Horton Hears Your Fetus

Horton Hears a Who
Do you remember the lesson of Horton Hears a Who? No matter how small, everyone matters. Fox has brought the theme to the animated screen and not-unlikely bedfellows are seizing on the message. Under the revival tents, the anti-abortion preachers want you to glean something further from Horton: that the very life of a tiny embryo could depend on you, if only your inner elephant can be persuaded you hear its call.

Although, they’re are not talking about the embryos deliberately created en vitro by fertility clinics, terminated when too many have taken to the uterine wall. Nor babies miscarried, nor still-born. Do the pro-life Hortons not hear them?

Let’s agree that abortion is tragic, and shouldn’t be bandied about as a lifestyle choice like a Brazilian wax or a boob job. Personally I’d prefer our culture wasn’t so enthralled with promiscuity. Don’t encourage drinking if you can’t live with the car wrecks. Don’t paint sex as the ultimate of fulfillments if your society has set as acceptable norm a procreative age over a dozen years later than we are biological capable.

Fighting Fifth Avenue and mankind’s propensity to hedonism is doubtless harder than bringing the hammer down on a pregnant teen. Shouldn’t the church come down on immorality instead of its victims? Abortion is a hard choice, like any harsh dilemma. We euthanize cats and dogs when there become too many. A “domestic” animal designates those in man’s care, which live to serve us, and die according to our dinner plan. We ride our horses but leave them to the French to eat. To our credit we show a reluctance to face nature’s difficult choices.

Religious beliefs have been the ultimate causes of war, justifying killings in fanatical number, to this present day. Religion is always behind genocide. What is it about pre-infanticide that’s got zealots so indignant?

Is this about an egg and sperm’s right to wed? Or about the church’s prerogative to mandate pregnancy? I think to a large extent, it’s about enforcing puritanism, the better to reserve the sex drive for manipulating people. You can’t have your masses contentedly debauched, they must be repressed and thwarted, being lured by sex to get married and pregnant to breed the next batch of easily motivated worker/consumer drones.

I admire the Right to Life credo that all life is sacred. But is it? Right to Lifers remind me of pedigree animal rescue outfits, only THEIR breed is sacred enough worth saving. What about other forms of life? Owls? Whales, small fish? Are these pious folks practicing vegans, concerned not to exploit any living being? Do they feed themselves like the Buddhists monks who consume liquids through a strainer, careful not to swallow even a flea?

The pro-lifer’s concern is not for the human being small person, it’s only for the unborn baby. And it’s only for the unborn of their likeness, and more than likely from their neighborhood. Other cultures’ offspring are mere driving factors of overpopulation, unless they are our colonial suppliers of cheap labor.

And what about already born babies? Or babies -or tiny children- belonging to foreigners, right now being shot at by our troops? Where is the Right to Life alarm about people we are depriving of life? Horton’s lesson was that others matter, regardless of size. Would that mean not just little people? What of adult people being exploited, tortured or condemned to death, who is concerned for their right to life?

One of the charms of Dr. Seuss is that his myriad creatures represent an incalculable gamut of fantasy beings. Horton does not hear a baby elephant for example, he hears a WHO. The Whos of Whoville are not of his world at all, and might well inhabit a forth dimensional anthill as far as Horton can figure. Would this not be quite the humanitarian message for religious nuts preoccupied only for their own? Miserably too, they are not obsessed with precisely their own, but about YOUR own, whom they claim as theirs to save. Their daughters are having abortions, to the last, I can assure you that.

The your-baby demagogues are motivated by penance, for deed past or to come, but instead of flagellating themselves, they’re beating on your daughter. They are concerned for the right to life of her baby, to be conceived unprepared for and un-afforded. They stand for that baby’s right to the unending cycle of ill-parenting, vocational training, indebtedness, and life of servitude.

Dr. Seuss lived long enough to see the Religious Right’s interest in exploiting the Horton Hears a Sinner theme. Both Theodor Geisel and his widow publicly repudiated the holier-than-thou interpretation being used to agitate against abortion. But now his earthly voice is extinguished, and we can see Pro-Lifers don’t respect the dead either.

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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