In Favor of Abortion? Remember Min Chiu Li

By | February 4, 2019 | 2 Comments

Gov. Cuomo (Dem) of New York signs law authorizing abortion up to the time of birth.

Gov. Northam (Dem) of Virginia expresses support for bill authorizing killing of newborn infants if the mother and provider agree. [Provider = physician, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, or nurse midwife]

“When New York expanded abortion rights last week for the first time in 49 years, Democrats across the state were exultant.” ‒ New York Times, Jan. 31, 2019, Page 1

Is expanding abortion to the third trimester, in fact to the time of birth, a cause for exultation, or a cause for anguish? Is killing healthy, almost-born babies a cause for boasting in America’s “newspaper of record,” or a cause for shame and anger?

These news reports reveal in stark clarity that we have passed the point where the killing of viable fetuses is acceptable, and now we are proposing the killing of newborn babies. But what comes next? If all human life isn’t sacred, none is. Who lives and who dies then becomes merely a matter of opinion, and the only opinion that matters is that of government officials.

Rather than make the obvious comparison with the Nazi regime, which began with killing a disabled baby and ended with the Holocaust, let us approach the problem from the opposite direction. Let us focus on one individual who would not have existed if these new laws were in effect.

In 1899 a baby girl was born to a poor family in China. Three previous children had died in infancy, and the family hoped for a boy. Boys were − and are − valued more highly than girls in China, as well as in India and elsewhere. So the midwife expected that the little girl would be exposed to die, as was customary.

But the father looked into the baby’s face and bonded. He allowed the girl to live and, most unusually in those days, gave her an education. The only school open to girls was a Christian school, and Jeanette Li became a Christian. She later became an educator and had a long and productive life. Her autobiography is available. If this were the whole story, it would be well worth telling. But there is more.

Jeanette Li had a son. Min Chiu Li became a physician and obtained a position at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. He was interested in women’s cancers and began a series of experiments. Eventually he showed that the drug methotrexate was able to cure choriocarcinoma, a rare but lethal cancer of young women.

This was the first demonstration that chemotherapy could cure metastatic cancer, as well as the first demonstration that widely disseminated cancer could be cured by any treatment. This was a milestone in the history of medicine.

But this distinguished, productive scientist would not have existed if his mother had been exposed to die in infancy, as was the custom. Equally important, Min Chiu Li would probably not have existed under China’s current coercive program of one child per family, coupled with the continued preference for boys − and the resulting abortion of unborn baby girls and the killing of newborn baby girls.

The normal human sex ratio at birth (the ratio of boys to girls) is about 1.05. This is the ratio in the United States. But since the introduction of ultrasound, the ratio of male to female newborns in China has increased to 1.133. It is estimated that there is an excess of about 35 million males in China − that is, a deficiency of about 35 million females. As a result of selective abortion of unborn baby girls, in addition to infanticide of newborn baby girls, tens of millions of women who would otherwise live in China have been eliminated. And they still are being eliminated.

Lest you believe that such goings-on are limited to China, recall that prominent British “ethicists” declare that parents should have the right to kill newborns if they are “defective” or merely unwanted. Not to be outdone, a prominent American “ethicist” extends this “return” privilege to one month, or even longer. And if we follow the example of the Netherlands, mobile euthanasia vans will save us trouble and come to our homes. But this development is not original − Nazi killing vans did it first. We reveal much about ourselves by whom we emulate. Some people emulate the man who saved Jeanette Li. Other people emulate the ones who wanted to kill her.

What is more, selective abortion of females is occurring in Britain and America at unknown rates. Oddly, this is not seen as misogyny. Not enough women on corporate boards? Big problem. Selectively killing unborn baby girls? No problem. To leftists, economics replaces ethics as a guide for our actions. Thirty-year-old women having to pay for their own contraceptives? Big problem. Selectively killing unborn baby girls? No problem. To progressives, a woman controlling her “own body” means only abortion on demand, but not actually controlling her own body.

