Are you saying that because I am disabled, I shouldn’t have been born?

A response to the argument that abortion restrictions allow "so many cripples" to be allowed into the world...

Are you saying that because I am disabled, I shouldn’t have been born?

Fot. Krzysztof Stępkowski

[Have you ever wondered what people with disabilities feel as they watch the world — in government, in the arts and on daytime TV — discuss things like healthcare costs and “quality of life issues” and who deserves treatment, and who should be helped to die? In view of such discussion, including a heated debate on abortion currently going on in Poland, you must read a moving text by  Grzegorz Polakiewicz, which he had posted to his Facebook account. Translated from the Polish, Aleteia republishes with his kind permission. – Ed]

It is getting late, yet I made up my mind to sit down at the laptop to write these couple of sentences. Today I have read what Ms. Bakuła said: “Without abortion, cripples would be born into this world.” I have also read the following commentary: “Rather than fight about abortion, we should think about what to do so that so many cripples would not be born. I partly know that answer to how to dramatically limit this fact”; I won’t even mention some private emails here.

I am disabled. I am a person who, in many people’s opinion, should not have been born at all! I am burdened with a congenital disease and a dozen or so other medical conditions; I do not have a left leg. The thirty years of my life so far have been full of trials and tribulations. This does not matter, though. Ever since I was 15, I have worked really hard, as my family was unable to provide for me. I have dedicated each and every free moment to be close to other people: in hospices, oncology hospital wards, children’s homes, prisons, care centers, railway stations, parks, corporate offices, churches, pubs, etc. I have been meeting the homeless, sick and poor. I have spoken face-to-face with popes, heads of state, cardinals, so-called celebrities, and prostitutes. I have been meeting politicians and successful entrepreneurs, children, young people, adults, and the elderly, believers and those who do not believe in God. Children and adults have been dying in my arms. I have loved and hated. As everyone else, I have had my dreams.

I have had my share of physical and spiritual suffering in life, too. I have been homeless, rejected and betrayed. As a young kid I heard my father say he was repulsed by me; these were actually his deathbed words. When I was being anesthetized on an operating table I had a premonition I would never open my eyes again.

I have heard so many times that my life “sucks.” And still, I would not swap my life for any other, as I am a happy man! If I had had a choice when I was, as some claim, an “embryo,” I’d have said under my mom’s heart: “Mom! Please, let me live! Even if you are anxious or do not want to, please let me live. I will manage on my own. I will not be a burden for you. Only let me live, please.”

By common standards we did not have much and yet my mom would spare no effort to let me take wing like a bird. She let me come to life and this is the greatest gift of all. She has chosen life! My life!

When today I hear and read that abortion is supposed to prevent the births of persons with disabilities, I ask myself a question: “Why shouldn’t I have been born? Has anyone lost anything because of me? Do not the love and heart I have lavished on everyone really deserve to exist? Why are there people who do not want those like me to live? Is it so hard to live our lives side by side with one other? Am I a burden for you?

I love life. I love my friends. Each and every day I keep discovering the beauty of mankind and the world. I have my feelings, too. Although you see my smiling face, believe me: I do cry! I cry when I see your pain, suffering and tears and cannot help you in any way. I do not have much, but I have a loving heart and I want to offer it to you. I want to offer you my time. Does it really mean nothing to you?

When you are so vociferous about the right to abortion, stop! Look round and think that perhaps someone you love, your best friend, someone you value highly, who would offer you all of his or her heart is a child who was not supposed to live. Think that they were supposed to have been “aborted.” Then look at me, please! Look me deep in the eye. Look deep into my blue eyes with tears in them and tell me: would you rather I was not alive today?

No matter what your response, I am thankful for your presence in my life, as you are its part and parcel; its Treasure.