I want to say that I firmly believe that termination of pregnancy at any stage is wrong. I believe that interrupting a pregnancy (inducing before viability when the baby has terminal diagnosis so that mother does not have to carry to term) is wrong. I also want to say that I firmly believe most couples make that decision without the knowledge, support, care, compassion and love that they desperately need at such a traumatic time. Most women are told that if they choose to carry their terminally ill baby that the baby will suffer in utero.
I want to share this story of what it is like for a mother and father who are joyfully expecting their third child only to be told, "sorry,your baby has defects, please terminate."This story broke my heart open and pushed me to write this post. The cruelty and harshness this couple was treated with is unacceptable. As one mother who commented on the story put it "I can live with killing my baby, I cannot live with torturing her." WHAT! Are you kidding me? That's the best we can do as a society? Give parents the option between killing (through abortion or induction) or torturing-(carrying to term)? There has to be another way....(Just for the record-Suffering is a subjective phenomenon. Its impossible for the doctors to know for certain that a baby would be "suffering" inside their mothers womb...wouldn't aborting them also cause suffering? Wouldn't inducing early so that they are born premature and cannot survive cause suffering? We do not have the technology to judge weather a fetus is "suffering" inside the womb. So this common lie that the doctors tell their patients cannot hold up against philosophy and reason).
My husband just finished his ethics position paper on this exact topic, so I'm a little fired up about it. What I'm fired up about is the fact that there is so little being done to stop it. And I'm not talking about posters being held outside an abortion mill. That doesn't reach these parents, that doesn't relate to them, that doesn't help them. We have to do better people. As a Church, we HAVE TO DO BETTER.
So what do we do? What am I doing? 3 things that I think would help change this horror:
1.Change the minds and hearts of the medical professionals-I'm not in a position to do this, but I'm hoping someone who is does something about it and soon.
2. Bring perinatal hospice to all Health Care facilities. Think of hospice for your elderly family members- it helps make the end of life as peaceful as possible. Now add perinatal on to that and its a group who tries to make the life of a baby with a terminal diagnosis as peaceful as possible for mom, dad,family, and all involved.
As a pro-life Church we should be at the forefront of this. Perinatal hospice meets the family where they are at and gives them a way to make memories with the limited amount of time they have. In one study done, couples given the choice to terminate the pregnancy or carry to natural death (with a terminal diagnosis) with the help of perinatal hospice, 85% chose to carry to natural death!
No one wants their child to die-not now, not 3 months from now. Every parent wants more time with their child, not less. With perinatal hospice we can say to the parents, "we will walk with you during this dark, dark time. We will help you when so many are unwilling to help." So perinatal hospice-my husband is working towards it, I'm spreading the word and praying for it. You can do the same.
3. Spread the word about whats happening. Like I mentioned in my first paragraph-I had no idea this sort of thing was happening. And Ive been pro life for a long time. I'm convinced that most pro-lifers have no idea that this type of thing is going on. When we found out about it, my husband and I started calling it the "underbelly" of the abortion movement. No one knows it happens, and therefore it continues to go on.
But how can spreading the word about it help? Well because it keeps happening to couples who have no idea it happens. So maybe you know about this and you also know about perinatal hospice. And then your cousin, or another mom in your play group or co worker or neighbor gets pregnant. Then they go in for the 20 week ultrasound and instead of leaving happy knowing the gender, they leave devastated knowing their baby will not live. You can help direct them. You might be the voice to try to give them another option, one that does not involve torturing or killing their precious child. The more we bring this to the light, the better.
As a Catholic community of pro-lifers I feel like we have an obligation to fight against this. It's a touchy subject in the pregnancy loss world. I want to emphasis again-I'm not judging the people that choose this-I'm judging the act itself. Its wrong to abort.period. Its wrong to induce early before viability just so the mother doesn't have to carry to term a terminal baby. It does the couple no favor. It often leaves them with the guilt that no parent should have. Doctors think it will help end their grief and suffering, but the reality is that it prolongs it and often leaves them regretting a lot of decisions.
James 2:14-17 says
"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself"
As a Church we cannot simply let these couples fall through the cracks or simply mutter a prayer and move on...They need more, they need a better option, one filled with compassion and empathy.
I want to end by saying if we fail to do anything about this then we let the culture of death recruit another disciple. I cannot handle that, I won't stand by and let it happen. Please pray with me, educate yourself on this, spread the word. Give mothers and fathers another option -kill your baby, torture your baby....or the only option- carry your baby until natural death, make the most of their precious life.
Link to Perinatal Hospice
Video on what perinatal hospice is about: