A beautiful video from America’s Got Talent is currently circulating the internet. It opens with a young man named Kodi, who is blind and autistic, being led to the front of the America’s Got Talent stage by his mom. Life in Kodi’s world has many challenges, his mom shares with the judges; but, she continues, “through music and performing he was able to stand living in this world, because when you’re autistic, it’s really hard to do what everybody else does. It actually has saved his life, playing music.”
Then, when his mom steps away from the piano after whispering an encouraging word to him – the moment of truth – Kodi starts to play and, well, you should hear for yourself:
As headlines swirl with strong agreement or rejection of Justice Thomas’s recent opinion on the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the lawsuit against an Indiana law that bans abortions being sought solely on the basis of the sex, race, or diagnosed fetal anomaly of the child, it seems this video gets to the heart of the entire debate.
In Thomas’s spectacular opinion, he details abortion’s eugenic roots, pointing to how the African American community and disability community are disproportionately targeted for abortion and that millions of girls are missing because of sex-selective abortions.
In page after page, he calls attention to the eugenic agenda of Planned Parenthood founder, Margret Sanger.
Sanger wrote: “the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit’ [is] admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization…the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.”
In Margaret Sanger’s view, pre-born babies who, like Kodi, are blind and/or autistic, ought to never be born. They are, to her, “unfit” and therefore unwelcome. Watching the joy on every audience member’s face as they witness the miracle of Kodi’s musical gift, and seeing the tears in Kodi’s eyes when Gabriele Union hits the golden buzzer, it is hard to believe that anyone could actually agree with Sanger. It’s hard to imagine how someone could believe that pre-born babies like him shouldn’t be given at least a shot at life, a chance to reach his or her full potential. And yet, only a few years ago Iceland boasted of “eradicating Down syndrome”, and by “eradicate” they meant abort every child with Down syndrome, of course. Even in the United States, a child diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome is more likely to be aborted than born. Shouldn’t it be common sense, and part of our common understanding of humanity, that no person because of race, sex, or health should ever be condemned as unfit and sentenced to abortion?
Amidst this dark situation, Kodi’s well-deserved standing ovation and the overwhelmingly positive reaction from all sides of the political spectrum can give us hope. Perhaps we have not totally forgotten that, as Mother Teresa put it, “we belong to each other.” Our tearful reaction to Kodi and his mother reveal that we know deep down what Sanger, and eugenicists like her, cannot understand – our dignity doesn’t come from arbitrary standards of fitness or “wanted-ness”, rather our dignity, our ultimate value, comes from our shared humanity. Only by reclaiming this belief will we be capable of making abortion, the intentional taking of innocent unborn life, not just illegal, but unthinkable.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift with the world, Kodi.