Listen to the Thought for the Week
Why Didn’t Someone do Something?
On May 24, 1935, Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler signed the Nuremberg Laws, which denied the rights of citizenship to an entire class of people. They were now designated as subjects without citizenship rights. Over the next several years, these “subjects” were expanded to include multiple groups of people who were initially discriminated against and subsequently exterminated. One of the earliest manifestations of the Holocaust began with the Aktion T4 program in 1939, which was the euthanasia of handicapped and disabled children, a bellwether of the horrors to come. Commenting on the Aktion T4 program and medical care for disabled infants, Josef Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda, said that “[d]ecisions about medical care are not always about save the infant at all costs” and “[t]he idea that every infant that is born alive should have intensive intervention is also false.” Clearly, some children were worthy of life and medical care and some were “untermenschen” – that is inferior beings – who were unhealthy and unfit for life. Like many slippery slopes, Aktion T4 started out well-regulated with the stipulation that any child selected for euthanasia must be examined by a specifically authorized German physician and then had to be deemed, “incurably sick, after most critical medical examination” and then administered a “mercy death” (Gnadentod) (1). Those to be killed were identified as “all children under three years of age in whom any of the following ‘serious hereditary diseases’ were ‘suspected’: idiocy and Down syndrome (especially when associated with blindness and deafness); microcephaly; hydrocephaly; malformations of all kinds, especially of limbs, head, and spinal column; and paralysis, including spastic conditions (2).”
The reports were assessed by a panel of medical experts, of whom three were required to give their approval before a child could be killed (2). Predictably and horrifyingly, this led to one of the most evil mass genocides in human history, an act that has never been rivaled for its clinical organization and single-minded operational efficiency.
A conscience of even small civility boggles at how innocent children were systematically slaughtered without so much as a care or concern. Indeed, the program was praised for its contribution to the health of the fatherland, and this murder was celebrated for its advanced eugenics in strengthening the German people (3). What started out as the disabled and infirm eventually became Jews, Romani, Africans, and other “undesirables”, such that, by war’s end, some 300,000 were murdered just by the Aktion T4 program alone. We are left to wonder, why didn’t someone do something? This conduct was clear and visible to even a cursory examination. Why didn’t the people rise up? Why didn’t other countries act?
Why didn’t someone invade Minnesota and depose the government?
Oops, did I say Minnesota? I meant Germany, but I suppose we can drop the ruse. On May 24, 2023 (not 1935, as above), Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) signed the One Minnesota Budget of 2023 into law. This is actually a group of 12 bills, including the state’s Health and Human Services appropriations Omnibus bill (SF 2995) that passed in both the House and Senate along party lines, removing protections for the unborn and newborn, and support for pregnant women. Notably, the One Minnesota Budget, constituting over 800 pages, was submitted the day before the last day of the legislative session and railroaded through without consultation, consideration for, or conference with House Republicans. Seems legit, no? Democracy in action?
The Minnesota legislature and Walz administration have now made Minnesota one of the most rabidly pro-abortion jurisdictions in the entire world. The unborn have been reclassified as “subjects without citizenship rights” and they are not protected even after birth. The One Minnesota bill removed language in the law requiring medical providers to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive as a result of a failed abortion. Minnesota also had reporting requirements on actions taken to save the life of a child who had survived an abortion attempt. These reporting requirements have now been removed, so infanticide can occur without scrutiny or review. “A private matter between a pregnant person and her doctor” to paraphrase the pro-abortion zealots.
Representative Tina Liebling (D), the bill’s author in the House, spoke in defense of removing born-alive language at the conclusion of the floor debate. Liebling stated that decisions about medical care are not always “save the patient at all costs” and “the idea that every infant that is born alive should have intensive intervention is also false (4).” (Did you really think Josef Goebbels said that? It’s a lot, even for him.) Ms. Liebling represents the City of Rochester, home to the Mayo Clinic, where, I suppose, they really care about the health of the “worthy.” Perhaps they looked at Iceland’s curing of Down Syndrome by exterminating every unborn child with the condition and thought, “Hey, these people are on to something! Maybe we can do them one better!”
Since evil likes to be complete, the Minnesota bill also increased funding for abortion by mandating that the state’s health care program, MinnesotaCare, now cover abortion. Of course, the bill also removed funding from pregnancy resource centers that provide assistance to mothers and families during pregnancy and after birth. This saves the state about $3.4 million, or a whopping 0.004% of the state’s budget, now with a $17.5 billion surplus (4). Leave no stone unturned!
Because gender ideology carpools with abortion in the evil lane, the One Minnesota bill also is replete with provisions providing for medical assistance to cover “gender-affirming” services (4).
Symmetrically, the Minnesota legislature opened the session with bill HF-1, the Protect Reproductive Options Act, which codified a right to abortion. Bookends of murder, one might say. (If an option ends the unborn life, how is that reproduction? But I digress.)
In response to this, the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul has mobilized a multi-media campaign, contacting over 400 Catholic organizations statewide, calling for a “Catholic Strike for Life” day on June 16 and requesting that all Catholics not go to work and boycott the entire economic infrastructure of Minnesota that day and instead pray for the slaughtered innocents and conversion of the hearts of the legislature. No, of course, they didn’t.
