Blessed Teresa of Calcutta challenged us all when she said: “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” We ought not limit this simply to the issue of abortion. Our society promotes placing personal desires above the needs and dignity of children, born and unborn.
We balk at the idea of feeding the poor with food stamps but we have no problem wasting money on a $7 Starbucks cup of coffee or dropping thousands of dollars on the newest car, biggest television, or, sadly, the hundreds and even thousands of dollars of food we each throw out every year. Children in our world die because we are selfish. I am just as guilty as many in wasting or not giving more, I too am responsible.
We have commodified children via parenthood. We talk about what we “want” in a child; we have expectations of the kind of child we will have, the way our child will look, act, speak, etc. We impose premature “dreams” on parenthood and the childhood of children. We do not accept children for the gift they are, accepting them as they come to us, we want to accept them on our own terms, not on God’s.
Too many children are tossed out, as if they were trash; forced to languish in foster care and orphanages, wondering if anyone will ever want them. There are so many children in this world that need homes, and there are so many couples in this world desiring to love a child. Why do so many children remain, then, in foster care and orphanages? Sadly, we are caught up in our own biologism. How fitting it would be to unite the pain of not being able to have a child with the pain of a child who is without a family; much like we are called to unite our earthly pain with that of Christ upon the Cross. This union of pain can have a redeeming quality and show all involved the beauty of hope and the active reality of love.
Unfortunately, society has sold couples on the idea that their pain can be solved by applying science so that they can have children that will “really” be theirs; as if genetics is the only means to make a family. We have now begun the process of manufacturing children in labs because we want something that is “ours” biologically; keeping the ones we find have the most preferred qualities, and discarding those that are “imperfect” or have qualities that are “undesirable.” These rejected children (science labels them embryos) are then relegated to the prisons of fertility clinic freezers, or worse, dissected in the name of science. The pain that is very real in not being able to have children by ordinary means, as painful and agonizing as that pain is, cannot justify the unjust consequences of Invitro Fertilization, which is the creation of children to be abandoned or experimented on.
We must reeducate ourselves on the dignity of the human person, especially children. It truly is a poverty, and a crime, that children must suffer and/or die so that we can live as we wish. So that we can satisfy our “wants” and self-serving desires instead of serving others. We must do better to protect life from womb to tomb. We must do better at respecting the dignity of all persons, regardless of their circumstances.