THE ABANDONED CHILD

John Flannery
4 min readAug 20, 2022

BY JOHN P. FLANNERY

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s issued a decision, from the highest court, overruling what all the Justices had said was “settled law” in the case of Roe v. Wade.

Alito and 5 other Justices set upon to unsettle the decision they’d sworn was “settled” about 50 years ago.|

With this decision, out the window went a woman’s right of choice, of dominion over her own body, of her right to be let alone.

The Supreme Court also said it was better that we have the states figure this out, to create a patchwork of different and disagreeable ways to handle abortion from sea to shining sea in a shifting tectonic of what will become a woman’s individual rights and liberties.

Some states won’t allow an abortion even if the woman has been raped or her life is at risk.

Some say an abortion may be had during a time gap so short a woman might not know she was pregnant.

Pregnant children may be told they can’t have children, but they can be forced to have a child.

Is this the new slavery — force a woman to go to term even with an unwanted pregnancy?

The supreme court has created this misery for women because some religious believe the fecundation of an ovum is a “child” and they seek to impose this religious fiction on pregnant women who disagree. It is by such wrong thinking and additional constitutional violations that Theocracies are born.

There are various approaches we can take to unpack how historic and wrong Alito and his colleagues were in the “settling” of this constitutional right.

It forces the question, what kind of life does an unwanted child have?

Years ago, I represented Bobby, 19, a red-headed boy, charged with killing a young Korean immigrant about his age, only two years older, in a Sterling dry cleaners in Loudoun County.

When Bobby was born, both his parents abandoned him at the hospital. His father had been discharged from the military because of his schizophrenia. So Bobby didn’t have a good start genetically either. He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic himself. His grandparents accepted him into their home but they kept Bobby in a closet and fed him like an animal. Bobby never walked quite right.

Bobby was finally adopted by a loving family in Loudoun, Virginia, under another name, his background a secret to his parents. Bobby did well at school, wrestled on the team, had a job, and a girlfriend.

Bobby wrote an essay that he wished he had never been born, wished that his mother had an abortion.

He knew he was unwanted at birth — and for some time afterwards — by the misbehavior he suffered.

Bobby robbed the Sterling dry cleaners of $200 because he believed his girlfriend was pregnant — and he had this new responsibility — another unwanted child.

I fought to save Bobby from being executed when he didn’t want to be born in the first place. Bobby is alive, served his time in custody, was eligible for parole, and has now served his time.

Bobby’s story is not unique.

Rather there are many common and troubling features found among unwanted children — unwanted at birth, abused physically and sexually if not abandoned, psych issues haunting the children made adult, and, for many, the wandering from foster home to foster home, until they age out. Unsurprisingly, many have trouble with law enforcement and the “square society” that did all that it could to isolate these children.

We live in a nation that tolerates and promotes breeding without responsibility. A third of unintended pregnancies are with unmarried persons in their 20s.

We can’t even say, we pick up the care gap, because we give little or no help to the single parent and or the child once born.

Millions of single parents are mothers, who never marry, are food insecure, have substandard lodging, and are unable to educate or provide health care to the children.

Various studies in America and abroad have found what you’d expect.

Unwanted children are at an increased risk of juvenile delinquency, suffer lifetimes of underachievement, are compromised by learning disorders, drunkenness, adult criminal activity, require public assistance, and all these conditions are statistically worse when the mothers felt so certain they wanted abortions but were denied the medical procedure they rightly wanted.

The right to be wanted, it’s been said, is a child’s first right but it is only the first of many that are ignored in America.

This is the American condition, Dickensian in its indifference to the human condition, after a child cries and breathes life, that’s the last time a “pro-life” politician gives a damn about that child.

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