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FIRST-PERSON: Horton the elephant spoke a great truth

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–Like the main character in the Dr. Seuss book, “Horton Hears a Who,” Nicola McManus recently learned “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

In the good doctor’s classic tale, Horton, an elephant, discovers a civilization of microscopic size existing on a dust speck. However, once he is overheard conversing with the miniscule mayor of the Who’s — the identity of the tiny inhabitants who dwell on the petite particle — Horton is thought to be quite mad.

As the story unfolds, the peaceful pachyderm’s animal friends try repeatedly to destroy the dust speck and thus deliver poor Horton from his delusion. However, even in the face of stern opposition from an overwhelming majority, Horton clings to the truth that the Who’s are indeed alive and as such deserve to live. Like a broken record he steadfastly maintains “a person’s a person, no matter how small!”

Unlike Dr. Seuss’ endearing tale that turns out well for the Who’s — eventually they make enough noise to prove they do exist — Mrs. McManus’ tale did not have such a happy ending.

According to a recent report in Scotland’s Daily Record, McManus entered a North Glasgow hospital for the purpose of terminating her nine-week pregnancy. To induce the abortion, she was given the pill known as RU 486. The medication causes miscarriage and is supposed to make abortions easier.

After enduring hours of pain, the pill finally had its effect. McManus felt intense pain and “felt it happen.” Her pregnancy was over. However, when she was taken to the recovery room, cold cruel reality slapped her in the face. She described the experience thusly; “I fell apart. I couldn’t believe anyone could be careless enough to leave IT [emphasis mine] lying there.”

The IT referred to by McManus was the lifeless fruit of her womb. As she was ushered into recovery, she was met with a clear glass jar labeled with her name. McManus was confronted with the reality that she had just caused the miscarriage of a tiny human being and not some inanimate piece of tissue. “That image will live with me forever,” she told the Daily Record.

Nicola McManus learned in a most harsh way that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

The response from the hospital was profusely apologetic but predictably sterile. In a letter, general manager Mary McGinley wrote, “Unfortunately, the products of conception from your termination were in a labeled jar ready to be send to pathology and awaiting collection.” The letter went on to explain that the room she was taken to “was not normally used by patients.” Well, not fully developed live ones any way.

For decades advocates of abortion have sought to sanitize its reality via semantics. The propaganda is rote by now: A baby is not being killed, a pregnancy is being terminated. The byproduct of the procedure is not a dead child but the product of conception. It only took Nicola McManus a quick glance at her dead baby in a specimen jar to realize that semantics do not alter reality. A person is a person, no matter how small.

I have no way of knowing how much detail McManus discerned in her flash encounter with her nine-week pre-born child. However, I do know that medical science has shown us that internally at six-and-a-half weeks the baby in the womb has all the organs of an adult in various stages of development. Externally, at eight weeks of gestation, a child’s hands and feet are almost perfectly formed and fingerprints are beginning to develop. Whatever Nicola McManus did see, it was enough for her to conclude, “a person is a person, no matter how small.”

Let those who hear the “voice” in the womb imitate Dr. Seuss’ Horton and tenaciously trumpet the eternal truth that it emanates from a living being. No matter how high the tide of public opinion might rise in an effort to ignore that “voice,” may the response be “a person’s a person — and of infinite worth — no matter how small!”
Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church, McMinnville, Ore.

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  • Kelly Boggs