Hard Cases and Abortion
by Sebastian R Fama
The arguments in favor of abortion, when examined closely, are not very compelling. Abortion advocates will often try to compensate for this by pointing to the hard cases. They reason that any woman facing extraordinary circumstances should be allowed to have an abortion. Those who would object are characterized as being cruel and uncaring. But pro-lifers are anything but uncaring. They understand that if you care about someone you tell them the truth. And unlike abortion providers and politicians, you never seek to profit off of their misfortune.
The long-term effects of abortion on women are well documented and can be attested to by the women themselves (www.iregretmyabortion.org). Long term effects can include bladder injuries, bowel injuries, severe rapid bleeding, sterility, and a negative effect on future pregnancies. It can also have a profoundly negative effect on a woman’s mental health, regardless of how the baby was conceived.
The effects on the baby are devastating as well. Aside from killing the baby, most procedures involve tortuous pain (https://staycatholic.com/what-is-an-abortion/). In an article written for The Federalist dealing with fetal pain, Robin Pierucci, a neonatologist wrote the following:
In the neonatal intensive care unit, I see premature babies at the edge of viability (23-24 weeks’ gestation) react to painful or uncomfortable procedures every day. For example, when you poke them for blood work, the babies wrinkle up their faces, kick their feet, clench their hands into tiny fists, curl their toes, arch their backs and try to wriggle away, or smack at the offending person.
Fetal pain can be experienced even earlier as the staff of Human Life International noted in an article entitled: “Fetal Pain is a Reason to End Abortion:”
Medical experts agree that fetal pain begins at 14 weeks gestation, maybe even as early as 8 weeks. But perhaps the best source for firsthand experience with fetal pain is an abortionist. As early as 1976, those performing abortions realized that the procedure is painful for the dying fetus. Abortionist John Szenes describes an unborn baby fighting for its life during a saline injection: “All of a sudden one noticed that at the time of the saline infusion there was a lot of activity in the uterus. That’s not fluid currents. That’s obviously the fetus being distressed by swallowing the concentrated salt solution and kicking violently and that’s, to all intents and purposes, the death trauma.”
In a video entitled: “The Silent Scream,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mB4QZJODDJs) Dr. Bernard Nathanson presents footage of an actual abortion. When the procedure begins the baby becomes agitated and thrashes back and forth in an effort to get away. It’s heart rate speeds up and its mouth opens into a silent scream. Slowly the baby is torn apart until it is totally destroyed. It haunts me to know that, to date, we have “legally” aborted more than 61 million babies (in the US alone). And so the question remains, can such a brutal act ever be justified?
I was recently challenged with a few cases that involved difficult circumstances. I was asked if I would still be pro-life if I had to deal with them. Let’s see if they make a difference.
- Your wife is told by the doctor that her pregnancy is not viable; her baby has no kidneys or a brain, and will most likely die before birth.
Any difficult situation needs to be dealt with compassionately. But true compassion must be rooted in reality. Quick easy choices are not always the best ones.
Before Noah Wall was born his parents were told that he didn’t have a brain. They were advised five times to abort him. And five times they refused. Noah’s parents were told that he had very little chance of survival. However, if he did survive he would be severely mentally disabled – unable to talk, see, hear or eat. But the six year old can do all of those things. Noah defied the odds by growing a brain. When he was born he had about 2% of his brain. With the help of a radical brain training center his brain has grown to 80% (The Sun).
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler had a similar experience:
The doctors told Jaime and Dan Beutler that their little girl had no kidneys, a situation that, as they put it, was “incompatible with life.” The couple sought opinions from more doctors, only to receive the same grim prognosis. So, Jaime and Dan decided to step out on faith, deciding they weren’t going to give up on their baby. . . or God.
Word of the couple’s struggle was picked up by the press. Rob Volmer stumbled upon Jaime’s story. Rob had been through a very similar situation. His son’s life had been saved by amnio infusions of saline into his wife’s uterus. The kidneys are responsible for producing the amniotic fluid needed for overall development of the fetus, especially the lungs. Because little Abigail had no kidneys, the rest of her body was not developing. Rob put Jaime in touch with the doctor that had helped him (God Updates.com).
Long story short; Jaime received the treatments and her daughter Abagail began to develop normally. Abagail was born prematurely and weighed only 2 Lbs. 12 Oz. She went on dialysis until she was old enough to receive a kidney transplant from her father. End result; Abagail is a happy healthy child.
