Yesterday was the 41st anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision . While abortion is a subject that I write about on occasion , it is not a subject I like to dwell on, both because it is a horror and because as a continent single man it is not a subject that happens to intrude upon the habits of my life, and I tend to write about those things that are a part of my life rather than those things which are merely a part of our contentious political discourse. That said, I was pondering about this subject recently and it struck me that the worth of children is related not only to abortion but to a wide array of issues that are much more personally relevant to me that show a common denominators of a wide variety of evils.
There are some people on this earth who love babies and small children and some who do not. I do not pretend that I would enjoy everything about babies (I dislike crying babies, as the sound of crying tends to bother me, as does the unhappiness of others, and I know that cleaning up after babies would not necessarily be the most enjoyable thing), but I do love the cuteness and innocence of small children. I love their honesty and their humor, and the fact that being around them tends to inspire my protective instincts to keep them safe from harm. It is a reminder, in a life that has not been very kind, that I am a man of nobility and decency and not someone who tends to be dismissive of children because they are helpless and because they cannot do much of anything on their own, or worse yet, the sort of person who would take advantage of the vulnerability and weakness of little ones for wicked purposes, as happened in my own childhood.
What is the worth of a human being? Our age is one that is consumed with concern about worth, as well as about definitions and boundaries. Some people spend a great deal of effort seeking to have children, so they can look at ultrasounds of the little one in a wife’s womb and then raise a child from birth into young adulthood, filled with moments of celebration and anxious concern. Do we value life simply because of what it is, or do we require life to justify its worth in economic terms? Truth be told, there is little of economic worth that a baby can provide, with its limitless appetite for food, for fitful sleep, and for producing prodigious quantities of high-grade manure. Similarly, there is little of economic worth that can be provided by those who are disabled, or elderly. It is therefore of little wonder that in our age we should tend to have to deal with problems of both abortion and euthanasia, and a general sort of coarse treatment of those who cannot provide anything of use in an economic sense, even as we tend to cheat those who do.
Whether we are dealing with children or elders, with people with great strengths or glaring weaknesses, we have to determine whether our appreciation of others is for mercenarial purposes or simply out of enjoyment at the wonders of what God has created. We can learn much from others even if they have nothing to give us. At the very least, we can learn a bit of wisdom from everyone we meet, especially if they are people of integrity and good character and genial friendliness. The higher we place the worth of people as people, the greater the love and respect we will have for them, and the greater self-respect we will have for ourselves in light of our own knowledge of our own worth to others and to God, and to ourselves.
Where this worth and regard are lacking there are a host of social evils that are all interrelated to a lack of respect for human life as human life. Whether that disregard is shown through desiring to kill the fruit of a womb in abortion, or whether it leads one to feel upset because unwanted pregnancies have forced people together in awkward circumstances that leads to resentment against those children, or whether it leads children to be abused physically or sexually because their innocence is not of value to us, that contempt and lack of worth will make itself known in some fashion. The same is true about our treatment of the elderly, or those with disabilities, or the poor or homeless or refugees or any other sort of vulnerable population. How we treat the least of those around us is the true nature of our character. If we do not wish to dwell too much or in too much detail on these evils, we need to recognize that the lack of respect and love lies at the basis of these problems, and we need to arrest those evils where we can have the most influence, starting from our own lives and spreading outward from there.
 See, for example: