Short Story

Susan Hauck By Susan Hauck , 26th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

I have written a short story that is almost allegoric in nature. It was enjoyable to write, but thought-provoking and controversial. Read on!

Title: Duty

Once there was a physician who had practiced medicine all of his life and lived in a land where he was ordered by his government to kill any child declared unfit. Old Dr. Simler’s land was a land of patriotism that strove for equality among all human beings but which also embraced the philosophy that each person should sacrifice his or her own comforts for the good of the whole. It was for this reason that in his land, no woman was permitted to give birth to, and keep, a child who was deemed unfit. The criteria for decreeing a child unfit was rigorous. No mistakes could be made resulting in a fit child being euthanized. But any child unfortunate enough to receive this diagnosis was unceremoniously put to death. It had been like this for over one thousand years, ancient and set in stone. It was for the good of them all.
And there were no exceptions.
Dr. Simler had a patient, a young woman whose child had not yet come of age when the child died of an incurable disease. The woman grieved as only a mother for a dead child could grieve, but when her grief was spent, she wanted another child. Her husband agreed, happy that she wanted to try again. She was overjoyed when she felt the movement in her womb. But when she gave birth to the new infant, it was declared unfit. The woman pleaded for the child’s life, but to no avail. After a routine hearing, Dr. Simler had to take the child away from her. He then euthanized it.
Not long after that painful duty, a younger doctor made it known to Dr. Simler that he was appalled at the practice. This young doctor wanted to have the laws changed, for he was young, and although not quite the insurgent type--yet--talked passionately of social reform. So he confronted the old physician.
“Doesn’t it bother you that your government asks you to do something so merciless and cruel?” the young doctor asked. “That woman already lost one child. Why not let her have the less-than-perfect one?” His colleague was unwavering in his reply.
“The woman is young. She can have another child. If it is healthy, it will not be euthanized. I have never broken my principles, nor have I ever failed to do what my country has asked me to do.” Dr. Simler said, although there was sadness in his voice.
“But you hurt that woman! It was not her fault that her first child died. How can you claim to be a doctor and be so scant of mercy?” cried the young physician. “Doesn’t that bother you at all?”
Dr. Simler did not like to kill—the thought of it, in fact, made him slightly ill, even after all these years. He thought long and hard about the question the younger doctor posed to him.
“What are your principles regarding life?” he asked, but he knew that the young doctor had not yet been called upon to execute the Euthanasia Principle.
“Life is sacred,” the young doctor said. “All life should be spared, all life is precious. We are here to heal, not harm. I will follow my principles without exception! Nothing—not our government, not you, not a dissatisfied parent—could induce me to kill a less-than-perfect child!”
The old doctor nodded, and with the young woman’s agonized protests still resounding in his brain, replied, with tears in his eyes,
“Yes, and so you see, nothing could induce me to spare one.” The End

Commentary

I encourage everyone to deconstruct this story it in their own way and take from it what you will. There are as many different opinions as there are people. This story could be likened to many things. The abortion debate is one, although I did not write the story with that in mind. In my years of living, I have learned that all social and/or political issues are not as simple as they seem, and abortion is a complicated one, to say the least.
For instance, there are those who believe that life begins at conception. Some believe there is no pregnancy until the fertilized egg implants in the uterus and begins to form an umbilical cord, obtaining its nourishment from the mother's blood supply, which occurs about two weeks from conception. Others believe life begins when a fetus is able to survive outside of the uterus by itself. To make matters more confusing, medical advancements now make it possible for 2nd trimester fetuses to be viable with artificial aid, to the relief of parents with pre-mature babies.
There is the issue of assisted reproduction. One treatment option is the fertilization of a woman's eggs in a laboratory with her partner's sperm or a sperm donor, then the subsequent implanting of only the fittest eggs in the woman's uterus. The rest are discarded or used for research. Is this killing? For anyone who has been through such treatments, the answer is clear, especially if those treatments resulted in a long-awaited baby. Many happy children are alive because of assisted reproduction.
Then there is the dark, ugly situations of rape and incest, for which most people believe that there should be exceptions to the abortion rule, particularly if the victim is a child. I do not believe that any woman should be made to bear her rapist's child. In the case of incest, this is no less important. Incest leaves a scar upon a person's heart. Giving birth to a child of such a union could only serve to make the victim suffer further. Abortion can be necessary in such cases, and if anyone is to blame for it, it is the rapist.
But for those who believe that life begins at conception and that the only exception to abortion is to save the life of the mother, then abortion is killing, no matter what. However, it would do good for those who are against any exceptions to understand that it is always different when it's your own bull that gets gored. If it was your 14 year-old child impregnated by a relative or rapist, what would you do? It is easy to stand in judgment of others until it hits home.
As I said, abortion is only one issue this story can be likened to because of the story's allegoric nature. When it comes to matters of life and death, nothing is black and white. The thirty-plus year debate on abortion will continue until one side either wins or loses.
In conclusion, in this day and age, it is difficult to understand why women get abortions at all. Except for the cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother, most unplanned pregnancies can be prevented. Birth control methods today are—and are still becoming—ever more sophisticated. Planned Parenthood, despite it's recent scandal, provides birth control to low-income women who wouldn't otherwise have access to it, as does Family Planning and other, local groups. There is one in my area, whose main goal is to help women, whose pregnancies are unplanned, choose adoption rather than abortion. If they choose abortion, they are not judged, but given access to birth control so that it doesn't happen again. Perhaps this furious debate would be less furious if all sexually active women had reliable access to birth control and also a commitment to using it. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Tags

Abortion, Child, Conscience, Enthanasia, Human, Life, Murder, Philosophy, Physician, Sanctity

Meet the author

author avatar Susan Hauck
I have been a freelance writer since 2008. I have a four-year degree in social welfare with expertise in that area. I also write about many different aspects of nature, pets and pet care.

