Today’s headline on the Drudge Report did not surprise me in the slightest:
ABORTED BABIES INCINERATED TO HEAT HOSPITALS
The article linked to is this one in the Telegraph:
Aborted babies incinerated to heat UK hospitals:
The remains of more than 15,000 babies were incinerated as ‘clinical waste’ by hospitals in Britain with some used in ‘waste to energy’ plants
I had a variety of thoughts hit me simultaneously and in quick succession. I have read stories about abortionists tossing out sacks of aborted babies. I am aware of the use of fetal materials derived from aborted children to create vaccines. I know that there are companies using fetal remains to do experiments to perfect the taste of foods. (This link gives a good overview of both of those examples). Those are things already happening. Then, there are ‘bio-ethicists’ such as Jacob Appel proposing that women purposefully sell the parts of their aborted children on the open market; his article doesn’t speak to the ethics of, perhaps, a woman conceiving for the express purpose of financing her way through school by selling off the body parts of of her offspring.
And then, of course, there are the people eating aborted babies. It would be better, of course, if we just brought the fetus to term, used it as a sex toy, and then turned it into a health food, but I digress. [Link]
Honestly, with these and many other examples in mind, it is hard to be surprised when perfectly respectable and upstanding medical institutions decide to ‘go green’ by incinerating aborted children. What is surprising is that anyone objects to it at all, if you’ve already come to support abortion on demand.
One of the thoughts that assailed me as I read this article was the irony of a country going to war not too long ago to stop another country from shoving people into ovens, now doing the same.
There are some differences, of course. The English are at least making sure that they are dead, first. But of course, that is not a point in their favor, exactly, because if you have already decided that abortion is ok…. you’ve already decided that the unborn child is not a child at all, or, if a child, not worthy of protection, or not even concerned about sparing them pain and suffering (further irony loaded into that!) and allowing them (where ‘them’, on their view, means only a ‘lump of cells’) to be scalded by saline, or–my personal favorite–allowing the baby’s head to exit the birth canal, but nothing else, to allow the abortionist to jab scissors into the skull, suck the brains out of it, and then afterwards vacuum the rest of it out (this way, it is not yet a baby; it is still a fetus. A magical transformation happens–one of the few bits of magic that liberals, atheists, and pro-choicers believe in–when a baby fully descends down and out of the birth canal; this moment, a fetus. The next moment, a baby. Halfway in? Still a fetus; kill it at will.) …
Yes, if you have already decided all that, and are happily giving out abortions to whomever can pay for them, then it is hardly to your credit that you are not shoving them into ovens alive, because a ‘lump of cells’ can’t really be alive, can it? If you were concerned about that, you wouldn’t have killed it at all. But you can’t kill what isn’t alive… oh, never mind.
But there is of course, another difference, and that is that the foolish Germans, despite their huge emphasis on efficiency that they had during the period, never thought that perhaps they could use the energy created by incinerating Jews to power their factories. Leave it to English ingenuity to cover that angle!
There is a very important similarity, and it is this: the Germans had decided that the Jews were not persons and therefore did not warrant the respect and consideration that we accord to persons (in their mind, the Jews were vermin, like rats), whilst the English have similarly decided that the unborn also are not persons… parasites, rather… and likewise have decided not to accord these little lumps of cells the respect and consideration that we accord to persons. It is fitting, therefore, that in both cases, the refuse is tossed into an oven.
I assume, of course, that the English ovens are specially designed to ensure that in generating energy they do not pollute the atmosphere. After all, while it is only appropriate that we do everything in our power to recycle in order to save the earth, we shouldn’t do so carelessly, putting out baby-ash into the atmosphere, undoing what we just achieved by recycling the biological waste products.
I think there are stages of inhuman violence, both privately and publicly. The first stage, in either case, is a depersonalization of the persons you wish to do violence upon. Before society comes to accept the same de-personalization, it may be necessary to commit the violence in secret, in the dark of night, say, beneath white hoods lit by burning crosses. Or, say, in small acts of cruelty, such as breaking the windows of the vermin in your neighborhood. Or, in the sterile white room, outside the view of onlookers, where children are pulled limb by limb from their mother’s wombs. It is hard to imagine how, when once someone has decided a person is not a person, and this view has come to permeate a whole society, that violence could not eventually spill out into public in grand, horrific fashion.
