that asked where the increase in sociopathic behavior was coming from.
Sociopathic behavior doesn’t have to be as extreme as opening fire on a classroom full of kindergartners. It includes what we consider “everyday” acts of people stomping on (literally and figuratively) their fellow human beings. And there’s no better example than the treatment of Republican Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler.
Last week, Beutler posted a message on Facebook saying her unborn child has been diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome. This condition, which prevents the kidneys from developing properly, is typically fatal for the baby.
While many offered Beutler love and support, others took it as an opportunity to gloat or proclaim that the child should be aborted. Matthew Archbold, a writer for the National Catholic Register, collected some of the comments left at the Huffington Post and elsewhere. A few gems:
— Oh goody… and she’s GOP…. let’s all watch this one develop. Let’s see if she follows the party line ….
–Abort the baby. Wait a few months. Get pregnant again. This is not a big deal.
— Why not be proactive and get an abortion?
— Sorry, prayers won’t do a damn thing.
— She should just go to a Planned Parenthood and be done with “it”, after all, it’s not a human yet.
–I laugh at her in that her political ideology has her in a corner I would wish nobody in.
This sickening behavior – gloating over a baby’s illness and her mother’s pain – is more common than you might think.
Back in 2009, a young single woman, Myah Walker, learned that her baby had anencephaly, a fatal anomaly in which only part of the brain develops. Instead of terminating the pregnancy, Myah decided to carry the baby (named Faith Hope) to term, and chronicle her experience on a blog.
The response? An avalanche of hate. Entire blogs were created to slam Myah and her child.
The first thing you’ll gather from reading these blogs is that these people are really, really angry, because – well, I’m not sure why. Because Myah walked the walk when it came to her Christian beliefs and eschewed abortion? The hate brigade weirdly accused her of “bigotry,” ridiculed her for supposedly being date-raped by the child’s father, and e-mailed her lists of suggestions for how she could off her “zombaby,” who lived to be three months old.
Throughout the 2008 campaign and beyond, liberal bloggers and “comedians” hurled abuse at Sarah Palin’s infant son, Trig, who was born with Down syndrome. Jeff Stuef of Wonkette celebrated Trig’s third birthday by sneering, “‘Oh, little boy what are you dreaming about’…What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded.”
And it’s not just controversial politicians and their children who receive this sort of treatment after deciding to “keep” a special needs child. Just ask Live Action’s very own Cassy Fiano, who gave birth to her son, Wyatt, after receiving a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.
“Online, it’s mostly the usual… people calling him a retard, saying he’ll never have a meaningful life. Stuff like that,” Cassy told me. “The worst is one girl who told me that I was crazy for having him and I should have had an abortion. Another person told me I shouldn’t have any more kids because Wyatt would be too much of a burden.”
What motivates these people to abuse women who have chosen to carry to term despite a poor prenatal diagnosis? I strongly suspect that many of them have been involved in an abortion – or know they would want one in a similar situation. It angers them to see someone make a choice they didn’t have the courage to make themselves. But it’s impossible for any normal-thinking person to really know what motivates them.
Like all good sociopaths, the bullies try to shift blame on to the victims, saying they were “asking for” such treatment because of their political views. Since a pro-lifer would “force” women in her situation to give birth, she deserves to be shamed and harassed throughout her difficult pregnancy.
But anyone with a normal sense of compassion and empathy would say that’s not just irrational. It’s evil. Few things are more sociopathic than abusing a pregnant woman carrying a terminally ill child – no matter what her political affiliation.