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Hi, this is my blog for all sorts of pro-life news, statistics, stories, and personal ventings. I am a wife and mother, as well as a nursing student. I I truly believe that abortion has failed women, and will continue to do so as long as it is legal.


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Monday, July 03, 2006

Ending a pregnancy when the child is incompatible with life.

I haven't fully developed my opinion on this matter, so I'm hoping that this post can spur a discussion on the issue. My question is this, can ending a pregnancy due to a condition incompatible with life be a moral/loving decision? I want to clarify that this post is ONLY about inducing labor(not D&E) of a child who can not live due to a condition i.e. anacephally,certain types of dwarfism ect.

My initial instinct is that it can. I recently read a story of a couple whose preborn child was diagnosed with a type of dwarfism that was always terminal. They choose to end the pregnancy(note: they did not choose to kill their child, but rather induce labor and allow the child to die in their arms). While I could never choose such an option, doing such seems more akin to taking someone off a respirator than to the atrocity that defines most abortions.

Of course, I am uneasy saying that this type of termination of pregnancy is ok, because it seems to open the gateway for others. It also opens the door for end of life issues. I am defiantly against any sort of futile care laws, but as I said, there are some cases when removing a respirator seems moral. I'd really be interested in hearing what others have to say on the issue.

EDIT: Thank Jaque for reminding me of my convictions. I realize that I was railing against the institution that would allow such death rather than the acceptablity of a termination. I have the deepest sympathy for the couples who have fallen victim to this mentality. Praise God and HIS plan.

12 Comments:

  • I realize I'm using alot of the same rhettoric as the choicers on this issue. I guess it's because I see this as truly a "termination of pregnancy" as opposed to the killing of abortion. Until today I was staunchly against such terminations, but I'm starting to question how I feel about these end of life decisions.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 11:57 AM  

  • My opinion on this is: What's the big damn hurry?

    Seriously. If the child is terminal and going to die shortly after birth, why not let him die naturally? Why the rush to take away what little life he'll have?

    I don't think that choosing to kill a child is justifyable because he'll die naturally shortly after birth. In many ways, it's worse because you're taking life away from someone who is already deprived. We'll all die sometime, but does that justify taking life ourselves(which God forbids)?

    Besides, do we kill terminally ill BORN people because they only have a few months left? My moral stance is that you shouldn't accept for unborn people what you wouldn't apply to born people.

    Then there's always the consideration that doctors misdiagnose, which diagnosis warrants abortion (via early delibery or otherwise), and the wrongful life lawsuits where doctors suggest killing any child that might have a disability to avoid being sued for the child's care.

    Those are the reasons why I am emphatically against such abortions. Hope this helps you in determining your stance.

    :)

    By Blogger A View From the Sidewalks, at 12:03 PM  

  • But, Lauren- "termination of pregnancy" that results in the intentional death of a child is just a euphemism. Like "end of life decisions" is a euphemism for euthanasia.

    Think about it this way, what if you had a child and she was diagnosed with only 3 months to live? Would you make her comfortable, pray for her, love her and let her die naturally. Or would you eject her into a place you knew she couldn't survive (outside on the street, alone in the bathtub) for the purposes of killing her? How is that not murder, and how does it differ from "terminating a pregnancy?" Ejecting your sick baby from the warmth and comfort of your womb so he/she'll die quicker might not be as gruesome as typical abortions, but the end is the same.

    By Blogger A View From the Sidewalks, at 12:08 PM  

  • You're right that I could never simply say "well, you're dying anyways timmy...migh as well speed up the process" and when faced with such a decision I would choose to love and carry my child to term.

    I just have a hard time condeming the type of parents who loved their child so much, only to be told he could never live. I know that they ended the pregnancy because they had immense pressure from their doctors. It isn't fair that life in the womb isn't seen as life.

    But these parents are overcome with pain because they feel like they had no other choice. It's just hard because they loved their child so much, and I don't know if their act should be catagorized with those who choose that their child will die.

