Did you groan deep within? Did you weep? Did you feel bile burning the back of your throat?
When you read of the newborn baby girl found in a rubbish dump in India, did you fire up with righteous anger, questioning what lowlife would toss their child away like an empty carton of milk?
The newborn girl should have been wrapped in softest blankets, nursed and nourished somewhere safe, but instead she was left there on the dump where ants had started to make a meal of her. Hospital footage shows her tiny body covered in angry purple-red bites and grazes. They said she was in a critical condition.
It has been assumed that the girl was abandoned by her parents because she is not a boy.
Only in the third-world, you might huff. Only in places with backward cultures and superstitious beliefs.
But it wasn’t so long ago that another little girl was abandoned – this time in a bus shelter in Towyn, Wales. In July this year, a man found the baby nearly dead with cold, and massaged her back to life. Her mother still hasn’t come forward, despite persistent pleas from police, midwives and foster carers.
You’ll no doubt recall the case on home soil too, when a 30-year-old Sydney woman abandoned her newborn in a drain back in 2014. The baby (who thankfully survived) was found days later by passing cyclists who heard his cries.
And we ask, what kind of person does this?
Perhaps a better question would be: What prompts a woman to do such a counter-intuitive thing as turn her back on her child?
It’s so easy to point the finger rather than compassionately seek the truth.
The truth is that in places like India, the female gender is often undervalued, disempowered and deprived of education. These are beliefs entrenched in culture and, from our comfy Western couches, we hear the horror stories of female infanticide, of families trying to take control of their meagre resources by disposing of another hungry mouth, one that would otherwise need a dowry someday.
The feminist movement decries such treatment of little girls. And rightly so. This is the same movement that, not so long ago, established the rights that women in ‘civilised society’ enjoy today. We amble to the polling booth without a thought. We enrol in a degree to further our education, or we apply for the same jobs that suitably qualified men also apply for.
Yet, something’s still not right.
I was listening to a talk by American pro-life activist Lila Rose and she absolutely nailed it.
“The abortion industry has hijacked the women’s movement, selling the lie that women must kill their children to earn a place in society. Women have fought for their right to vote, their right to education, and their right to the workforce — it’s time they are empowered as mothers,” she said.
We’ve come such a long way from those days of desiring only male heirs to carry the family name forward … or have we? Because, as Lila insinuates, it seems that the battle for rights has come full circle, only now, the unborn (or newly born) are being sacrificed instead.
“The early feminists fought for the opportunity of women to walk through the doors of a university. And they prevailed, they succeeded. Our early feminists fought for the opportunity and the right to vote, and they won that fight. And in the last two centuries, women in our country have walked into classrooms powerful. We’ve walked into the voting booth powerful.
“But today, after winning the so-called right to abortion, women walk into abortion facilities powerless. They walk into an abortion facility because they feel that their diploma is at stake, they feel that their husband or their boyfriend doesn’t support that child, they are concerned they won’t be able to keep their job. And so they submit themselves, their body, their child to the most ultimate position of powerlessness; to the abortionist’s forceps.”
It’s estimated that about 75,000 babies are aborted each year in Australia and more than 95% are because of the mental health of the woman. Mental health includes factors such as financial stress, lack of support, relationship tension, fear of being unable to cope and so on.
The mother of the abandoned Sydney newborn was found. She had mental health issues and, when the baby’s father found out she was pregnant, he left her. She was afraid that her family would disapprove, so didn’t tell them. The baby found in Wales? We don’t know anything about her mum, but she has her own story, no doubt. Perhaps similar, a story of being ill-prepared and ill-supported for motherhood.
When we are faced with the grisly figures and the tragic stories of abandonment, our stomachs lurch at the injustice. Perhaps it lurches us a little closer to realising a women’s right that doesn’t seem to be fought for with so much vigour as education and the vote. A right that is stifled by militant feminists bent on filling the abortionist’s purse.
The right to motherhood. The right to choose that innately womanly action of scooping one’s child into the crook of her arm and knowing that the world around her will support her, protect her, advocate for her – as she does the same for her baby.