In The Interim of October 1983, I wrote an article on an outstanding American lady named Mrs. Jean Garton, Litt. D., L.H.D.
I had just read her book Who Broke the Baby, and was fascinated by her story.
I did not dream at that time that I would have the pleasure and honour of introducing her at the Campaign Life Coalition Pro-Life Speaker for September of this year. In fact, I introduced her three times on the same day. The first was at a luncheon for Catholic priests in the Essex Hotel; the second was at a fund-raising dinner in the Primrose Hotel; and the third was a lecture in the same hotel for several hundred people.
While I told the same joke three times on the same day – and Jean dutifully laughed each time – she gave three totally different talks and each one was a spellbinder.
Jean if the wife of a Lutheran minister. As she approached the age of 40, she had three children who were all at school. Bottles and diapers were things of the past and she looked forward to doing all the things she had wanted to do but had to postpone as the mother of young children. She had always heard that “Life begins at forty,” and she was prepared to prove it.
Then she discovered, to her horror, that life had begun – within her womb. She was pregnant! Jean revolted.
She was angry and frustrated. Surely she deserved a break after all those babies and bottles. What about her rights as a woman? She possibly even wondered if there really was Anybody Upstairs! She wanted to have an abortion but this was before the Supreme Court decision allowing abortion on demand. She felt trapped for being the wife of a Lutheran minister, she did not want to tangle with the law.
So, her baby boy was born.
In her anger, Jean joined a group which was endeavouring to liberalize abortion so that she could assist other women who would, in the future, suffer her fate. She attended indoctrination meetings intended to train pro-abortionists in the skills of how to present their case and convince women about their rights and the “non-rights” of the “fetus.” They were told to “stress the woman’s right to choose.”
At first Jean lapped this up as it fitted her own case perfectly. But Jean is not only a very intelligent person; she is also possessed of crystal-clear sincerity. Gradually, the phoniness of the language used began to grate on her nerves.
For instance, they were instructed “never to accord humanity to what is in the womb.” It should be referred to as “a blob of tissue” or “the contents of the uterus” or “the product of conception.” Call it anything you wish, they said, as long as you don’t call it “a baby” or “a child” or anything that might suggest that it is a human being.
Jean felt increasingly uneasy with these false semantics, which while being effective, lacked integrity.
Kicking and screaming
But she was not going to surrender too easily her desire to widen the scope of the law, so she decided to dig more deeply. She spent many months in study and research on the whole question of unborn life.
She read law, medicine and history. She delved into the Scriptures and the writings of the Church fathers. She says, “I worked long and hard to find some evidence to support the theory that unborn life is not human – and found none.”
In the end, Jean says, she was metaphorically dragged kicking and screaming into the pro-life position by the sheer weight of scientific evidence. Summing up her opinion of the semantic mechanics of the pro-abortion camp, Jean says, “the pro-abortion argument tells it as it isn’t.”
Who broke the baby?
What follows is taken mainly from the book Who Broke the Baby? which Jean wrote in 1979. It is a lovely story and I take the liberty of quoting directly from the book.
Jean says, “In those months of study, however, I learned much more about God’s wisdom than about the abortion issue. He head my complaints, displeasures and anger. He received my demands and protests; He bore my weeping and gnashing of teeth – and lovingly endured them all. For He knew what was needed in my life to accomplish His purpose and plan. The unwanted, unplanned pregnancy resulted in a very wanted and loved child.”
Jean then goes on to tell the story which gave the book its title. One night, when all the children were in bed, Jean was putting the finishing touches on a slide presentation she was scheduled to give the following day to some medical students.
One of the slides showed an abortion victim of two-and-one-half months’ gestation. The body had been dismembered by a curette in a D&C abortion procedure. Suddenly she heard a sound behind her and a tiny voice asked, “Who broke the baby?” It was her youngest son, now aged three, who had decided to take a walk and came into the room just at the crucial moment.
Little did he realize that he himself might have suffered the same fate if he had been conceived later than 1973. Jean continues with this question. “Why is it that so many of us fail to see and to feel what a three-year-old knows by nature?”
In one of her talks, Jean told us a very sad story of a tragic incident which occurred long after her book was written. Her older son, who had been wanted and loved from the beginning, was murdered. At his place of work a woman was attacked by a maniac with a knife. Her son happened to come in and rushed to her assistance. The attacker turned on him and stabbed him. Jean and her husband received the news when they were stopped on the highway by a police car.
She brought tears to all our eyes as she spoke so movingly of how much she thanks God for the son whom she did not want, and who is now 21 years of age and over six feet.
This wonderful wife and mother now devotes her life and exceptional talents to the defense of the unborn. Her trenchant arguments might be summed up thus: “Abortion is not the solution to a problem; it is elimination of a human being perceived as a problem.”
The final paragraph of her book makes all of us examine our consciences. Here it is:
“Who Broke the Baby? It was not an easy question to answer then nor is it easy to answer now, for ‘who’ includes so many of us. Not just the aborting mother or the abortionist, but all of us who are silent and apathetic, those who ‘sitting down, watched.’ All of us who are unresponsive and uninvolved, those who pass on the other side. ‘Who’ includes all of us whose inaction contradicts our beliefs as Christians, whose lethargy discredits our convictions as Americans, whose inertia disaffirms our commitment to the Judeo-Christian ethic. We too are the guilty bystanders who also “Broke the Baby.”