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Comments

author avatar CityJoe
26th Sep 2015 (#)

Ah....stories that make you think...my favorite. Great job. Thanks for the share!

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author avatar Susan Hauck
26th Sep 2015 (#)

Thanks, City Joe. Glad you liked it!

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author avatar Catherine
26th Sep 2015 (#)

The best part of this was when you said something like "I don't get why there are so many abortions period." Well said. In this day and age of birth control on demand, why are so many women careless? I guess because they know they can trot off to doctor Goswell whenever they feel like it. It's a shame. There are always exceptions to everything, but abortion is still murder however you dice it up. Except the morning after pill. Maybe I am talking out of both sides of my mouth, but if they would allow the morning after pill but illegalize abortion except in cases of rape I could live with that.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
26th Sep 2015 (#)

Thanks, Catherine for your input! I totally agree w/what you're saying. I like the "trot off to Dr. Goswell" statement.

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author avatar Retired
26th Sep 2015 (#)

GREAT piece! Really makes you think like Joe said. And I agree with Catherine. Part of the problem of abortion on demand is that it does promote carelessness. There is a simple way to eliminate the problem....IF YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE SEX USE BIRTH CONTROL. IF YOU ARE SEXUALLY ACTIVE, GO ON THE PILL. IF YOU CAN'T, THEN TELL MR.CHARM TO PRODUCE A RAINCOAT BEFORE KICK OFF TIME OR TELL HIM "HEY...THE DRUG STORE IS RIGHT OVER THERE..." IF HE COMES UP WITH AN EXCUSE. Would solve a lot of problems, wouldn't it? The "it's my body" thing doesn't fly for me either. I saw a picture once for the really stupid. It was an arrow pointing to the woman's body, and then an x-ray type picture of the baby in her womb, and the diagram said "your body" pointing to the woman, and then "someone else's body" pointing to the baby. Not that it helps the low IQ masses. And of course there are exceptions to every rule, but come, come now...THAT many "accidental" pregnancies in the age of birth control on demand, as Catherine put it. REALLY!? Or have we just become careless?

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author avatar Susan Hauck
26th Sep 2015 (#)

No, there aren't that many "accidental" pregnancies in the age of sophisticated birth control. I think we have, as you said, just become careless. I'm glad you liked my story!

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author avatar Ralph
26th Sep 2015 (#)

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar Susan Hauck
26th Sep 2015 (#)

I'm glad you liked it, Ralph!

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author avatar Yolanda
28th Sep 2015 (#)

Great story! It's a creative way to address a tough issue and I like that!

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author avatar Susan
28th Sep 2015 (#)

Thanks, Yolanda! It IS a tough issue, isn't it? I'm so glad you liked it!

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author avatar Kingwell
29th Sep 2015 (#)

I enjoyed reading this very much and I hope that you will continue to write.Blessings.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
29th Sep 2015 (#)

Thanks, Kingwell! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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author avatar Retired
2nd Oct 2015 (#)

The reference here is to Planned Parenthood, which supports the killing of babies who are unwanted.

And it's a government agency supported by our tax dollars. That makes every American forcibly supporting the murder of unwanted humans. It's sickening. This is who we are. or, I should say, who liberals are.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
2nd Oct 2015 (#)

That's true, LeRain, Planned Parenthood supports the killing of babies. But as I said, it also provides birth control, as do many other agencies besides PP. Abortion is sickening to me too, yet if women would simply use birth control methods correctly, each and every time, there would be no need to go out seeking abortions. I get what you're saying though. Unfortunately, many women use abortion as a form of birth control, when it's actually MURDER. Oh, LeRain! I wish we lived in a perfect world where every woman acted responsibly regarding their bodies! No woman wants to hear what the BEST form of BC is--chastity until marriage. Sadly, we are way, way beyond that now! Sex is casual and recreational these days. Sad, very sad.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
14th Oct 2015 (#)

Susan, great story because it really makes you stop and thing. Thanks for taking the time to write this and sharing it with all of us!

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author avatar Susan Hauck
14th Oct 2015 (#)

You're welcome, Nancy! And I figured you meant "think" instead of "thing". LOL!

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
14th Oct 2015 (#)

my comment should read think.

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author avatar onenow
31st Oct 2015 (#)

Great.
I especially liked how ridiculous people can be in the name of patriotism. This I will do whatever my country asks of me, without engaging one's brain, is what leads young men to kill people for corporations.

Thanks.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
31st Oct 2015 (#)

Thanks so much, Onenow. I'm so glad you liked it. I completely agree with your comment.

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author avatar Carol Roach
6th Nov 2015 (#)

yes there are many issues, many young people get pregnant because they do not use birth control, even though there is birth control is available, this is a big problem among the teenage population. Somebody who wants an abortion will get it at any cost, many women have died from back alley butchery, despite the safe haven laws, still infants are found in garbage cans and abandoned in the middle of nowhere.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
6th Nov 2015 (#)

It's terrible, isn't it? Even with safe haven laws! Birth control is so available, at least in developed countries, you would think these things wouldn't happen, but they do!

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author avatar Mark
16th Nov 2015 (#)

Another thought provoking piece from this author. Great job. Keep them coming.

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author avatar Susan Hauck
18th Nov 2015 (#)

Thanks Mark, I appreciate your compliment!

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