Monday, January 28, 2013

What's the big deal about Caylee Anthony?

Last week marked the fortieth anniversary of Roe v Wade. 

As an unwanted pregnancy who developed into an illegitimate child, who was then adopted, I've always been thankful that abortion was not legal until three years after my birth. 

This seems a fitting time to rerun the hands-down most controversial, most vilified blog post I've ever written. I still stand by every word of it. 

From 7-19-11

I didn't watch too much of the Casey Anthony trial. I caught up on the highlights every couple of days, that's about it. Despite the fact that I am sure she killed her daughter, I speculated she would not be convicted. There just wasn't enough physical evidence.

The 'crimes' that convinced me, and probably you, that Casey Anthony killed her baby girl somehow, someway, just weren't prosecutable under Florida law. It's not illegal to not report your child missing for thirty days. It's not illegal to go out partying while an invisible nanny fails to return her. It's not illegal to post photos of yourself in wet t-shirts on your facebook page while the child you carried in your womb decomposes in a humid swamp.

We all know she did it because we know that normal mothers never lose sight of their children for more than thirty seconds without having panic attacks - possibly not even Casey. So she must have known exactly where she was to be so relaxed. Casey wasn't worried about her daughter because her daughter was already dead.

Since the truth has not been and will probably never be revealed, the reasons as to why Casey did it remain concealed. But we all have our suspicions. Little Caylee was probably murdered because babies are incredibly, incredibly inconvenient.

And this alone is what has shocked the conscious of our nation as a whole: the idea that a mother could dirty dance at a costume party while everyone else who loved Caylee was frantic with worry. The idea that a mother could somehow, some way just get rid of the child that got in the way of her freedom, then carry on like she never existed. Conservative or liberal, right wing, left wing, Christian, atheist: our nation is unified in its mutual disgust.

Except for me.
I'm just confused.

Because if Casey Anthony had decided that a baby was inconvenient to her lifestyle just a couple of years earlier, made an appointment, paid a doctor several hundred dollars to kill her daughter, then gotten up the next night, put on her sexiest outfit, and danced and drank away the night and posted photos of it on facebook, stating that she had 'no regrets', the majority of Americans would not bat an eye. Many, in fact, would applaud her, and call her strong, resilient, an amazing woman.

At age two, Caylee Anthony's death was nothing more than an extremely late-term abortion.

So, I want to ask those in the media, the many vocal celebrities, the average person on the street who express such disdain, why does this bother you so much?

'She didn't want to be a mom at this stage in her life, so she got rid of it.
She's actually a very good problem solver. 
It was a private decision.
I mean, I could never do it myself, but I don't feel like it's my right to force anyone to be a mother if she doesn't feel she's ready.
It's really none of my business.
What other women do with their own bodies - and the bodies of the children they shouldn't be forced to carry - is their personal right.'

Can someone just tell me what's the big deal?

I imagine that they would say it was because Caylee was a human being, and didn't deserve to die like that. Okay, so, tell me what makes a human being so special? Why are we humans more deserving of life than the poor but tasty pig that I had for lunch today?

Christians have an answer for this one: it is because humans, as opposed to other creatures, are made in the image and likeness of God. 

And I think this is one area where all people who consider themselves in any way spiritual agree. Christians call this "imago dei"; many other religions believe that there is a 'divine spark' in all humans. The finer details will differ, but at least we have some sort of common ground on this. So, agreed:

Humans should not be murdered because we believe that God's fingerprints dance all over our very being. Caylee should not have been murdered and subsequently disposed like garbage because she was made in the very image of God.

But how exactly did Caylee reflect God? Is God three feet tall with light brown hair and big brown eyes? Does he even have eyes? Or hair? And if he does, isn't it long and white to match his long white beard?

Question 9 of the catechism that we teach our children answers this for us: No. "God is a spirit and he has not a body like men." Or little girls.

Which means, I have no idea what he looks like, I just know that he doesn't look anything like me, or Caylee, because both of us indeed have - had - a body.

Therefore, if I am a reflection of him, it must not be in my physical arms and legs and belly button and eyebrow form. It must have to do with that spirit side of it. God is a SPIRIT. I am a SPIRIT. I am made in his image SPIRITUALLY, not physically.

Which means my body really has nothing to do with it. I was made in his image when I was an adorable two year old; an awkward twelve year old; a skinny 20 year old; and even now as a saggy 41 year old. If I live to be an even saggier 90 year old, I will still be reflecting his image. 

I was made in his image when I was two weeks old. And two weeks before that. And two months before that. And seven months before that. I was made in his image as an embryo - because it was my spirit that was formed at conception, in addition to my body. My spirit that transcends my body. And my spirit reflects his spirit.

Caylee's spirit reflected God's spirit.

Caylee Anthony reflected the image of God from the moment of her conception. But if her mother had chosen to kill her just a few months before, she would have never, ever been arrested, never been prosecuted, never been tweeted about, never filled the internet, never been on TV, we'd have never have even heard her name.

It doesn't seem logical to me that a different date on the calendar should make such a big difference regarding our ideals of acceptability and justice and maternal love and all that.

So y'all, come on now - what's the big deal??

If you think I'm the crazy alarmist right-wing Christian, I invite you to read this article from the very secular Journal of Medical Ethics: Ethicists Argue in Favor of "After-Birth Abortions" as Newborns 'Are Not Persons'


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