The Peremptory Definition of a Child
It’s a delicate story, but beyond the strength of Matthew Milliner’s witness is a telling anecdote. Milliner’s unborn child has died in the womb:
The next day our doctor called in a rushed tone, and said something must quickly be done. We were to go to our local “Women’s Center” for a procedure. This did not appeal to me, but my wife was in danger. I called the clinic.
“I need the remains of this child to be treated with respect,” I said. “We’ve never had that request before,” the receptionist replied. “Let me check with my supervisor.” After a wait, the receptionist returned with the news that this would not be possible, as “it” was “medical waste.”
Through a family connection, Milliner and his wife found a clinic that treated the “it” as what they believed it to be (what it was): their child. In a democratic society, such belief is a manifest threat to an industry that reaps its revenue in millions of tiny corpses. Try as we might, public policy will not rest on absolute relativism when it comes to life and death.
My wife held our baby, a tiny pietà. We both mourned and prayed.
The nurses took the footprints of tiny feet. They even dressed Clement in an outfit and took a picture, wrote out a birth card. The undertaker came and handled the body with a reverence of movement that ministered more than ten chaplains’ prayers. We buried him in a family plot, where we told the story of how his life began. He has parents and grandparents who love him; nurses and an undertaker who cared for him in his short life.
Either this is absurd sentimentality or just and appropriate acceptance of and mourning for a life lost. A being worthy of the latter has an innate right not to be killed intentionally, especially for little cause.