In the springtime of 2001, after a hard day of work at the office, my wife sat down next to me on our living room sofa and asked if I would turn down the TV so we could have a talk. Thinking I was in trouble, I sheepishly did so, turning to face her while bracing for a tongue lashing. She sat down next to me, and with a hint of tears forming at the edges of her eyes, took my hands in hers.
“I think I’m pregnant,” she said.
In an instant, I experienced all the cliched emotions: confusion, anxiety, fear, joy, and worry all coursed through my brain as it, somewhat slowly I have to admit, processed the news.
“R-Really?” I blurted.
I’m sure the conversation that followed walked the same paths as billions of similar conversations throughout the course of human history. I asked if she was okay; she reassured me she was. I asked how long had she known; she said about two weeks. I asked if she was happy, she asked if was happy, and we both whispered a tentative and hushed “yes,” as afraid to say it too loud for fear of jinxing the process.
You see, my wife and I married very late in life, and one of the things we both knew was that, no matter how much we wanted children, the odds of a successful pregnancy at our age was pretty slim. Physicians at our fertility clinic echoed this sentiment, but added the odds were not entirely insurmountable and that, with a little effort, and the grace of God, we might just be blessed.
And so we were.
My wife and I cuddled together on that sofa for hours that night, running through every scenario we could imagine for our imminent future. Jobs, finances, housing, travel, insurance, doctors, wall colorings, and yes, even baby names, were discussed in increasingly excited tones; the magic of the miracle in progress seizing hold of our imaginations.
The next day we scheduled a visit with a doctor to confirm the results, and to get an initial ultrasound. When the day arrived, we took the morning off work, drove to the clinic and and filled out the reams of paperwork required to bring a child into the world. Once completed, we were ushered into an examination room, where the ultrasound technician greeted us with warmth and congratulations before setting about the business of smearing lubricating jelly on my wife’s belly. She took up the wand, moved it around a bit, and there before us, in a sepia colored blob emerged the shape of our child. So tiny, so beautiful.
My wife and I clutched each others’ hands as we stared at the monitor, wondering at the little life before us, a thousand thoughts flashing through our minds. The technician eased back in her chair with a smile, then reached over to turn on the heartbeat monitor so that we could hear the first beats of our baby’s heart.
But all we heard was silence.
“I’m so sorry,” said the technician.
She left us alone as we processed the bad news. Stunned is too soft a word to describe what I felt at that moment. As I watched my wife’s eyes fill with tears, as I saw her turn her head away to cry, I felt completely hollowed out; as if my very soul had left my body. No pain was this numbing, no grief so total. I looked at the image of our stillborn baby and I broke inside.
It has been some years now since that terrible day. We never did manage to get pregnant, so we now live our lives with artificial children – furry pets we hold as close in our hearts as the memory of that lost child. Our grief was long, our pain was deep, but we worked through it. We are a stronger couple, but there is an absence that can never be filled; a voice that will never be heard. The holes inside may never heal.
Today I learned that one of our State Representatives, and man named Bobby Franklin, has introduced a bill to require that all miscarriages within the state be investigated so as to prove that no “human involvement” resulted in the death of the fetus. In essence, Mr. Franklin, believes that women who fail to carry their children to term are potential murderers, and that those who fail to carry a child to term should be punished with imprisonment, and even death if they fail to prove the miscarriage was anything other than an act of God. And of course, it is Mr. Franklin who feels that he and he alone is best qualified to speak on the Creator’s behalf.
To say I am enraged would be understatement – this man, this sick and twisted man, has crossed a very personal line.
The loss of an unborn child is the single most deeply personal event a human being can experience. That Mr. Franklin has chosen to exploit such an event for political purposes is not only a repellant act of a deranged mind, but also an act of pure criminal malevolence. This… “man” has not only demonstrated a profound hatred of humanity, but a fundamental arrogance and sense of superiority more reflective of Lucifer’s vanity than God’s shining light. His cynical use of cherry-picked quotations from a poorly understood Bible to justify his hatred evidences an evil that seeks to impose its beliefs on others – a being that not only wants to rule his world, but the very lives of the people he is supposed to represent. He seeks not to bring God’s kingdom to this earth, but his own – acting as a feudal lord wielding a perversely corrupted “sword of justice” over the heads of his vassals.
And why, you may ask? For profit. This beast of man seeks nothing less than total subjugation of his constituents so that they may “significantly [contribute] to the prosperity… of this state.”
Thirty pieces of silver, indeed.
If you wish to see the real devils among us, look no further than Mr. Bobby Franklin.