Life is beautiful, and no doubt we were all given a wonderful glimpse into God’s incredible creation as we watched April the Giraffe finally give birth via live stream from the Harpursville, New York, zoo. That much-anticipated event finally occurred on Easter weekend; a time when new beginnings and rebirth are most recognized by Christians around the globe. April’s labor actually broke online viewing records, according to YouTube. The story has also been in the media spotlight for months, and the birth on April 15 sparked even more coverage, as well as a number of baby-naming contests.
It’s not every day that we are privileged with such an up-close view of wildlife. And care for all God’s creatures is an important part of Catholic teaching. Many of my radio listeners have said how much they have enjoyed following the story with their children and that it’s prompted a number of faith-based family discussions. April’s journey has even resulted in a special online effort to protect giraffes, which are in danger of extinction.
Most people I know are animal lovers, myself included. Again, respect for animal life is a good and noble thing indeed. But isn’t it about time for a reality check? This year it’s April the Giraffe. Two years ago, there was public outrage over the poaching of Cecil the Lion. The story received so much attention that the Minnesota dentist responsible had to close down his office and basically go underground for weeks. Think about the massive amounts of attention, energy and concern lavished on these stories involving animals, as opposed to the lack thereof when it comes to human life in the womb.
Quite a few of the “April the Giraffe” links that popped up in the news have no trouble at all describing April’s calf as a “baby.” Their broadcasts, tweets and Facebook posts were filled with such headlines and comments as this reference from The Washington Post no less:
“April the Giraffe finally had her baby. It’s a boy.”
How many times do we see or hear the developing child referred to as such, as opposed to being termed a fetus, clump of cells or a choice, especially when the issue of abortion is being discussed in the public square? After last year’s Super Bowl, NARAL Pro-Choice America nearly lost its mind over a Doritos commercial featuring ultrasound images of yes, there’s that word again — a “baby” — because, according to the pro-abortion group, the ad creators had the audacity to “humanize the fetus.” And yet many folks in our circle of family and friends were glued to their phones or iPads, waiting for April to have that “baby” and sobbing over the unfortunate death of Cecil.
Nothing brings this point home more strongly than the undercover videos released by the investigators at the pro-life Center for Medical Progress. Earlier this month, in the latest undercover video involving Planned Parenthood and allegations of the organization profiting from the body parts of aborted babies, an abortionist expresses disgust at the description by some of life in the womb.
“We have the people who do our paperwork for the fetal death certificates, they email us calling them ‘babies.’ Baby this, baby that, baby so-and-so, and I’m like, that’s creepy!”
Calling a member of the human race a baby is “creepy.” But we have such affinity for the new baby giraffe or the sadness over the poaching of a lion. Nothing against April, her new bouncing baby calf and Cecil, but where’s the love for the baby humans created in God’s own image and likeness who deserve, according to that unique design, our utmost love, support, attention and protection?
Teresa Tomeo is the host of “Catholic Connection,” produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and SiriusXMChannel 130.