Friday, May 27, 2005

Abortion, Suffering, and the Chinese Widow

Once upon a time, according to a Chinese legend, there was a poor widow whose only son was killed in an accident. Her grief was so deep that she wanted to die. In desperation, she went to a magician and asked if he could prepare a potion for her to cure her grief.

The magician told the widow that he could make just the potion she needed. But the widow had to bring him a special ingredient: an onion from a home that had never known sorrow.

So off the widow went to find an onion from a home that had never known sorrow. She went from village to village, door to door, seeking the onion. But every home she went to had known sorrow. Soon the widow found that she was spending her time giving comfort and recieving comfort from those she visited, sharing her sorrows and their sorrows. And in time, her grief faded and she found a will to live again and a new joy in life.

Finally she went back to the magician and told him that she had failed. She could not find an onion from a house that had known no sorrow.

"Ah," the magician said, "But still the potion worked! For your grief is cured!"

So many arguments in favor of abortion are based on the idea that abortion is somehow necessary to spare the child a life of suffering. But I challenge you, like the Chinese widow, to find someone who has known no sorrow, no suffering.

It's natural for parents to try to protect their children from suffering. They take them to the doctor and the dentist for preventive care. They teach them to beware of strangers. They teach them basic safety rules. And their hearts are always broken as life somehow manages to cause the child suffering, from a skinned knee to a crippling automobile accident, from taunting at school to torment by criminals. All of our best efforts to keep our children safe and happy only stack the deck. They delay the encounter with suffering, or they mitigate the suffering, but they can't eliminate it entirely, because suffering is an inevitable part of life.

The parent who is considering abortion to spare the child suffering might do well to follow the Chinese magician's advice. For proof that you're making the right choice, go and find an onion from a home that has never known sorrow. If you find one in time to keep your abortion appointment, go for it.

Then let me know. Because I'd like to meet the people who gave you the onion.


Phoebe said...

very well indeed

TheSnarkyBlogger said...

Excellent story! The suffering argument is totally crazy. If liberals really believed that we should kill people who suffer, they should walk around saying "I've suffered, can you abort me?"

Barbara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crabee mack said...

so, a child is going to be born into abject poverty, to a sick mother, who cannot work due to illness, and has no family around to help her care for her multiple children, all of whom do not receive an education, or healthcare, or adequate food to thrive, who live in an area so badly afflicted by crime that it is likely they will end up being criminals or victims of crime themselves, if they survive a hungry miserable childhood, its still better to be born? for the sake of the older siblings who will have even less food in their mouths? for the mother, who already has children to care for and has to suffer knowing her children are hungry and have no prospects? its still better to birth one more mouth to feed?

Kathy said...

Hm, if poverty is so bad that it is acceptable to kill unborn humans to prevent them from being born into it, why not kill all the born impoverished humans, too?

Even if you're right that the child is better off dead than to live in abject poverty, can you not see that you're attacking the wrong end of the stick? Why not work to improve the life of the currently impoverished, rather than just kill them?