I really detest abuse of authority. And nowhere are the consequences graver than when the life of a baby is at stake. Imagine the scene. A mother and father have just received the tragic news of a grim, prenatal diagnosis for their unborn baby. While still in shock and very vulnerable, one of the first recommendations their doctor makes is abortion. Oh it may be disguised as “termination” or “early induction,” but make no mistake, what he or she is recommending is abortion—the intentional killing of their precious baby.
I have several friends who are doctors. They and many others wouldn’t dream of recommending abortion under any circumstance. But unfortunately this scenario happens with appalling regularity. I almost daily read about another doctor who tells parents to abort because they’re faced with a challenge. It breaks my heart and angers me beyond acceptable words to think that when parents need their “trusted medical authority” the most, the physician says abortion’s the answer to the problem. In many cases the doctor is wrong and the baby’s born perfectly healthy, or the severity of the situation is much less than predicted. Always allow for God to be God. Miracles happen. And whatever happens, God will give you the grace and ability to face this head-on.
Here are situations when doctors abuse their authority:
- Prenatal testing reveals a Down syndrome diagnosis. It’s assumed that because the parents permitted the testing, they must be open to considering abortion. Estimates are that as many as 90% of pregnancies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome end in abortion. This reveals an unquestionable bias toward abortion exists within the medical community.
- After enduring infertility, a young couple discovers they’re pregnant with triplets. The advice of the doctor is a “selective reduction,” which means one or two of the babies are aborted to increase the likelihood the remaining will survive. I can’t imagine how one could arbitrarily choose which innocent life to save and which to snuff out.
- Parents are informed that their baby’s condition is fatal. They’re told multiple times to either abort their baby or watch her die in their arms. So, if there’s a chance the baby will die, the answer is to intentionally kill her before she’s born? This is medical malpractice.
What’s most manipulating is that the tools used to push for abortion are fear and inappropriately directed guilt. “You shouldn’t make the child suffer” is one of the lies told. Hurting parents are deceived to believe that ending their child’s life is somehow compassionate and merciful. Pro-abortion advocates take such sentiments to an even lower level by asserting that giving birth to a child with a disability is ”unethical“ or worse ”selfish.“ ”The planned birth of a disabled child could even be considered a form of child abuse,“ stated Joyce Arthur of the Pro-Choice Action Network. Essentially, these parents are being told—pardon my directness—that it’s better to have their baby torn limb from limb in the womb. They’re saying that this precious baby’s life isn’t worth living.
There’s no doubt the pressure that parents face is immense. In the midst of such a heartbreaking challenge, here’s what they need to know the most:
- Take Time — Don’t be rushed into making a decision. Doctors may push to have an answer quickly. When emotions are high, it’s difficult to make a rational decision. Families deserve time to grieve, process the information and educate themselves about their options. It’s also advisable to seek out a second opinion from a pro-life physician or parents who’ve been there.
- The Diagnosis Doesn’t Define the Person — What many fail to recognize is that this child has an identity beyond his or her diagnosis. Acknowledge that this is your baby, your flesh and blood, and fully embrace his or her life with love and respect.
- Don’t Be Deceived — At the time of a diagnosis, it’s natural to feel a fear of the unknown. Don’t let fear direct your decisions. Abortion can be portrayed as “the best possible resolution,” but it’s not. No matter how bleak the prognosis, ending a child’s life is never an act of mercy. Abortion won’t make the crisis better, it’ll compound it.
- Always Affirm Life — Even when conditions are fatal, parents can treasure the brief time they have with their child. Every moment the child is alive is cherished. And perinatal hospice programs exist to help families make a compassionate plan for their child’s birth, allowing them precious time holding and caring for their baby. Plus they can memorialize their child’s life in beautiful photography. No matter how short, life is a blessing and deserves to be treated with dignity.
As genetic testing becomes more advanced, we can expect that there will be increased pressure to abort babies seen as “defective.” Desperate parents need positive, life-affirming counsel. As they face this tragic situation, it’s our responsibility to be a voice reassuring that we’ll navigate this journey with them. As a matter of fact, I learned this week that a bill is pending in Oklahoma that’ll require mothers and fathers facing prenatal diagnoses to receive information about services and agencies that can provide perinatal hospice, comfort care and family counseling. This information could save families from the grueling pain that abortion so often brings. Tony Lauinger, president of Oklahomans for Life, said it profoundly, “There is an infinite difference—emotionally, psychologically, ethically—between losing a child and killing a child.” Through support, education and awareness, hearts and minds will reject abortion as a “solution” and instead will stand up and protect the lives of their unborn.