Monday, August 31, 2015

What Does it mean, Pro-Life?

I’ve heard three pro-choice stories that make me wonder if the mothers made the right choice.

The first was a story I encountered through a Facebook page from “Life” about former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end and practice squad member (also a former member of the Bears, the Dolphins and the Bills, according to his Wikipedia page) and his wife Olivia deciding to carry to term their baby despite the baby having anencephaly and their being advised that terminating the pregnancy made the most sense. But the Rodrigeuz’s chose to carry the baby to term, the birth should happen in December.

Didn’t know much about it before this. I vaguely remembered my parents talking about a child who had a “water head.” That child must have been born to someone they knew. “Hydranencephaly,” I think they called it. Looked it up. Not the same thing. Anencephaly is a condition where much of the brain fails to develop and, sometimes, the skull and skin don’t cover the head. Children born with this condition apparently don’t live long.

The second story I heard was about a Minnesota woman who chose to bring her conjoined twins to full term, despite the fact that she was told that one of the two was very unlikely to survive birth, and the other was distressed. One of the babies survived birth, the other died shortly after birth, and the surviving twin is in critical condition.

The third story was that of entertainer Christina Millian’s sister’s baby boy. The child was diagnosed in March with the condition omphalocele, a condition in which the organs are outside the body. Unlike Anencephaly, treatment options exist for omphalocele, and at least one pediatric hospital gives children with this problem high survival possibilities, if the child has no other problems. ( Apparently Danielle’s child had other problems and did not survive. 

The Hollyscoop news people reported that doctors suggested that she end her pregnancy, but that she responded “There’s no reason he doesn’t deserve life.”

There’s no reason for any of the children not to have life. That’s certainly a moral choice that parents are capable of making without my second guessing their judgment.

But I’m going to second guess their judgment.

Not necessarily their judgment, but the ideology that says that live birth is preferable, is morally better, is the only way that a pregnancy should be terminated.

For whom are we giving life that will end in just a few hours? For whom are we giving birth when the birth will result in a predictable death? Is this for the sake of the child or for the sake of the parents?

Danielle Flores (I think that’s her last name) already had a pet name for her little sick baby. After its birth she talked about how blessed that child was. She showed a photo of a tiny foot with an IV. She showed a pic of the child’s chest. She didn’t show a pic of the child’s intestines outside the child’s body.

The Minnesota army captain showed the ultra-sound of her twins, but nothing of the survivor in the ICU.

The Rodriguez’ don’t yet have a picture of their daughter. They probably won’t publish it if they take any photos.

These children will live only a few hours. Will those hours be spent in pain? I don’t know. I do know that they will be spent in intensive care, in medical trauma, with a quality of life that is going to be less than optimal. Is this what it means to be “pro-life?” No matter how much distress you cause this little baby for its few hours on earth, it is better for this entity to be born? Really?