IN PHILIPPINE MYTHOLOGY, there is a monster known as a “manananggal.” A fearsome creature, the manananggal is a beautiful older woman who preys on unsuspecting pregnant women in their homes. The vampire-like manananggal destroys the developing fetus in the womb, killing it by sucking the child’s heart.
The myth is full of weirdness: The manananggal splits into two—and while her lower torso remains behind, the upper torso, aided by huge, bat-like wings, flies off into the night, seeking an unsuspecting woman to attack with her long, proboscis-like tongue.
Like vampires, manananggals abhor garlic and salt. They also avoid daggers, light, vinegar, spices and the tail of a sting ray, which can be turned into a whip to be used against them.
OK, SO THIS IS ALL JUST CRAZY, the stuff of horror films and children’s nightmares. The human heart recoils from a beast such as this, a creature that attacks the unborn child, wrenching him from his place of safety beneath his mother’s heart.
I couldn’t help but think, though, of Planned Parenthood as a manananggal—and the abortionist’s instruments as her flickering tongue, prowling the world and seeking whom she may devour.
May our prayer be the salt—our voices in the public square, the dagger and the light—to dispel the monster manananggal from our midst forever. May the truth, the worth of each living soul, be the whip which, like the sting ray’s tail, dispels the beast Abortion from our land.