On October 10, 1991, two boys drowned in a South Carolina lake. From the moment I first heard the news, I considered the deaths of three-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander to be a tragedy. In my view, the person responsible for killing these two young boys was a monster. Most of America seemed to be in agreement with me.
It turns out that maybe we were wrong all of this time.
Michael and Alexander were not murdered in cold blood. No, their death was simply the result of their mother’s feelings. Her right to choose, if you will. And Susan Smith was no mentally unstable killer. She was a freedom fighter who was way ahead of her time. She was fighting for the reproductive rights of women everywhere. She refused to abide by the laws handed down to her by men who knew nothing of what it is like to be a young mother.
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry has once again used her show to say something outrageous, this time while sharing her opinion on abortion. And what an opinion it was. Marty Duren does an excellent job of breaking things down but here’s the backbone of Harris-Perry’s argument.
“But not every pregnancy is a fairy tale. There are other stories. An ultrasound reveals severe birth defects. A child is raped and becomes pregnant. Another baby would jeopardize a mother’s ability to feed her living children. A woman decides she does not want a child at all. These are different pregnancies. They are reminders that an unwanted pregnancy can be biologically the same as a wanted one. But the experience can be entirely different.”
In Harris-Perry’s world, a world which sadly we all seem to be living in, life does not begin at conception or even birth. It begins when the mother wants it to begin. Theology has no say here. Nor does science. Only the mother’s feelings. What could possibly go wrong?
But the MSNBC host isn’t only talking about a high school cheerleader who got pregnant and doesn’t want her parents to find out. She’s talking about a mom with a two-year-old and a nine-month-old who has finally had enough. She’s talking about someone like Susan Smith.
“Eggs are fertilized. Embryos are implanted. Cells divide and multiply. Fetuses grow. When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling, but not science.”
It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a society by how that society treats its prisoners. Maybe. But how the most vulnerable are treated can be very telling too. For decades now we’ve been killing ours and calling it a right. We’ve even turned it into a booming industry. And now it appears that our bloodlust will not stop at the womb. Now we are witnessing the growth of a movement that has no problem with the murder of toddlers. It all depends on how the mother feels.
Two decades ago Susan Smith strapped her children into her automobile and drove them to a watery grave. The nation was horrified. Outraged.
But times have changed.
Susan Smith is up for parole on November 4, 2024.
Upon her release, she just might get elected to the United States Senate.
Or her own show on MSNBC.