When the tiny body washed ashore, it was identified as a baby. When a woman’s body was discovered only a mile away, the nation was gripped with the horrifying possibility that Laci Peterson had been found and that the infant found earlier was her baby, whom she had named Connor. When DNA testing identified the bodies, television networks interrupted coverage of the Iraqi war to report the double homicide of Laci and Connor Peterson. People around the world reeled with shock and grief at the brutality and callousness of the murders committed, unbelievably, on Christmas Eve.
But not everyone saw two dead bodies: Seeing instead the political implications, several leaders of the National Organization for Women (NOW), made public statements of breathtaking insensitivity, declaring that since the baby had been “unborn,” authorities should not be thinking about a double murder charge. Marva Stark, head of New Jersey NOW told the Daily Record in Morristown, NJ that even though Laci had a name for Connor, “if he wasn’t born, he wasn’t born.” Following a firestorm of outrage, NOW’s national spokespersons have declined to comment on Stark’s remarks and have tried to sidestep away from public censure without retracting the statements.
NOW would have us turn a blind eye to the fact that, when found, little Connor was identified as “a full-term baby.” If Laci’s body had not been found, and the baby had remained unidentified, who would have known that this was . . . what? A postmortem birth? And yet, without knowing that this little unidentified baby was the unborn Connor Peterson, his death would have remained a straightforward unsolved murder of an unidentified person.
The mind boggles. The eyes turn away. Who among us knew, or could comprehend, that a baby could be delivered in such tragic fashion. But think for a moment – it is not necessarily the fact of Laci’s death that decreed Connor’s death. Babies have been, in fact, safely delivered of dying mothers. Historically many a mother has given her own life in the process of allowing her baby to breathe the breath of life.
Let’s review. A pregnant woman disappears on the day before Christmas. The nation sees pictures of her incandescent smile for four months. Television screens around the world transmit radiant pictures of her glowing “with child.” We don’t want to believe that she is dead; we can’t imagine the kind of cruelty that would murder her and her baby.
Through the long winter of 2003, Americans and people around the world came to care about Laci Peterson and her baby; we wanted them both to be safe. When his fully-formed body was found, it underscored what most Americans already felt in their hearts — it was especially tragic that two lives were lost so horrifically.
By turning Laci and Connor’s tragedy into a political event, NOW’s attitude is: don’t grieve for Connor; he was a month away from being born. In the midst of our shock and horror, NOW is saying that his death doesn’t count. NOW does not see this crime as an act with double impact.
Indeed, that is the problem. NOW’s leaders fail to see.
Yet, there are moments in time when events come into focus; when eyes are opened; when truth is revealed. This is one of those times. NOW’s reactions to the Peterson tragedy — even their tepid sidestepping under public pressure — show their utter disregard for the whole woman. Their agenda has degenerated into a single point: It’s all about abortion, all the time. NOW has shown its true myopia.
It is clear that NOW’s vision is limited to a political agenda — abortion, abortion, abortion. Marva Stark said, “If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder.”
In the wake of the horrifying death of a beautiful young woman and her baby, NOW raced to the microphones to talk about abortion and used callous technicalities to describe the preciousness of life. Revealing that the Empress NOW has no clothes, the national office has determined that it is not “the right thing to take a position right now.” Meanwhile, average Americans, unconcerned with politics, see only the unbearable waste of life and have created a makeshift shrine in front of Laci’s home. They’ve left candles for her . . . and there are teddy bears with cards reading, “For Connor.”