The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 April 2005

Heart and soul

A little something from Vent #226:

This was the first time anyone had actually used the word "stillbirth", and we were absolutely horrified. "We're still not getting any readings," they said, pointing to the fetal-monitoring apparatus. How could this be? "Sometimes they strangle themselves on the cord." Fighting back the tears, we resolved to get on with the delivery; there would be time enough for mental anguish later.

This was, as it happens, a few hours before the birth, and the alarms proved false.

But suppose they tell you something comparably horrible halfway through the pregnancy? What do you do then? Amanda Witt tells a story of two couples who took what today is probably the road less traveled:

[T]heir actions were, according to most of our country, insane. Carry an irrevocably damaged baby to term? Whatever for? Why not abort the thing, clear your womb, make room for another pregnancy, a healthy baby.

Fortunately for them, abortion was only suggested, not forced. But the days when it will be required are, I suspect, coming. Already we read about HMOs paying to abort babies with cystic fibrosis, while refusing to cover medical care for them after birth; we read about civilized countries killing disabled infants after birth, even babies whose defects are not terminal or even painful, but simply inconvenient. Already doctors talk about "futile care," stopping therapy, removing feeding tubes, "euthanizing" the aged, the disabled, the ill, the injured, the senile; expanding the categories of uselessness wherever difficulties, suffering, or complications encroach upon our simple "right" to unencumbered happiness.

I find it rather hard to characterize a country which jacks up its infant-mortality rate for the sake of convenience as "civilized," but maybe that's just me.

No, neither of those poor damaged children lasted too long in this world. Reason enough, I think, to hope for a world to follow.

And the young lady in the opening who was supposed to have strangled on the cord? She'll be twenty-seven years old this summer, and has a child of her own.

(By way of Francis W. Porretto. The link, I mean.)

(Update, 8:30 pm: Would you believe — "wrongful-birth" lawsuits?)

Posted at 8:17 PM to Life and/or Death