Last week I mentioned an upcoming post on after-birth abortion. Life happened, and I didn’t get to publish my thoughts. I’m glad. A major case was decided last week that plays a part in this discussion.
An Oregon couple filed a “wrongful birth” suit … and won. Parents, whose daughter is now four years old, were assured that prenatal testing showed no signs of Downs Syndrome. Their child, however, does have that extra chromosome. They assert that, had the tests been accurately performed, had the doctors properly communicated the results of those tests, they would have aborted their child. On Friday, the jury, after deliberating for only six hours, voted unanimously in favor of their case, thereby granting them $2.9M to cover the additional costs of raising this unwanted child. You can read the story here.
Originally I wanted to talk about this article, a contribution to the Journal of Medical Ethics, in which doctors assert the moral acceptance of after-birth abortions. As the overlap of premature births and permissible abortions increases, the identity and person-hood of infants and fetuses becomes synonymous. Logically speaking, if fetuses are not “people” and therefore without rights, then the same applies to infants.
This is terrifying stuff.
The more I think about these related cases, the less I know what to say. How does one respond to the dehumanizing of children? Where can a standard, resolute line be drawn? If killing a newborn, say 2-3 days old, isn’t murder, simply because killing a child in utero isn’t murder, how long until it is no longer murder to “terminate” the life of someone with Alzheimer’s or … Down Syndrome?
Changing the words — murder to abortion or termination — doesn’t change the essence of what is being done. A life is being ended. Regardless of the circumstances, we should stand in moral objection to this!
I want to hear from you. First, remember the rules. (I will delete your comments, if you are disrespectful or vulgar in any way.) Second, consider these things.
- What is the value of life? Who defines it? Who governs it? What lines should be drawn?
- If we are headed down the wrong path, what steps can be made to “right” our course?
- What role does or should adoption play in this issue? How can we make it a more attractive alternative to abortion?