Sunday, February 10, 2013


Civilized?A young Ye'kwana woman  had gone into labor. After 36 hours, she had still not delivered and was beginning to run a fever. I went in and checked on her, but I could tell things were not quite right with the labor. After asking many questions, she admitted she had not felt the baby kick, or move, for at least 3 days. I could not hear a heart beat.

We began to monitor her and planned to call the plane for a medical evac the next morning as she was running a fever, most likely from an infection due to the death of her unborn child. However, in the night, the child was delivered. A beautiful little girl, perfectly formed and of a good size, but dead at birth. I could also see why my friend had an infection as the child had been dead a few days. I delivered the child and placed her in a metal basin.

We had not lived among the Ye'kwana very long at this time and I was not sure how to proceed or culturally how we should dispose of the baby. I asked her brother in law what we should do. Imagine my surprise and shock when he took the basin with the dead child outside and gave it to the dogs! The hungry dogs of the village began to fight for the meal and soon nothing remained.

I was abhorred! Appalled! Disgusted! How barbaric! How inhuman! How primitive! How could I understand such a people!?!?! How could I ever love them? I wanted to scream and shake and yell out my disgust! I was sick to my stomach!

Then I realized... my own culture, my own people do something much worse and much more barbaric, and we assume ourselves to be educated, enlightened, cultured, civilized! We have the understanding of science and we have used to to our 'advantage'. We can 'choose' to end the life of an unwanted child at any time. This 'right' is even upheld by our courts.

Sure, we are too advanced to throw the corpse of a child to the dogs, a child that died in the womb, a child wanted by her mother. We would never do such a thing! But... we would end the life of an unborn child if the mother finds it to be inconvenient. We would then dispose of the child in a scientific, hygienic manner and pat ourselves on the back for being so superior to other primitive cultures which would deny this right for a mother to choose whether to keep the child or dispose of it.

Yes, dress the doctor up in a white lab coat, it makes all the difference! One is the picture of depraved humanity at it's most primitive while the other is enlightened science at its most evolved.

But, which is the more evil?