In response to the legislation, the Archdiocese of Minneapolis said, you guessed it, nothing. This seldom-seen Catholic outrage is being aimed at the Los Angeles Dodgers game on June 16, where the organization plans to honor the cartoonish, offensive, and repulsive “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” as part of pride month virtue signaling. (Are not the homosexuals bothered to be reduced to anti-Catholic cartoon characters?) Indeed, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, several bishops around the state, and the Catholic League are calling for a strong protest and boycott of the game, as they should, but we are saddened that actual murder and infanticide do not arouse Catholic (and civilized human) indignation more than men in makeup and nun’s habits. Evil is clever that way; watch what the shiny hand is doing while the quiet hand kills children.
Many of you will say that we are being hysterical and that these excesses of Minnesota, repellent as they are, will not progress to rounding up Catholics in pogroms and sending them off to extermination camps. Perhaps not, but isn’t the murder of over 13,000 unborn children in Minnesota last year enough (5)? Is your outrage lessened because, deep down, you don’t think of the unborn as equally “worthy” of life? If 13,000 Catholic school children were taken out behind the gym every year, shot, and thrown into mass graves, I hope the US government would invade the state, arrest the legislature and take over. Why is our outrage any less for the unborn?
The apologists of evil would have you believe that late-term abortions never happen, or, if they happen, there is a significant medical reason. They would also have you believe that protection for abortion survivors is unnecessary because state laws already prevent infanticide. We have previously discussed this in some detail (6). None of this is true. There are about 13,000 late-term abortions yearly in the US. (7). These are not done, for the most part, for severe threats to the health of the mother or for the so-called “lethal anomalies.” They are done for the same reasons as abortions are done earlier in pregnancy, convenience, irresponsibility and change of mind (8). The numbers are hard to document, but there are some 400-500 live births following an abortion attempt yearly in the US (7). The stories of late-term abortionists and their survivors make for grisly reading and are not for those of weak stomachs.
Oregon runs neck and neck with Minnesota in the evil Olympics. There are no restrictions on abortion in Oregon whatsoever and it is legal up to the time of birth for any reason. A recent story made the headlines where a woman had to have a “lifesaving” abortion at 28 weeks of gestation (9). What was the threat? Well, the woman didn’t want “it.” Apparently, this person learned she was pregnant at 7 months (surprise?) and absolutely had to have an abortion because she didn’t want “it” and it would end her “life” to have a child. By this, she meant social life, as the pregnancy was uncomplicated and normal and the woman was otherwise healthy. She then simply made an appointment at the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), where they injected the child with something to kill “it” and then delivered/removed/dismembered the dead infant (9). In my practice of anesthesiology, I encounter former 28-week premature children frequently. My own son, now an accomplished 30-year-old aerospace engineer, was born at 32 weeks. So waiting a few more weeks would be too inconvenient? Adoption too hard to spell? It is hard to put this person in any other lens except that of a murderer and OHSU was her willing accomplice. Someone should be in jail for this. (Oregon, of course, is as enthusiastically pro-euthanasia as it is pro-abortion, so Minnesota has some catching up to do.)
Perhaps Minnesota, Oregon, New York, and California are anomalies and, in the rest of the country, there won’t be issues with late-term abortions and the born-alive survivors.
If only it were so.
Most abortions in the US are done chemically, using the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol. As we have previously discussed (10), mifepristone inhibits progesterone and kills the fetus by decreasing uterine blood supply, then misoprostol causes the uterus to expel the dead child, at least early in pregnancy. The issue is, in their appetite for destruction, the current administration and their pro-abortion sycophants are in a panic over the possibility of limitation of access to medication abortion by the Supreme Court and have advocated and mandated the removal of various safeguards, such as administration of the medication in person by a qualified health professional. Although this is being debated in the courts, the administration has even proposed allowing abortion medication to be mailed directly to the consumer, cutting out the safety of the middleman (and those pesky laws that prohibit abortion in some states). Additionally, the usual “abortion activists” have published plans to stockpile the pills and possibly source them from India and other parts of the developing world (because they are all about women’s health). The issue becomes that this combination, particularly misoprostol, is effective at any stage of pregnancy. Indeed, in parts of the developing world, misoprostol is used as a sole agent to cause an abortion by forcing the uterus to expel the child, living or dead. One can easily imagine what happens next, someone who “didn’t know they were pregnant” takes the pills at 8 months and delivers a living infant at home, possibly bleeding to death in the process. If the death caucus gets its way, there will be a lot more born-alive abortion survivors coming soon to a dumpster near you.
And the women harmed in the process? The pro-abortion cheerleaders would say that is a small price to pay in the interest of “women’s health.” (The doublethink is strong on the abortion side.)
As always, the Catholic Church is clear, direct and true. All life is sacred and worthy, from conception to natural death, without question or qualification. Period, full stop. No one, not even the bloodthirsty Minnesota state legislature and their governor can abrogate that.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.