In November, South African authorities made a horrifying discovery when they found the bodies of aborted twin baby girls stuffed in a plastic bag and placed under a “Safe Abortions” sign. Authorities estimated that the babies were between eight and nine months gestation, old enough to have survived outside of the womb, according to a local news report.
Struck by the tragedy, South African columnist Robyn Wolfson Vorster penned a heartbreaking letter to the twins on Jan. 25, mourning that she and her society had failed to save them.
To the aborted twins, we failed you because if you died in the womb, even on the cusp of birth, our law says you were not a person and that you have no legal rights. We failed you because if you were born alive, no one will ever know or care. Forensic pathology services will list you as a stillbirth, even though you took a breath, and the police will not classify you as a murder statistic or investigate your unnatural death.
Today could have been your birthday. Instead it marks a month since your mother aborted you, placed you in a plastic bag, and left you under a “safe abortions” sign. Now I think about you every day. So many questions remain unanswered:
Why did your mother wait until she was eight months pregnant before deciding to end your lives?
What made her suddenly give up?
Did the abortion drug kill you? It doesn’t kill the majority of babies at such a late stage of development. Were you born alive?
Did she cry when she delivered you? What about when she put you in the plastic bag?
As your life ended, did it comfort you to feel your sister’s body next to yours as you had in the womb?
They are questions I will never be able to answer. What I do know is that we failed you. We failed you because we allowed your mother to live in poverty, desperation and violence. We failed you because we didn’t let her know that she had options: that she didn’t have to abort you, that there were arms aching to hold you—arms that ache still. We failed you because we have allowed the stigma of adoption to remain unchallenged. We failed you because your mother was not legally permitted to abandon you safely. We failed you because we didn’t police the people who illegally sold your mother the abortion drug, because they are allowed to carry out “safe abortions” with impunity—safe for whom, I ask? …
Dear innocents, we failed you and nothing we do can bring you back. But, your deaths did not pass unnoticed little ones. We cannot continue to fail the many others that will follow after you. Next time we must do better. If so, maybe your appalling and senseless deaths will finally have some meaning.
Though her words are directed at South Africans, they apply to people in every country where abortion is legal. She issues a challenge to people everywhere to wake up to the horrors of abortion, which kills millions of unborn babies every year world-wide. Her words should motivate societies to take action to protect their most innocent and vulnerable members from the deadly threat of abortion.