Ultrasound is a valuable medical tool, but like all tools, some people will find a way to misuse it. You can use a hammer to build your neighbor a house or to bash his brains out. You can use ultrasound to make pregnancy safer or to abort females. Dostoyevsky wrote that without God, everything is permitted − but we don’t have to work so hard to prove him right.

We can talk about abortion from the point of view of populations. We can discuss the effects of reducing the number of females who reach reproductive age. We can ponder the resulting decline in already low birth rates, and the aging of the population. We can contemplate the inevitable collapse of old-age pensions, and the deficiency in the number of young workers. We can worry about the resulting excess of young men who cannot find wives. This excess can cause social unrest. The leaders of China know this − and might be tempted to start an aggressive war, in order to utilize this excess of young males before internal unrest breaks out. And we can express deep concern that in America, the abortion rate for black babies is twice that for Hispanic babies, and over three times that for white babies.

All this is true, but it is not the whole story. Abortion and infanticide have been discussed from many points of view, but often with the unspoken assumption that unborn or newborn humans are interchangeable − that is, that a baby aborted today can be fully replaced by a baby born later.

Such an assumption is nothing new. The first person “euthanized” by the Nazi program to get rid of the “defective” was Baby Knauer. When the disabled five-month-old baby boy was killed, the loving papa declared, “Later we could have other children, healthy and strong, of whom the Reich could be proud.” The Reich was indeed proud. But we should be deeply ashamed. The Nazi euthanasia program used drugs, then gas, and was the physical and psychological prelude to the Holocaust.

Except for identical twins, each individual has unique DNA unlike that of anyone who has ever lived, or is ever likely to live. But one need not be a geneticist, much less a theologian, to know that human beings are unique and not interchangeable. Jeanette Li’s father, an uneducated peasant, knew it in 1899. Yet many so-called educated people don’t know it today. Wisdom and education are two different things entirely. If you doubt this, consider that many of the graduates of our public schools and prestigious, left-leaning universities are rootless moral idiots and ignoramuses.

Overpopulation and unwanted pregnancy are real problems. But it is unrealistic to assume that human beings, including unborn or newborn human beings, are as replaceable − and hence as disposable − as auto parts. A women’s clinic is not an auto-parts store, much less a wrecking yard.

When I was a young trainee in medical oncology, we had a guest at our weekly conference. Outwardly he was unimpressive. He was short, plump, and middle aged. But he had a ready smile and observant eyes. Our professor had known him at the National Cancer Institute and invited him to visit. He was Min Chiu Li. It was my honor to meet him.

Though I did not know it at the time, it was my special honor to meet a person who would never have existed, were it not for the love and wisdom of his peasant grandfather. When we kill a human being who is younger than, or in, the reproductive years, we kill not only that person, but also all that person’s potential descendants.

We can only wonder how many advances in medicine, and in other fields important to human well-being, have not been made − because the persons who would have made them, or their ancestors, were not allowed to live. Who knows? One of them might have been another Min Chiu Li. Li died in 1980. I’ll never forget him. Neither should you.

As Pastor Niemöller warned us, first they came for early fetuses, but we didn’t speak up. Then they came for late-term fetuses, but again we didn’t speak up. Now they are coming for the newborn and the disabled. If we don’t speak up now, when they come for us, there will be no one to speak up for us. But it won’t matter, because we will deserve whatever fate the soulless mechanism we put in power chooses to mete out to us.

Author’s Note:

But, you object, the governor of Virginia who approves abortion up to and beyond birth is a physician himself. How can this be? In Germany, the profession with the highest percent of Nazi Party members was the medical profession. Over half were members. So if you are looking for ethical guidance regarding abortion, infanticide, or euthanasia of the elderly or the disabled, remember to look elsewhere than the medical profession. It pains me to admit this about my profession, my calling. But there it is.

If you still disagree, watch the movie “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” Soon it will be out on DVD. That an evil man did evil is to be expected. But that supposedly good people let him do it for decades is an absolute disgrace.

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