The Greatest Killer of Children in Modern Times
British neonatal nurse Lucy Letby will serve the rest of her life in prison for murdering seven infants and attempting to kill six more. It is unnecessary to review the details of her wicked acts; they are too painful to recite.
Why did this young woman, only 33 years old, do such horrific things? “The reasons why Letby, a neonatal nurse, committed the murders may never be fully understood,” writes journalist Matt Mathers. While this might be true, Letby herself offered the most convincing explanation. In a note found in her home, she had written, “I am evil. I did this.”
The repugnance of Letby’s actions is universal. Yet the coverage of her actions and trial demonstrates a moral blindness that is striking in its scope. For example, The New York Times story about Letby’s conviction called her “the most prolific killer of children in modern British history.”
This is simply not true.
In 2021, there were 214,256 reported abortions in England and Wales. In Scotland, there were more than 16,000 abortions in 2022, a nearly 20% increase over the previous year. In 2022, there were roughly 8,200 abortions carried out in the Irish Republic (ending about one in seven pregnancies). The data on Northern Ireland are harder to obtain, but scores is not too low an estimate.
In total in the British Isles, hundreds of thousands of unborn children are killed annually in the wombs of their mothers. The source (or, better, culprit)? The various countries’ national health care systems. In other words, the “most prolific killer of children in modern British history” is not the depraved Lucy Letby. It is a set of national medical insurance programs that enable women to access abortion, often at no cost.
Similarly, in 2022 our federal government provided Planned Parenthood — the nation’s leading abortion business — “$670.4 million in government grants and reimbursements.” This is up nearly 6% from 2021. And as scholar Michael New reports, since 2002 “the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood affiliates has increased by an astounding 75.6 percent. During the same time period, prenatal services offered by Planned Parenthood affiliates have gone down by more than 60 percent.”
At the state level, 17 states “have a policy that directs Medicaid to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions” (of course, there is no such thing as a “medically necessary” abortion). Additionally, 16 states “have a policy directing the use of their own funds to pay for abortions for low-income women insured by Medicaid” beyond federal restrictions on abortion funding.
The conclusion of the whole matter is that the greatest killer of children in modern times — in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States — is government.
This should chill all of us. But it does not. Even a superficial scan of the news since the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade shows how utterly distraught and indignant the so-called mainstream media and even many medically-affiliated organizations are about the end of the nationwide abortion-on-demand regime.
As readers of The Washington Stand well know, by every objective and scientific measure, the unborn child is a person, and persons deserve the right to life. They have worth and dignity apart from their mothers’ desire to carry them to term, an autonomous right that should be respected by law.
Alexander Hamilton understood the centrality of conscience rights to genuine liberty. He wrote, at the age of 23 no less, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” If this is true (and it is), being compelled legally to pay for the termination of a life should never have to plague those who pay taxes in any nation.
The volume in which a person’s sacred rights are written is created not at time of birth but within an amniotic sac. That volume is the masterpiece of the greatest Author of all. Its destruction should not be paid for by governments which, as the Declaration of Independence says, are “instituted among men” to “secure [our] rights.” The foremost of those rights is the simple right to live. That right should not be ended unjustly, which is what abortion does, and certainly should not be subsidized by the very governments designed to protect it.
Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Lecturer in Regent University's Honors College.