By Mike Jackson
Near the small town of Kingaroy, in the Australian state of Queensland, 23-year-old Fiona Simpson was driving home with her grandmother and infant daughter when they encountered rain heavy enough to convince Fiona to pull over. The hail started before they knew what was happening, a barrage of hail smashed the back window, falling onto Fiona’s daughter, who was sitting helplessly underneath. Without hesitation, Fiona jumped in the back seat and used her body to protect her child from the oncoming rocks of ice.
When the storm finally passed and they made their way to the hospital, it became apparent Fiona’s actions saved her daughter from grave and potentially fatal harm. Fiona’s body was battered and bruised.
She briefly describes the harrowing ordeal in a Facebook post:
“I’ve learnt my lesson today, NEVER drive in a hail storm! We parked on the side of the road when the storm got to heavy and the hail blew out our windows. I covered my infant with my body to stop her from getting badly injured."
A relevant question this story raises is whether Fiona had an obligation to protect her child from the harm of the storm, even if it meant using her body to do so. If we can manage to honestly answer before retreating to our ideological camps, we can agree Fiona did what she should have done. Refusing protection of her daughter in the name of bodily autonomy, for example, would have been wrong.
While Fiona’s actions were worthy of praise, it was not a supererogatory act. In other words, it did not go beyond her duty as a parent. She became a shield for her child to her bodily detriment, yet most of us would expect nothing less.
If you doubt this, ask yourself what your judgment would be if she thought to act but chose not to, resulting in serious harm to her child. Most of us would be very disturbed, especially Fiona herself.
Her actions demonstrate how she understands her obligations as a parent. She did not stop to reflect whether her bodily autonomy would be compromised in the situation. She simply acted.
Parental Obligation Is Not Dependent on Gender
It is worth noting the father in the same situation would have no less of a duty to save his child with the use of his body. Based on the norm of adult males being able to withstand more damage without mortal danger to himself compared to females of comparable age, you can even make the case he would have more of an obligation.
In fact, if Fiona’s husband were the passenger rather than her grandmother, I would expect him to make the first move to use his body as a shield, assuming he is bigger and stronger. This shows a rejection of a bodily autonomy argument in favor of abortion is not inherently sexist as many pro-choice proponents claim.
Although, with the illogical nature of the political left, many will claim the man having more of a duty to save the child is sexist in itself, but I digress.
It would have been wrong for this mother to abstain from using her body to shield her child from grave harm. How much more wrong then, is it for a mother to actively remove her child from the protection her body is designed to provide, directly resulting in the death of her child? Elective abortion is not only a failure to provide saving care, but an act which is intended to kill.
Fiona provided agape love, the most virtuous kind, by placing her child’s needs before her own. An act can be selfless without being supererogatory. An act can be both obligatory and worthy of praise. Sometimes it is okay to praise a parent for doing what they are supposed to do.
As the case of Fiona Simpson illustrates, carrying out parental obligations is sometimes very difficult and requires bravery, but maintaining your child’s welfare should always be top priority.