Opinion

Children don’t choose to be vulnerable, but we can choose to protect them

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A Zika virus outbreak has hit Florida. Spread by mosquitoes, it’s been linked to microcephaly, a condition affecting head size and brain development in preborn children. While some see it as justifying abortion, Florida mom Haneefa De Clercq couldn’t be more opposed. She had this to say about her two microcephalic children:

That what I want those mothers to know, that it’s not the end of the world because you have these kids,” she said through tears. “They will teach them so much. They’ll teach them how to love, they will teach them patience. Everything is in God’s time, and if we have the patience to go through that, the rewards are so much greater, and my kids are the greatest gift. They’re the greatest gift God has ever given me.”

De Clercq isn’t the only one who feels that way. Recently, I spoke to a friend who’s a home care nurse for children with special needs. They often have conditions aren’t that detectable until later in a pregnancy, and my friend observed how a lot of abortion advocates won’t deny the humanity of kids like hers. Instead, they’ll act as if some people just aren’t worth having around.

Here’s how she responded:

I’ve had the privilege of working with children who are chronically disabled, medically fragile…and precious. Their disabilities can stem from Leigh’s syndrome, Wolf Hirschhorn, VACTERL, or severe physical injuries. None of those things can detract from a child’s worth.

Ruby Danielle--May 8, 2008 - February 19, 2015

Ruby Danielle–May 8, 2008 – February 19, 2015

I wandered into this specialty, quite by accident. And truth be told, I noticed some of the same things abortion advocates point to. I can’t deny that these these children require expensive care. Yes, their lives are often short, and no, most of them will never have careers. In the eyes of some, they offer nothing to society. But that wasn’t what I found.

Although many will never speak a word, they can still teach us. They teach us what it means to be humane and selfless, to put the needs of someone else above our own. Those are things their parents can show us as well.

She went on to describe what she’s seen in families she visits:

There’s heartbreak, but also joy and love. They make sacrifices and bear burdens so their children may live; they put dedication and love, loyalty and duty into every action. Their strength and perseverance is a gift to the world, and they embody the values that every person ought to live out.

As my friend stressed again and again, these children have a lot to offer society, but that’s not the reason society should protect them; their humanity is. At the end of the day, being vulnerable wasn’t something they chose, but defending them is something we should.

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