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Published: February 12, 2013 12:24 pm to Opinion Column

In the eye of the beholder – society’s unbelievable double-standard on personhood and life

One of the most saddening and horrific aspects of abortion is the untenable double-standard society attempts to hold with anything related to infants and motherhood. Grief expressed at a miscarriage suffered by one mother, and relief at the completed abortion for another. Criminal charges against a drunk driver unintentionally taking the life of an in-utero infant; fame and accolades for four doctors who purposefully dismember and murder the unborn.

Perhaps nowhere is this more clearly seen, however, than in the recent death of Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, the young woman who died at the hands of abortionist LeRoy Carhart just a few days ago, in an attempt to end the life of her 33-week-old unborn daughter.

Jennifer’s baby girl was reportedly the result of a “wanted” pregnancy with Jennifer’s husband, TJ. At least at first. The baby registry was complete, and their little daughter even had a name – Madison Leigh. She was wanted. Until prenatal screening identified “fetal anomalies” late in the pregnancy, and then everything changed.

Jennifer, her husband, Jennifer’s parents, and Jennifer’s sister all picked up and headed to Carhart’s clinic to begin the abortion process on Sunday. By Thursday, Jennifer had died, along with little Madison Leigh.

It is undeniable that Jennifer’s death is a tragedy, and it ought to result in some serious soul-searching for those who push abortion for “the health of the mother,” but perhaps even more thought-provoking is Jennifer’s obituary. It states merely that she passed away suddenly – but adds “with her baby girl, Madison Leigh.” The obituary then goes on to note that both the young mother and her daughter will be buried together, following a Catholic mass, and furthermore, a memorial has been set up, and donations can be made in honor of either Jennifer or Madison.

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Given that Jennifer had initially traveled to Carhart’s clinic to end Madison’s life, one must wonder, what changed? Was Madison not a “baby girl” until Jennifer’s tragic death? Does no one see the irony that, had Jennifer’s abortion not been botched, Madison’s tiny, dismembered frame would have been thrown in the trash bin, instead of given a proper burial? Why was Madison worthy of nothing but nameless death on Wednesday, February 6, yet worthy of a memorial fund on Thursday, February 7?

Truly, the fact that one small child could go from being wanted to being the victim of intended murder and then to mourned and honored, all within the span of a few weeks, ought to make all of us reflect on the true value of life, and the integral nature of personhood. Nothing changed about Madison at all in those weeks – the only thing that was altered, that made her wanted, then worthless, and then later mourned – was another person’s perception of her worth.

Jennifer’s death is tragic, and it should be investigated, and Dr. Carhart should be dealt with accordingly. Jennifer’s family should be comforted, and reached out to in love, grace, and truth. Yet the double-standard cannot be ignored. Both deaths are tragic, but only one was unintended; the other was planned. The abortion was “botched” for only one of its victims – Madison Leigh, on the other hand, was never supposed to make it out alive. Not because anything changed in Madison, but because a third party’s perception of her value changed. May God have mercy on a society that determines the value of one person’s life by another person’s perceptions.

  • Old R.N.

    Perfectly stated Rachael. Thank you!

  • MOS was 71331

    “The obituary then goes on to note that both the young mother and her daughter will be buried together, following a Catholic mass, and furthermore, a memorial has been set up, and donations can be made in honor of either Jennifer, or Madison.”

    This makes no sense. How can a Catholic woman who dies during an abortion she sought be buried in consecrated ground after a funeral mass??? I have no problem with burying the dead infant in a Catholic cemetery, but not the infant’s mother.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drew.hymer.3 Drew Hymer

    Would the child want to be buried with someone who had her killed?

  • Hannah Mallery

    I do not at all support abortion of disabled children, but what really saddens me is that these tests (even ultrasound) are not always accurate. There are so many stories of mothers who went against advice to abort, only to give birth to a perfectly “normal” child. Why would we kill a wanted life because of a doctor’s gambled diagnosis?
    Also, I am clueless as to why people (in general) take anything doctor’s say, as if they were oracles of God. “Oh, the doctor said the baby won’t feel any pain; that it’s better this way.” Well, honey, good ol’ Doc here stands to make big money off scraping out your uterus, so he’ll say whatever you want to hear.

    • Basset_Hound

      Doctors who have no experience treating or educating the disabled sometimes paint a dark scenario to avoid being named in one of those despicable “wrongful birth” lawsuits. Patients who receive the diagnosis are often not given access to disability support groups or parents who would tell them that the realities of raising a child with a disability aren’t nearly as bleak and burdensome as portrayed.

  • Kelsey

    This may not be inconsistent, because it’s Jennifer’s surviving family that wrote the obituary, and we don’t know what they thought about the abortion. Even though they accompanied Jennifer to the “clinic,” it’s entirely possible that they opposed her decision to abort Madison. Maybe they traveled with her just in case something went wrong (which, sadly, it did). If that’s the case, it’s no suprise that they would acknowledge the baby’s passing.

    • Basset_Hound

      It could also be possible Jennifer was the one who opposed the decision and the family members were the ones putting the emotional pressure on her to go through with it.

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  • Rebecca Downs

    Thank you for expressing how I also feel about this situation. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels the exact same way. May God have mercy on her soul and her child, but if I may let it out here that you really love and care for your child, even pick out a name and finish a registry for her, her having abnormalities shouldn’t be cause to kill. I just feel like strong parents who see life in their child no matter what love their child no matter what…

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