Oregon’s Ariel and Deborah Levy are quite possibly the worst parents in America. And when you stop and think about the sorry current state of the American family, that’s saying quite a lot.
But how else would you describe a couple so disdainful of having to raise their Down Syndrome daughter, they sued their prenatal healthcare provider for almost $3 million for not warning them ahead of time of their daughter’s disability—thus denying them the chance to murder their daughter before she was born.
There are some bad parents in this country. Some sexually, physically, and/or emotionally abuse their children. Some abandon their children. Like too many others in our declining culture, some of these are things I have personal experience with. Fortunately, there are many inspirational stories of those who overcame that abuse or abandonment to go on to live happy and blessed lives, by the grace of the God in whose image we are all made.
However, how often have you heard of “parents” (and I use that term loosely) going through the trouble of retaining an attorney to endure the intense process and scrutiny of a civil lawsuit, just to proclaim to the world that they would have unashamedly preferred to kill their own kid before she was born if they knew then what they know now?
Not to mention the fact they not only don’t regard their child as a priceless gift from God, but rather a mere expenditure worth $2.9 million.
Perhaps the healthcare provider should’ve offered to settle the case out of court by volunteering to kill the Levy’s child now in order to relieve them of the burden of their daughter? Surely the cost of putting their daughter down permanently would’ve been much cheaper for all parties involved. After all, if the Levys primarily see their daughter as their expenditure and not their child, then any good manager will tell you the first step to controlling your costs is to get rid of that which doesn’t provide a good return on your investment.
According to the Levy’s utilitarian worldview, what return on their investment are they going to get from a child they are so burdened by that they regret not killing her before she was born?
Sure, the Levys claim that they love the child they are suing for not having the chance to abort, but it’s likely they have no idea what the word “love” really means. St. Paul defines love this way:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
Does that sound like the sort of love the Levys have for their daughter?
Some of you reading this will accuse me of being harsh, because I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. Except that I have.
My mother was 14 years-old when she conceived me. She could’ve certainly determined having a child before a driver’s license was a burden she was better off without, but she didn’t. My wife and I were warned our youngest daughter could have serious issues and to consider abortion, but we viewed her as a blessing and named her Zoe (which means life from God). Although Zoe’s strong will and independent spirit tests our patience, there’s never been a day we have regretted having her.
Our son, Noah, nearly cost my wife her life in a high-risk pregnancy. Again we were presented with options, but to us deciding on anything other than life wasn’t an option. Eventually my wife had to deliver via emergency C-section, and Noah was small enough to fit into the palm of my hand when he was born. We had no idea if he would develop normally or not, and he spent the first week or so of his life in intensive care. Five years later, he is my little dude.
One of my best friends has a very active family with four sons, but one of them is disabled and now as an adult is totally dependent on him and his wife to meet even his most basic needs. However, rather than viewing their disabled child as burden the way the Levys apparently do theirs, they viewed him as being made every bit in the image of a loving God as the rest of their children, and determined to find God’s purpose in this challenge.
As a result, instead of lamenting the missed opportunity to abort their son before he was born, the wisdom they have learned and the joy they’ve experienced from having him as a part of their family prompted them to write a book called Light From Lucas.
And if there’s one thing the Levys seem to need it’s a little shining in their darkness.
Jesus was once asked by his followers, “Who sinned so that this man would be born blind.” Before healing the man of his blindness Jesus replied, “No one sinned, but God allowed this to happen so that He could be glorified on the day when the world witnessed this man once was blind but now by the grace of God he sees.”
There are no accidents with God. Therefore, it’s no accident a family as spiritually blind and self-centered as the Levys have been gifted with a child like their daughter. A child that because of her disability will be compelled to find purpose, meaning, and joy in her life based solely on the simple and most basic things most “normal” folks like the Levys miss while running the never-ending rat race.
By proclaiming to the entire world they regret not murdering their daughter before she was born, the Levys might have earned the dubious distinction of “worst parents in the world.” However, while there are no accidents with God there are always second chances. It’s not too late for the Levys to learn something from the daughter they didn’t want. Something tells me a God who gives grace to the humble and chooses the weak vessels of this world to shame the strong, will use their daughter to do exactly that.
The only question is whether or not the millions of dollars a disgraceful jury awarded the Levys will deter them from being humble enough to pay attention.