Lessons on Abortion from United Flight 93
Two days ago, the National Park Service dedicated the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA, where United Flight 93 crashed to the ground 10 years prior. Central to the memorial is the Wall of Names, which lists the 40 victims whose lives ended in that field one decade ago. Reading through their names and bios in the online memorial, I was struck by the fact that two of the passengers killed on Flight 93 were the parents of unborn children.
Lauren Grandcolas was three-months pregnant as she returned to her husband in California. Todd Beamer's wife was five-months pregnant in New Jersey as Todd flew to San Francisco on business. The life of Lauren's child was aborted on September 11, 2001, along with everyone else on the plane. The life of Todd's child continued, and she was born on January 9, 2002.
In the lead-up to 9/11's 10-year anniversary, Yahoo! News ran a story on Lauren's husband, Jack. The 6-minute video that accompanies the piece is a tear-jerker. Jack speaks of the depression he went through after losing his wife of 10-years and of translating that grief into the Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas Foundation, which financially supports a state-of-the-art birthing room at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, CA. Jack says that every time he enters the hospital, he is reminded of the fact that their child would have had born there. It's always the first thing that comes into his mind. "(Whenever) I go through a grocery store," he says, "and see a kid around the same age as our kid would have been, it reminds [me] every day that it wasn't Lauren that was lost, it was also a child, an unborn child that was lost." Describing the process that led to his relationship with the birthing center, he states:
Immediately after (9/11) we decided we should set up a foundation in Lauren's memory… She loved babies and desperately wanted to have a baby… We were searching for what was the appropriate dedication… a doctor friend of mine said, "Marin General is in need of birthing rooms."… We thought that was a fitting tribute… to [help bring] new lives into this world… That would have made her smile, to be a part of babies being born, every day and every year…. They're all my children in a way.
As far as I can tell (based on a couple interviews), Jack Grandcolas is not a particularly religious man. I doubt anyone would call him a "Bible-thumper." Nevertheless, he seems to take a remarkably biblical view of unborn life–though I suppose that shouldn't surprise me. We all have an intrinsic understanding that unborn children are valuable and worth protecting (no matter how much we try and convince ourselves otherwise). It's a natural inclination which reveals itself in countless ways–even in the tragedy of Flight 93.
Joan Peterson is a third victim that is memorialized on the Wall of Names. In her online tribute, we read that this retired nurse spent much of her time volunteering at a pregnancy care center where she counseled pregnant women in crisis. If you haven't noticed, pregnancy care centers like the one she volunteered at in Shrewsbury, NJ, have increasingly been the target of vicious ideologic attack. Because they don't perform or refer for abortions, Planned Parenthood and their minions are doing everything they can to shut these dangerous bastions of misinformation down. How is it then that such insidious, ignoble work could be included on her memorial?! Because at the deepest level, we all know Mrs. Peterson's work was nothing of the sort. She is rightly commended for volunteering her time to try and convince hurting young women that they don't have to abort their children. But imagine if she had instead invested her retirement performing free abortions? Would that have been included on her memorial? Or what if Jack Grandcolas had set up a foundation to help ensure families in his community healthy and happy abortions? Could that story have ran in such a positive light? Absolutely not, because no matter what anyone says, abortion is a pariah–and rightly so. It is nothing to celebrate.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Planned Parenthood helped comfort a grieving nation by offering free abortions to anyone in New York City (as if New Yorkers weren't having enough abortions already). It boggles the mind that Planned Parenthood actually thought this was an appropriate gesture. Terrorists killed close to 3,000 Americans on September 11. Based on the estimates for 2001, roughly 3,570 unborn Americans lost their lives to abortion on the same day. Planned Parenthood does every day what foreign terrorists only dream of and has wiped out millions of future U.S. citizens in the process.
Lauren Grandcolas' name is not alone on the Flight 93 Memorial. It reads: Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas and Unborn Child. The memorial bio for a fourth victim, Deora Bodley, gives special attention to the fact that she was the youngest (born) person on board. The inclusion of Jack and Lauren's unborn child among the list of victims is testimony to the intrinsic worth of all human beings (despite our schizophrenic abortion laws). The emphasis on Deora Bodley's age (20) may tell us something even more significant. The implication is that the relative youth of Miss Bodley makes her death that much more lamentable. Almost her whole life was still before her. By contrast, the oldest person aboard, Hilda Marcin, was 79. She had already lived a long and seemingly full life. She had been a widow for more than 20 years. That's not to say she no longer had a life worth living or that her death was any more justified, but all things considered, isn't the death of a younger person more tragic than the death of an older person? The younger you are when you're killed, the more of your future you lose–and unborn embryos and fetuses lose more than anyone.
Of the two unborn children with parents aboard Flight 93, one was violently assaulted, while the other one was left alone. Next January, she'll celebrate her 10th birthday. So even if you want to maintain that these two children were not really people on the morning of September 11, 2001–even if you want to say to Jack Grandcolas: What's the big deal?! It was just a fetus!–the longterm implications are undeniable. Human beings who are killed before they're "rational," before they have memories, or before they see the light of day are no less dead. Whatever life they had is snuffed out to never begin again. Their earthly future is forever lost. But if they'd just been left alone–if abortionists would just keep their hands from where they don't belong, these tiny human beings would soon satisfy even the most stringiest criteria for what makes someone a human person. Each of their deaths is undeniably tragic. And all they need is to be left alone.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.