Amy Grossberg’s World

Last week, a Delaware court sentenced Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson to 30 and 24 months, respectively, for the death of their newborn son. As you may recall, after Amy gave birth in a Delaware motel room 18 months ago, the couple crushed the baby's skull, stuffed him into a plastic bag, and threw him into a garbage bin. What happened in that Delaware motel is a harbinger of what we can expect from a generation that has been insulated from the consequences of moral choices. The Grossberg case began on November 12, 1996, when Amy, then a college freshmen, called Brian and told him that her labor had begun. Instead of going to the hospital, the couple drove to a motel in Newark, Delaware. There, Amy gave birth to a baby boy. What happened next horrified the nation. After killing their son, Amy and Brian tried to remove all evidence of their crime. Their efforts were unsuccessful, and the couple was soon arrested and charged with capital murder. Eventually, the pair was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter. At the sentencing hearing last week, Judge Henry duPont Ridgely told Amy: "If there's a disturbing aspect to your character… it was an egocentricity that blinded you to the need to seek help and to the intrinsic value of the life of the child." Quite so. But in a postmodern culture, should we have expected these kids to consider the value of their child, and make the right moral choices? Consider: Brian Peterson and Amy Grossberg have grown up in an era that refuses to distinguish right from wrong. In particular, few, if any, adults are willing to tell teens to refrain from sex outside of marriage. What's more, when it comes to sex, our culture has severed bad moral choices from their consequences: Brian and Amy had a constitutional right to purchase birth control devices. And if those failed, Amy had a constitutional right to have an abortion. This right extended so far as to allow Amy to abort her baby up to the moment of birth - or even during birth itself if her doctor elected to perform a partial-birth abortion. As Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote yesterday, it's a "short distance between what [Brian and Amy] have been sentenced for doing and what doctors get paid to do." This is the world Amy inhabits - in which there is no right or wrong… a world in which actions often have no consequences, and in which babies can legally be killed in a partial-birth abortion. Why should we be shocked when she did virtually the same thing herself? From her viewpoint, one could almost understand the rationalization. That doesn't excuse her actions, but I have to blame, in part at least, the abortion lobby and politicians who support partial-birth abortion. The blood is on their hands as well. This is the lesson we need to learn from the Grossberg case and share with our friends and neighbors: It's our duty to teach right and wrong to our kids. All the more so when our laws and culture do not. And if we refuse to subscribe to the idea of moral truth, then be prepared for continued unimaginable horrors: kids killing their own kids.


Chuck Colson


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