What do Margaret Sanger, After Tiller, and child euthanasia have in common? The idea that some lives are not worth living.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a firmly-rooted eugenicist who believed that certain types of people had no business existing, much less reproducing. Her vision of the ideal world did not include humans whom she considered “unfit.” And the list of the “unfit” included everyone from “morons,” to “professional prostitutes” and “unemployables.” In Sanger’s worldview, there was a burden placed upon the “fit” to reproduce, and her goal was to eradicate all who did not belong in that limited category of humans.
Sanger’s view bears striking similarity to that of medical professionals and abortionists who urge the parents of pre-born children with fetal anomalies to abort their children. On Monday, PBS will utilize tax funding to air a documentary, After Tiller, chronicling the work for four late-term abortionists. Many of their patients are mothers pregnant with children who have received undesirable prenatal diagnoses.
As almost any mother who has dealt with a devastating prenatal diagnosis for her child could testify, the news is crushing, all-consuming, and unbelievably emotional. Many of these mothers have an accompanying story of how their medical professional encouraged them to “terminate the pregnancy.” There will be no “quality of life” for the child, they are told. The child will suffer, they are told. You will suffer, they are told.
In their emotional frailty, bombarded with insinuations from leaders whom they trust that abortion is the right thing to do, mothers turn to late-term abortionists in distress. They want to do the right thing, and contrary to their innate urge to protect the child from all harm, they are being told in their emotional plight that killing the child is merciful, and that once it is over they will know they did what was right for themselves and for their child.
Margaret Sanger’s worldview is very much alive in this situation. Obstetricians have bought into the notion that “quality of life” trumps “right to life.” They are not encouraged to wait and see what happens at birth, to give the baby a chance to fight, or — most disappointing of all — to see what the baby actually has to offer the world himself by being given the chance to exist. Yes, maybe he will die in his mother’s arms after he is born. Yes, maybe he will suffer. But suffering should not determine a person’s inherent value.
Unfortunately, in Belgium, suffering has become a measure of value. Like the babies who are killed in utero to prevent low “quality of life” after birth, suffering children in Belgium — where child euthanasia was legalized this year — are now evaluated on a scale that equates quality of life with right to life. Children who are suffering from illness can request to be euthanized — a sad fact that testifies to Belgium’s failure to hold up all life as a valuable gift.
Viewing only certain, select lives as valuable represents a miserable failure to the suffering, or “unfit” of the world. These can become the direct victims — of Margaret Sanger’s eugenics, abortionists’ brutality, or “progressive” countries’ euthanasia. But the direct victims of these actions are not the only ones victimized by this worldview. Indeed, every human to whom it is suggested that his value is measurable by another person suffers a grave injustice.