Pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng named ‘rebel of the year’

Chen Guangcheng
Chen Guangcheng: Nancy Pelosi, Flickr

While the gentlemen’s glossy is best known for featuring models and celebrities draped in high-priced clothes and others draped in barely anything, the current edition of GQ has taken the surprising move of naming Chinese antiabortion activist Chen Guangcheng “Rebel of the Year” for 2012.

While perhaps more symbolic than substantive, symbols are important. For decades the pro-life cause has seemed terminally unfashionable. But now there’s Chen, the blind man who stood down an entire government because he opposed its forced abortion and sterilization program, standing tall and looking like a veritable badass.

U.S. politicians have eagerly courted his attention. But so far, Chen has set the agenda.

“I know [Reps. John] Boehner and [Nancy] Pelosi might not agree [about which rights I represent],” he told GQ. “I think I protect the rights of unborn children, the rights of women, and the rights of any citizen. Human rights are not just children’s rights or women’s rights. Men have rights. The elderly have rights. This is a human problem, a fundamental concept.”

Chen’s recognition is one of several right-to-life victories over the last several days. Perhaps most notable, America’s abortion rate took its steepest slide in a decade, down 5 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to an announcement last week by the Centers for Disease Control.

The jury is still out as to why. Economic pressures are one possibility, though perhaps not as likely as more effective use of contraceptives. Pro-lifers may be divided on the use of those contraceptives, but the victory, even if mixed or marginal, is worth celebrating.

An important legal ruling went in the direction of pro-lifers as well. The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted a Missouri businessman’s motion for a temporary block of the Obamacare HHS mandate. The final determination will come a the end of the appeals process, but for now the court is taking seriously the claim that the mandate runs counter to the man’s constitutionally protected liberties, as it undoubtedly does for many others.

There is, meanwhile, continued and renewed cause for concern, both at home and abroad.

The overall abortion numbers in the U.S. still remain sobering. The CDC reports that in 2009 nearly a quarter of all pregnancies were terminated.

Next, a German high court issued a mixed ruling Tuesday on patents for embryonic stem cell research. “[N]o patents may be issued on stem cell research if human embryos have been killed in the process,” reports Deutsche Welle, which sounds positive, and the ruling at least partially aligns with a similar determination by the European Court of Justice in 2011 barring patents for stem-cell research resulting in the death of embryos.

But whereas the ECJ’s decision amounted to a declaration the life begins at conception and is worth protecting, critics are concerned that the German decision waters down the ECJ ruling.

More troubling — and suggesting an increasing comfort with infanticide — the British Medical Journal reports that Britain’s National Health Service doctors are treating “severely disabled newborns” with “end-of-life care.”

That is, in less Orwellian terms, they’re starving them to death.

An anonymous doctor says it takes about ten days as the children, deprived of food or water, become “smaller and shrunken.” The children naturally experience horrifying pain during this process. According the BMJ the doctor has overseen ten such deaths.

I realize that there are grave considerations here impossible to weigh in blog post — or even a hundred such posts — but similar end-of-life protocols in Britain are already under scrutiny, and it seems obvious that this development warrants extensive and truthful explanation.

“Medical critics . . . insist it is impossible to say when a patient will die and as a result the [protocol] death becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” reports the Daily Mail. “They say it is a form of euthanasia, used to clear hospital beds and save the NHS money.” My expertise runs far short of what’s required for the medical or legal professions, but it sounds like that to me too.

Americans should be particularly interested as our government moves further toward nationalized healthcare. Beds cost the state just as much here as they do in Merry Olde England.

For now we should celebrate Chen Guangcheng and add a prayer for more just like him to our daily petitions for mercy.

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