Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

faint tappings

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 25, 2007

A Chicago Sun-Times story about a family decimated by drunk drivers begins with the following three paragraphs:

In court documents, the victim is referred to as "the fetus." But to Eileen Simmons of Aurora, she is baby Addison -- her beautiful, perfectly formed great-granddaughter who died in a fiery car crash along with her mother, who would have given birth to her two weeks later.

"Without faith, I don't know how we would get through all of this," says the 87-year-old Simmons matriarch who, one after another and sometimes two at once, has lost loved ones in accidents police say were caused by drunken drivers.

Solemnly, Eileen recites the names of the dead. Five of them most recently -- including this most innocent of victims, who had not yet taken her first breath.

Ten years ago it would have been grossly unlikely, fifteen years ago impossible, to find a news article in a mainstream secular paper in which an unborn child was referred to -- without scare-quotes and non-sarcastically -- as someone's (grand-) daughter, much less in the words "this most innocent of victims." In fact, while the quotes around "the fetus" are not precisely scare-quotes here, the thrust of the sentence makes fetus out to be the tendentious, faintly suspect term -- exactly the opposite of invariable newsroom practice in the past.

Newsrooms, and the editors who manage them, are nowhere near turning pro-life on us. The right to make one's unborn child into a fetus and thence into surgical waste tissue remains dogma almost universally in that business. But there is a growing willingness to set aside the style-sheets and let those who grieve over the death of a child use their own words to put a name to their loss. Coupled with this, the popularity of sonograms have given ordinary folks -- especially mothers-to-be, but not only them -- more confidence in using the language they always sensed was right.

Did you notice that the unborn victim in the story is "her" and not "it"? Those who remember the red-in-tooth-and-claw 1970s will recognize even that as no small victory.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($25,821 to go):
$150,000.00 $124,178.96
17% 83%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 26, 2007 9:41 AM ET USA

    Cynicism is a tool of the devil, skyp. Don't give in to it. Things ARE changing, albeit slowly and precariously, which is why we on the pro-life side mustn't let up. We should take stories such as this as good news and use it to bolster our resolve to continue the good fight.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 26, 2007 5:02 AM ET USA

    Don't bet on it Ephod. Without using force of our own to break the forces of evil (the laws) that protect the killers and their instruments, this holocaust will last forever

  • Posted by: - Mar. 25, 2007 11:32 AM ET USA

    Deo Gratias! Something at last is beginning to change.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! December 19
Federal debt as a social-justice concern December 19
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17