    Of course, after reflection I know that deciding when death will come is not our place, and that God decides these things. I was just gripped by the immense saddness over their loss that I lost sight of God's plan.

    Thank you for helping me come back to the realization that first convinced me that such acts are not what God intended.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 12:30 PM  

  • Yes, I have similar struggles. To see a couple love a child that ends up stillborn when so many pay people to dismember their children in utero. I just try to hold sight to God being the author of life and choosing to take it at His will, not ours. It's one thing for a child to die naturally, tis quite another for us to take it into our own hands. I'm reminded of a slogan I read once "Some babies die by chance. No babies should die by choice."

    I see what you mean about the pressure and the mentality that can coerce parents. I met one father while sidewalk counseling whose wife had placenta previa so badly that any more time carrying the baby might kill her. The child would live as long as it was in the womb (but not outside the womb) and the mother would suffer so badly for any extra time she carried the baby. After our conversation a hearse drove up (a hearse at an abortion clinic is a poetic and eerie thing) to take the child away. They had to pay the clinic more to give them their child for burial!

    I thought about their case. I certainly wouldn't do what had to be done at an abortion clinic however. I'd induce labor at a hospital. But to those that just have a child with a problem, a child they love, I always ask, "Do you want to be the love that took the child's life? Is that the memory of your beloved child that you want, when God will take him anyway- in HIS timing?"

    Perhaps the grief is so great, people attempt to do anything to reduce it even a little. Maybe having some control eases the pain. But it's important not to lose sight of what we're doing and to let God be God and stay in control of life and death.

    By Blogger A View From the Sidewalks, at 1:57 PM  

  • 1. Electing to end the pregnancy when you know that this will kill the child -- how does that differ from abortion? The only case I can see this as justified is if the pregnancy is a threat to the mother's life, when it's a choice between losing both of them or only one of them.

    2. How are parents going to feel if the doctors turn out to have been wrong? Some parents are told to "terminate" because the fetus is "doomed," only to end up killing a healthy baby with an abortion.

    See Be Not Afraid for more on continuing pregnancy after diagnosis of a fatal condition.

    By Blogger GrannyGrump, at 8:42 PM  

  • I am pro choice prior to conception, pro life after, I want to put that up there first, but I am also a mom, a woman and someone who has had to make that very choice. I became pregnant with my first baby at 17. I had full intentions of keeping her, she was mine and I loved her! At 26 weeks I went for that exciting routine ultrasound to determine the sex, and POOF my whole world fell to the ground! They dr's were quiet and all I kept saying was what is wrong.. what's wrong, next thing I know 5 more doctors arrive... long story short, my daughter had Anacephally. She was not going to live. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, she just won't. I was asked to make that decision, to induce or go on to full term and then be induced, as with these pregnancies labor doesn't start on its own?!? Now I am not sure anyone here can say they would carry an unviable baby 3 more months, grow attached, have people pat your big belly, all while you knew the baby was not going home with you, I had to think it over a full weekend, and then deliver a still born (labor is what my daughter died from, as do most of these babies) because it is not fair to the baby. What's not fair is the diagnosis to the mom to be, especially at a young age. I got to see her, dress her, have pictures and burry her, just as if she were born alive and died of a illness. These are 2 different issues, a living breathing human has every right to take their FIRST and last breath, but an unviable baby should be born by the moms wishes, as soon as she is ready to say hello and goodbye! I now have 2 healthy children and think about my angel Hope (3/14/95), who is in heaven watching overe her little siblings every day, I would hate for anyone to go through with what I did, but god forbid it happend, you would understand the difference!

    By Blogger Toni, at 6:42 PM  

  • Toni-

    My deepest sympathies from your loss.

    I agree with the choice you made as there are always health risks with pregnancy. Since your child wouldn't survive labor regardless of whether it was then or months later, what you chose to do was the wisest thing I beleive. I am very sorry that you endured that.