There are certainly no guarantees that every such situation will end this happily. But every human being deserves a chance at life. And no human being should be made to suffer a painful death because they have a medical condition.
- The doctor tells you and your wife that she will most likely die if the pregnancy is brought to term, along with the baby.
In this case we have two patients not one. And the answer is a simple one. The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists put it this way:
When extreme medical emergencies that threaten the life of the mother arise (chorioamnionitis or HELLP syndrome could be examples), AAPLOG believes in “treatment to save the mother’s life,” including premature delivery if that is indicated — obviously with the patient’s informed consent. This is NOT “abortion to save the mother’s life.” We are treating two patients, the mother and the baby, and every reasonable attempt to save the baby’s life would also be a part of our medical intervention. We acknowledge that, in some such instances, the baby would be too premature to survive.
Interestingly enough, whenever the choice is the mother or the baby, the moms usually choose to save their babies. As Janet Morana noted:
For many women, having an abortion leaves lifelong psychological scars. A mother’s maternal instinct is to save her child. What mother on a sinking ship would not put the life vest on her children first? If a car was careening out of control, wouldn’t every mother push the baby carriage out of the way first, even if that meant she might be hit by a car?
Abortion providers don’t want you to think of it that way. They work very hard at dehumanizing babies in the womb. And that’s because they profit greatly from it. But their deception does not always last. And it’s the moms who suffer. It’s true that God offers healing to them. However, the process can be difficult.
- You’re pro-life until your daughter is raped, and you’re forced to watch her suffer through her pregnancy, only to have her die in a failed attempt to abort at home.
Any rape victim should receive all of the help and support that they need. And that help should include sound guidance. Suggesting another act of violence, which is what an abortion is, can create a host of long-term problems.
That being said, let’s test the logic used in this scenario. Suppose your mother was raped and beaten into a coma. When she wakes up, she remembers nothing of the attack. Twenty years later she has a flashback and remembers everything. After a DNA test you find out that the rapist is your biological father. At this point does your mom have the right to burn and choke you with a salt solution until you die? Does she have the right to have you ripped limb from limb? Can she jam a tube into the back of your head and suck your brains out? I would say no. But that is exactly what is done to a baby when it is aborted. And that is why adoption is a better choice. It’s better for the mom too. Those who choose life do better over the long run, both physically and mentally.
The criminal behavior of some can cause trauma in the lives of innocent people. There is no magic wand that can make it all go away. Recovery can be difficult. That being said, we still have an obligation to act humanely. The rapist is the criminal, not the baby.
But what about the women who die from back-alley abortions? Just like abortion itself, this is an unnecessary tragedy. I wish we could have the option of choosing life for everyone. But unfortunately, we are not given that choice. We have a situation where we must choose between a very small number of deaths and millions of deaths. Logic demands that we choose the option that results in the fewest deaths.
- It is not your body, not your choice! A woman should be able to decide on her own as it is her and her alone who has to deal with this decision.
The woman is not the only one that has to deal with this decision. The baby and the father have to deal with it as well. As we noted earlier, an abortion causes a baby to suffer and die. And to write off the father is sexism in its purest form. A baby is just as much the child of the father as it is the child of the mother. Men, by nature, are oriented toward protecting their families. If someone purposely causes harm to a child it can have a profoundly negative effect on a father.
There is something else we need to consider. A woman has a heart, a set of lungs, kidneys and a host of other organs and body parts that serve to keep her alive, healthy and functioning. In short, they are made for her. But her uterus falls into a different category. As Stephanie Gray points out, a woman doesn’t need it. She can live without it. It’s actually not made for her. Every month it prepares itself for a new life. That’s the way God designed it. So when a womb is inhabited by a baby, that baby is on her own real estate. Thus, I think it’s more accurate to say that women haven’t so much been given a uterus as they have been entrusted with one.
God is the author of all life. He has given us bodies that allow us to help Him create. To a lesser extent we do the same sort of thing when we allow a small child help us bake a cake. We really don’t need their help. However, because we love them we let them be a part of the process. Likewise, God allows us to be a part of the process of creating new life. It would be wrong for us to destroy that which God has created. So yes, still pro-life even when unique circumstances are involved. As Janet Morana noted: “Choosing life is always the right choice, even when it’s hard, even when it’s scary, even when the outcome is unclear.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a leader in the early women’s rights movement. Commenting on abortion she said: “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”
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