Grief and LossPolitics

Dead Babies: What Lengths, For What Purpose?

“Originally I was just doing it to bring people’s awareness to what babies look like that young, and with the abortions and everything that’s going on with Planned Parenthood it’s just made me so upset,” said Ellis.

I came across a disturbing article that tries to link a miscarriage to abortion.  It is about the miscarriage of twins to the Ellis’. It uses graphic photos of 2 weeks old premature twins who sadly both died 30 minutes after being born  It is in an attempt to play on the emotional impact that such photos can have and use those reactions to compare them to aborted fetuses.

The article focuses almost entirely on the perceived evils of abortion.  Planned Parenthood is mentioned several times along with descriptions of babies being torn apart in the womb.  Then there are the pictures.  They are plainly gut-wrenching and raise visceral emotions of anguish and repulsion at the terrible loss that has occurred.

What is strangely missing is hardly a mention of any grief or sense of loss.  While the tragic views of the dead babies are horrific in and of themselves we are instead shown a picture of a smiling father and big brother holding the swaddled, dead babies.  Another picture shows an almost gleeful big brother leaning over the dead bodies of his siblings.  And herein lies the true horror: that the awful death of these two infants are used for propaganda by anti-abortion proponents.  Personally, I found the images revolting and nauseating, not just for the view of dead babies, but because of the warped sense of glee they seems  to evoke.

A miscarriage is always tragic. Hope and excitement are turned to grief and anguish. I found this story particularly poignant as early in my first marriage my wife miscarried twins.  Granted, her miscarriage occurred much earlier than the one in the article, somewhere around 6-8 weeks.  We didn’t even know she was pregnant until she miscarried.  She had always had irregular periods so 6 weeks without a period wasn’t unusual.

Even though we didn’t have to deal with having expectations horribly ruined, there was still a overwhelming sense of loss and grief and months of mourning.  It was a terrible experience that any parent dreads and fervently hopes never happens to them.

While I don’t doubt that the Ellis’ suffered anguish at their loss, to take these almost gleeful pictures of their dead babies is disturbing.  To post these pictures publicly to advance their anti-abortion stance is unconscionable.  To have such an awful experience used as propaganda in such a light-hearted way is nothing but insensitive and depraved.  In their quest to trumpet their morality they instead show just how twisted this kind of belief can make a person.

Abortion will always be a contentious subject, but this kind of disgusting display has no place in any debate on the issue.  It is an affront to every parent who has lost a child to miscarriage.  It is a horribly insult to any parents who are dealing with a pregnancy or hope to get pregnant.  Most of all, in their attempt to humanize their poor babies (who need no humanizing to begin with), they instead show the dehumanizing effect of their ardent, dogmatic beliefs.

Featured image by Heather & Josh Ellis, Live Action News


Jay is a dad, husband, and pet lover. He has a degree in Theater Arts and works as a Unix systems administrator, mainly because he has a degree in Theater Arts. He used to be a single dad, but now he is married to the perfect woman. He has two teenagers, a daughter, and a step-son. He also has an adult son. He shares his home with his wife, kids, an Australian Shepherd, and a bevy of adorable chihuahuas. He is a skeptic and humanist and tries to contribute to spreading rationality by writing about skeptical topics. You can find samples of his writing on his personal blog at Freethinking For Dummies, the JREF blog, and in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

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