R.I.P. Shanice

A case like this has a way of stripping away the ambiguities.

The evidence is clear that a baby (named Sharice after the fact by her 18-year-old mother), only 23 weeks along, was delivered alive at a Florida abortion clinic, thrown into a plastic bag, and found decomposing a week later.  The autopsy confirmed her live birth, finding her lungs filled with air.

The next set of details are not as well established, coming from the 18-year-old mom’s lawsuit and therefore not verified by investigators.  But I would not be surprised if they were as described:

She says [one of the clinic owners Belkis] Gonzalez knocked the baby off the recliner chair where she had given birth, onto the floor. The baby’s umbilical cord was not clamped, allowing her to bleed out. Gonzalez scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.

If true, obviously this clinic owner should be prosecuted.  But the question that intrigues me is not legal, but moral.  What moral questions or warnings went through her mind while she was allegedly stuffing a living, breathing baby into a plastic bag like garbage?

Well, I don’t know, and I don’t even presume to know.  Her judgment and my own will come from someone much wiser than me, and I am thankful for that.

But I am reminded of a famous quote from Booker T. Washington: “One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.”  In other words, slavery was a tremendous moral evil, degrading everyone who touched it.  Particularly after 1830, slavery defenders began to make arguments like We have rescued the slaves from the jungle to civilize and Christianize them!, or Here they get to work out in the warm sun and fresh air—sure beats a Northern factory, and even, At least we give them free health care!

Once we allow the killing of a human being in the womb, we think we can just leave it alone, call it “distasteful” or “unfortunate,” and try to keep it “safe, legal, and rare.”  Some even make it sound empowering, calling it “choice.” But just like slavery, the evil of abortion will not stay confined so easily.  It debases us.  All of us.  Our souls are hard-wired to justify everything we engage in or allow.  So we must get down in the ditch.  Hey, it’s a woman’s body, she has a right to do what she wants!   The government can’t force me to have a baby!

Is it possible that this clinic owner was so quick to act to take this human life because she sees what is so obvious?  A baby inside a mother’s womb, or a breathing baby just born—both are human life.  Either both are valuable, or neither are.  Both are sacred, or both are subject to being tossed in the garbage.  She simply acted out of the ethic that all of us are either passively absorbing or actively guarding against.  It pervades our culture like the air we breath.

36 years abortion has been legal in the United States.  55 million human lives cut far too short.  55 million wounds to mothers’ hearts—some felt now, others not for years to come, all too slow to heal.  Rest in Peace Sharice.  May your death not be in vain.  And may your mom come to know the peace and love of the one who knit you together in her womb.

We all know what it took to end slavery.  Lincoln speaks of God’s judgment in his 2nd Inaugural:

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether’.

I pray we would be drawn by his kindness instead.

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1 Comment

  1. yiperoo

     /  February 19, 2009

    This ‘NEW’ form of slavery will take the lives of many more. There is no equal to unfortunate undoing of millions of human rights for the children. Generations have been wipes out, and generations that wiped them out have been enslaved by their ill decisions.

    How many more nations must we wipe out before we realize our own salted wounds?


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