…Just like all the heathens, only we’ll do it for the glory of god, because our Christian desire for a baby makes us angels.
Other articles assure me that hundreds of people from all over the world called wanting to adopt this as yet nonexistent Down baby to save it from abortion. This means pro lifers put their money where their mouths are and do too want to adopt all those aborted babies, so they win! ….even though absolutely nothing has been done yet, and even though plenty of non-anti-choice types raise babies with Down Syndrome.
“The only thing that surprises me” crows author Wesley J. Smith, “is that anyone would be surprised. The outpouring of selflessness and love to save the baby’s life and commit to parenting him or her for the duration was entirely predictable. There are exceptions, of course, but from my experience, this is what most pro lifers see as their calling.”
Fucking bullshit, Sir. Selflessness is when you help and expect nothing in return. Not the baby, not money, not the adoration of your neighbors, not a “thank you” letter from the baby when it’s old enough to write, not your name in the paper: Nothing. Maybe I’m crazy, but I believe the “-less” suffix has a meaning.
And love? I guess anyone can love some nonexistent person they’ve never met…in a useless, worthless, abstract way that requires them to do nothing but declare it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s a cheap and shitty sort of love that costs the lover nothing but air.
But Mr. Smith is right about one thing: this outpouring was predictable. If there’s one thing I learned when I was a veterinary assistant, it’s this: Everybody wants the very different, very special dog or cat, the one they read about in the paper, the one to which something very bad has happened. Google will even suggest the search terms “abused cats for adoption” or “abused dogs for adoption” in case you need to be that super special owner who makes excuses for your pet’s shitty behavior with “he was abused before I got him.”*
Nobody wants the ordinary, abandoned adult dog or cat that’s about to be put down in the shelter because it isn’t cute anymore and isn’t equipped with a sob story that will make its new owners look like Great Humanitarians. Don’t get me wrong: the puppy or kitten with the sob story generally gets a good home with people who are really glad to have it. But that doesn’t stop those people, in almost all cases I know of, from milking it for all it’s worth: “This is that little dog you saw on TV. This is one of those kittens they found in that bad place.”
Almost all of the the people who called and insisted they “have to have that [abused] dog” (and that’s really how they phrased it) were doing so on impulse. They probably thought no one else wanted the animal, so their not-really-appropriate home would be good enough. They thought (and they weren’t necessarily wrong) that, as an alternative to dying, their home looked pretty good. But they didn’t get the dog unless someone decided they were the most qualified to take care of said dog, and despite their good intentions, they almost never were.
How many of the people who called wanting that Down baby are qualified to raise it? This is a country with a long, long waiting list for every healthy white infant that might be available…and a long, long list for many other infants who might not be either white, available or entirely “healthy.”
There are many people out there who are really willing to do what it takes to raise a baby with Down Syndrome. They prove it by learning what the task is, deciding whether they can do it, preparing themselves, and finally seeking out such a baby. They don’t do it by waiting to hear that such a baby might be available soon, picking up the phone, and praying to be that lucky ninth caller.
People who really want to prevent abortions expect no baby in return. They expect nothing in return. They do boring, unglamorous, “non-traditionally pro life” things like lobby to insure that women have access to free/cheap birth control and shelter and food and work and good child care. But it’s much easier (and it feels much more righteous) to be a “prayer warrior” doing “sidewalk counseling.” (See that woman who turned crying away from the clinic door just now? I SAVED HER BAY BEE!)
I could put up a Facebook message offering a nonexistent baby with any number of crippling health problems and prompt a similar outpouring of the impulsive nature of human beings (i.e., “selfless love”). I could even leave Jesus out of it, insist it was the mother’s CHOICE to have this baby over the objections of her family and doctors, and say she was a Wiccan. Then, when I got a thousand phone calls, I could call the papers and brag about the glorious love and selflessness of pro choice Neopagans. Either way, the baby would not exist, it would not yet have a home, and I would have proven nothing about the “superiority” of the pro choice position.
And I guess some people might well complain that to use a soon-to-be-born baby as a cheap political ploy would be cold and manipulative of me. Those people would be one hundred per cent correct.
*Of course not all people who adopt rescue pets are like this. The ones who get the very special dog or cat when they had no previous plans to acquire any pet at all very often are, though.