Medical Ethics in a Catholic Hospital

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Kevin Miller blogs about a disturbing practice. Women whose babies have 'anomalies incompatable with life' are being offered the option of having labor induced at extremely preterm gestational ages in some Catholic hospitals. These babies are then allowed to die from not only their lethal anomalies, but also their extreme prematurity.
Many do not consider this to be induced abortion. I think that they are wrong in that opinion. Let's look at the dictionary definition of abortion (from

1. a. Termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival.
b. Any of various procedures that result in such termination and expulsion. Also called induced abortion.
2. The premature expulsion of a nonviable fetus from the uterus; a miscarriage.
3. Cessation of normal growth, especially of an organ or other body part, prior to full development or maturation.
4. An aborted organism.
5. Something malformed or incompletely developed; a monstrosity.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
I think that the procedure described above falls into the category described in 1 or 2 above.


This is an incredibly difficult issue. My wife and I were presented with this exact diagnosis 16 years ago and the pressure was incredible from friends, family and the doctors to have this same procedure. After talking to a priest we decided that we couldn't do it and lived the next 6 months waiting for a handicapped or dead baby. Talk about the Olive Press. Our son Francis was born Oct. 6 1988 and lived long enough to be baptized. It's no exaggeration to say his broken short life was the most important experience I've had. He gave me back my Faith which was weak from having never been tested and he gave my wife and I a beautiful vocation as Lay Missionaries of Charity where we care for handicapped kids, who unlike our son lived, and started a support network called Isaiah's Promise that counsels couple who have been given the same diagnosis, living through this at the time seems impossible but we know at the end there is more life and grace then anyone can imagine.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on April 3, 2004 3:14 PM.

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