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December 8, 2003
The Death of Hope, on the Shores of Lake Pepin

Another dead baby has been found abandoned in Minnesota.

I don't need to post the details of this poor child's short life and tragic death, only to say that the baby only lived between one and five days and was abandoned on the shore of Lake Pepin. I don't need to do so because the details, such as are known, are depressingly familiar: the corpse of the baby is found by strangers, abandoned as garbage, with the usual call from authorities for information about the mother so that the child can be identified and the mother treated by professionals. When the mother is found, probably a frightened teenager, she will have a heartbreaking story of fear and hopelessness that will mitigate the barbaric abandonment of her infant child. The litany has become a complete process of its own.

Impending childbirth may be the most hopeful event of our human existence. The potential of the child to make a difference in the world is bound only by imagination. No matter what circumstances into which a child is born, that child can move mountains. Think about the people who have made a difference, just in recent history, such as Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. Bill Clinton rose up from a poor and broken home to become the leader of the free world, a remarkable achievement whatever you think of his politics.

So what happens for a young person to have no hope at all when faced with an unplanned pregnancy? While the litany above seems to be the same, the mothers themselves come from different circumstances; some fear their parents, some fear abuse, some fear the future, and I can certainly understand why. Having children under the best of circumstances can be daunting. Giving birth alone and unsupported exponentially magnifies the fears. But many couples wait years to adopt babies, wanting nothing more than to provide a loving home to children whose birth parents cannot support them under their present circumstances. And Minnesota hospitals allow birth mothers to leave newborns up to three days old in their custody, no questions asked.

Why do these mothers opt to abandon the child under circumstances where death is inevitable?

I doubt that it's a purposeful choice, but instead it's borne out of despair, of utter hopelessness. The mothers do not think of the child as such, nor do they think of the potential joy and hope that the child represents. All they can see are the obstacles, the recriminations. In its way, it is a type of sickness, but it's neither physical nor necessarily mental; it's a spiritual sickness, being cursed to only see despair and death. It springs from the culture of nihilism and materialism, where life itself is irrelevant because it is essentially hopeless in and of itself. If we all end up dead anyway, what difference does this child make?

If only they understood how precious and sacred that life is, if only they could know the hope that child will represent to her family once they are over the shock -- or failing that, the hope that child would represent to a childless couple who only want the chance for hope. If only they had hope for themselves, they would have hope for their children.

Find the mother, yes, certainly, and take whatever steps are necessary under the law to prevent these tragedies in the future. But in the meantime, pray for her. While you're at it, make sure your children and others whose lives you touch understand that hope exists and that obstacles can be overcome. Tell them that whatever the circumstances, they can come to you and you will help them, putting aside judgments and recriminations until and if they are appropriate. Only death is the end of the world. Everything else is just life, and where life exists, so does hope, if you know to look for it.

Let this child be the last.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 8, 2003 1:37 PM

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» Another sad story from Zygote-Design
Stories like this where a child is left to die hit me even harder as I prepare to become a father in a few months. As the Captain's Quarters blog puts it: If only they understood how precious and sacred... [Read More]

Tracked on December 8, 2003 7:03 PM

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