That the ashes of the unborn rose of the civilized and respectable English men and women in public, grand, horrific fashion–yet, unnoticed by them–does not surprise me in the slightest. (I know, I know. There were no ashes, because the incineration process was environmentally friendly. It’s a rhetorical point, savvy?)
The difference between the ‘civilized’ today and the German Nazis of just a few decades ago seems, to me, to amount to nothing more or less than we moderns carrying out our Holocaust in a more civilized fashion. Obviously, a civilization hosting its Holocaust in privacy is bound to pile up loads more dead than the ones who did it brazenly, but it isn’t just the sheer number that concerns me, but my belief that such depersonalization and violence cannot stay private for long, once a society and culture had collectively decided it is morally justifiable. We may all wonder who the next to be classified as ‘vermin’ or ‘parasites’ are, but I think we can state with confidence that whoever it is, they will be dispatched in pristine white rooms as part of a ‘procedure.’ But we may be decades from this. I don’t know.
While assailed by these thoughts, I could not help but note with a wry smile the Dr. Dan Poulter, the health minister seemingly in charge of this matter, declaring that all of these NHS trusts (27 of them, apparently) had engaged in “totally unacceptable” activities. These same NHS trusts, I wager, are in charge of administering the Liverpool Care Pathway, and we can rest assured that in that at least they have shown much better judgement, and were certainly not guilty of hastening the deaths of the terminally ill and the old in the name of ‘efficiency’ (for which they received awards and rewards!). Certainly not.
But that is another digression, because I feel pretty confident (without actually looking into it) that Dr. Poulter is a firm supporter of a woman’s reproductive rights, up to and including abortion on demand. Why should he view incinerating fetal remains as “totally unacceptable” if he has no objections to having them killed in the first place? Surely it just makes good sense not to let the remains go to waste and instead use them efficiently in the cause of saving the planet.
As in many other cases when private and personal depersonalized violence accidentally (and inevitably) spills out into public to the embarrassment of many ‘civilized’ people, we see people bemoaning something that is far less significant than the underlying violent act that they actually support. Ie, though it is a sign of the times, and perhaps of all times, it is bizarre that it could be deemed “totally unacceptable” to incinerate the ashes of fetuses but the execution of the fetuses in the first place is, of course, seen as perfectly fine. After all, a woman has the right to her own body, and all we are really talking about is an unwanted batch of cells that has parasitically taken up residence inside her. If that’s all it is, then logic ought to suggest that there can be no objection to disposing of those cells unceremoniously, and, if anything, using those cells for the good of the planet or a ‘social good’ should be commended and applauded as “totally acceptable.”
For you see, as abhorrent as I find Jacob Appel’s arguments to be (pretty much all of them, anywhere he has made them, on any topic), he is basically right on the logic:
Of course, those who believe that life begins at conception will never find such a market desirable. But for those of us, myself included, who sincerely believe that human life begins far later in the growth process, I believe that we have a moral duty to women to give due consideration to the legalization of such a fetal-organ trade.
If “human life begins far later in the growth process” as Appel says then it really doesn’t matter what you do with the fetal remains, does it? May as well put it to a good social or environmental purpose, no? And if personhood doesn’t kick in until up to the age of 2, like Singer, Giubilini, and Minerva (to name a few) have maintained, then there is no reason why we should be drawing lines even at the birth canal.
Once you’ve gone down this road, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why we should be drawing any lines at all. They all seem to me to be arbitrary sentimental gobbly-gook. Some day, when we set that sentiment behind us, we won’t have any silly health ministers decrying the incinerating of remains as ‘unacceptable’ while supporting the procedures that made those remains remains in the first place. We’ll just man up to the implications of our collective worldview, and act appropriately. I suppose, if we are all being consistent, there could be a time and place when it will be alright to toss a toddler in the oven, while we’re at it–provided it is to save the planet and does not further pollute it in the process. And why stop at toddlers? No one else in history has, once they’ve wandered down the de-personalization process.
I went after the English pretty hard in this essay, but don’t we already know that it is entirely likely that precisely the same thing is happening in the good ol’ U S of A? What’s in the air you’re breathing?
Nothing like the smell of burning baby in the morning!
I know, I know. Its a fetus, not a baby. And these are efficient ovens.
All the better to conceal the Holocaust that transpired in order to fuel them.
Anthony Horvath is the Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries, an apologetics ministry that focuses on 'literary apologetics,' or using the arts (such as literature) to promote and defend the Christian faith.