For the Kids Nobody Wants: Imagine There’s No Children
If the problem in our country is the fact that children are portrayed as inconvenient and are justifiably purged when “unwanted,” we need more than a campaign that says, “Don’t do that.” We need to do more than shout down the wickedness of abortion. We need to rehabilitate an entire view of the world. That is to say, we need to go back to the God who has made us in his image and see what he says.
Past the grove of cypress trees Walter—he had been playing king of the mountain—saw the white truck, and he knew it for what it was. He thought, That’s the abortion truck. Come to take some kid in for a postpartum down at the abortion place.
And he thought, Maybe my folks called it. For me.
He ran and hid among the blackberries, feeling the scratching of the thorns but thinking, It’s better than having the air sucked out of your lungs. That’s how they do it; they perform all the P. P.s [post-partum abortions] on all the kids there at the same time. They have a big room for it. For the kids that nobody wants.
In 1973, the Roe v Wade decision inspired Philip K. Dick to envision a world where children were unwanted and adults were free to alleviate their unwanted burdens with the help of the “County Facility.” In his short story, “The Pre-Persons,” Dick tells the story of Walter, the twelve-year-old boy who is traumatized by the thought that his parents did not want him. All around him, he knows children by name who have been taken, kicking and screaming, by the van. Fully legal, these children have the life sucked out of them, all because the parents did not want them.
Through the use of dystopian satire, Dick shows what happens when children are unwanted.
To date, white vans are not circling cul-de-sacs looking to pick up “the kids nobody wants,” but that doesn’t mean children are any more safe. Planned Parenthood “targets minority neighborhoods” to offer up their unwanted children. Walgreens and CVS just decided to stock its pharmacies with the abortion-inducing pill, mifepristone, so that unwanted pregnancies can end by a pill in the privacy of one’s own home. The Supreme Court of South Carolina just defended abortion by ruling that abortion is protected by the right to privacy. And in 2021, Senate Democrats blocked the passage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, while this year 210 voted against a similar bill, which would protect children who have already been born.
Is our world much different than Walter’s for unwanted children? It doesn’t appear to be. And yet, it’s not just these direct assaults that endanger children, it is the social imaginary behind them. A social imaginary is like a worldview, only with less thought and more feeling. And today, a predominant social imaginary is one that envisions a world unencumbered by children. That is to say, our culture’s images of human flourishing are those without kids. To give one example where childlessness is presented as a blessing, consider the ad campaign by Hilton’s Home 2 Suites.
On their Twitter feed, Home 2 Suites, has sold their brand by centering it around pets. Scroll through their timeline and you will find countless dogs and zero kids. And lest we think this is accidental, here’s their pet-centric mission statement: “From stylish suites w[ith] kitchens to free breakfast and amenities that focus on sustainability, Home2 Suites is perfect for guests and their pets.” Whereas families may have been the primary focus of hotels in another era, today Home 2 Suites envisions a different world. In fact, what alerted me to this branding was the picture I saw recently in a hotel elevator. In it, this same man, woman, and dog pictured above are found under the caption: “Bring your whole family.”