    By Blogger A View From the Sidewalks, at 6:49 AM  

  • Toni, I'm so glad you posted. It really is good to hear from someone who has experienced this. I'm sorry for your loss.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 9:11 AM  

  • End of 2005: My little dear one, at under 20 weeks' gestation, was diagnosed with a lung condition "incompatible with life" upon birth. She would die gasping for breath if she were to carry to term, in the words of the perinatalogist.

    The condition is so rare, little is known, and most women terminate on doctor's advice, so anything that could be learned to help these little ones is discarded as well. A second opinion yielded the same thoughts, though not as graphically portrayed.

    I cried myself to sleep for months wishing it were not so!

    (At 17, what a very hard thing for you. I cannot imagine your suffering, a first baby, and you were just a kid! I would have shared this little bit then with you if I'd known you, but do not look back now as though I condemn - your heart has been bruised enough. This is for others to think through.)

    A woman in our church carried a baby to term who she knew would die at birth, but in her grief she gave her body up to house her tiny little one for the days God had numbered for on this earth. She named her darling daughter, Mercy, and buried her. She used to tell how she enjoyed "playing" with her as she kicked inside. Little did I know I would need this perspective myself.

    My husband and I made our decision regarding life issues long before this circumstance in our life arose, as Elisabeth Elliot quoted, "My life for yours" but I did not know how hard it would be. Much easier to actually DIE and have it done with, (give my life for another) than suffer through a growing life within knowing I will watch a child die breathless at my feet. It was my turn to drink from the cup of sorrows known to women throughout the ages . . .I accepted, yet I wept.

    My little Rachel Elise (her name means: little lamb, covenanted to God) whose days were numbered
    by God, was born prematurely in 2006, and the little coffin I'd envisioned as her final resting place was not to be.

    She lives!

    Not one doctor out of twenty would give me a shred of hope, yet she LIVES!

    The miracle of her life was no more precious to me when she was in my womb - I have six weeks in a hospital on bed rest, prior to her birth, separated from all I hold dear, as a testament to that fact, every day spent not believing I would have a living baby to hold for more than a moment when I was through.

    I am not a strong person - this was not an EASY time,
    and I did not deserve the blessing God gave, but I felt Rachel deserved her life, no matter how short it would be lived, no matter how it would inconvenience me.

    Had she died, I would have held the same view. My life for hers. My long days alone for her brief moments to live.

    By Blogger Michaele, at 9:18 PM  

  • Wow Michaele, That is a wonderful testimony. I too spent weeks hospitalized and was given grim hope for the survival of my son.

    Like you, I placed my trust in God and He blessed us with a miraculously healthy little boy. God Bless you and your child.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 5:35 AM  

  • I know this is a way old post, but I came over from a feminist blog I read often and found it while going through your archives. You remind me a lot of myself a few years ago actually! Anyway, this is an issue I feel strongly about, because I did have an elective induction because my son had a fatal birth defect, and he would be unable to live outside of my womb. I was 22 weeks pregnant when I found out that my son had a limb wall body complex- no kidneys, underdeveloped lungs, a hole in his heart, no anal opening, and the entire contents of his stomach outside of his stomach as his abdominal wall didn't close properly. Because he didn't have kidneys, I had very little amniotic fluid, giving him no room to move and causing his leg to bend backward. My son was born at 27 weeks after I made the difficult choice to induce labor, lived for a half hour in my arms and died peacefully cradled by his mother and father. He had bruises on his face from where my uterus was literally beating him. My original choice had been to carry to term, but as he started to show signs of distress and I became increasingly unable to deal with the knowledge that my son would not come home from the hospital with me. I wasn't able to enjoy his kicks, I would sob hysterically every time I felt him move. People would ask my due date, what I was having, what we were going to name him, and I would go to my car and sob to the point where I would lose my breath and throw up. I was sent home from work on numerous occasions because I looked like I was about to pass out and the color would drain from my face. Do I believe it can be a loving choice? Absolutely. Do I believe that sometimes it's the best choice for everyone involved? Absolutely. It was the best choice for me, for my husband, for our daughter and most of all for the son we made the choice for.
    -Julie

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:22 PM  

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