Miscellany: January 2003 Archives

More Hard Cases


Davey's Mommy asks me what my take is on the concept of abortion to save the life of the mother. I am reminded of the bumper sticker Abortion: One Dead, One Wounded. We got into the whole abortion debacle with the idea of 'Therapeutic' abortion, abortion intended to save (initially) the life of the mother. Then it became health, and then health was expanded to include mental health, and so on.
As we come closer to the tragic anniversary of Roe vs.Wade, I think we are all thinking deeply about this topic. Over at Atheist to a theist, Jeff Miller has a great item about the position of various religious groups on abortion.
And Then has a link to an item about the Polish government's efforts to remain pro-life despite political and economic pressures from the European Union. Earlier today I heard a program on EWTN about the pro-life battle in Ireland. There is a lot of good stuff out there especially this week. Check around. I also have a number of pro-life sites on my blogroll.
The National Catholic Bioethics Center has a confidential consultation available via email. Although there are very clear guidelines for Catholic hospitals and health care organization, they are often not honored or the exceptions become the rule. Alas, one can not even rely on most 'catholic' physicians (any more that on 'catholic' politicians).
There are really very few situations grave enough that without intentional abortion, the mother will die. I actually can't think of any where the treatment (which may be dangerous to the baby) can't be justified under the principle of the double effect. We do have a responsibility to take ordinary means to preserve health, but we are not required to try to live forever or at the expense of another. I cannot demand that a relative give me their heart or liver if mine have failed - I cannot protect my life at the expense of another. If my unborn child truly presents such a risk to my life, I still have an obligation to protect both my life and that of my unborn to the highest degree possible. At the point where the baby has a fighting chance to survive if born, induction of labor (or cesarean) is an option.
I recently cared for a woman whose baby was diagnosed prenatally with a lethal defect. Part of the skull had not formed, and the brain tissue was exposed and floating in the amniotic fluid. This woman and her family elected (against great pressure) to continue the pregnancy. She birthed the baby 4 weeks before her due date (similar to her other children) and held her daughter until the baby died, about 1 1/2 hours later. I baptized the baby as soon as she was born. One of the pressures this mom faced was the argument that there was no need for her to stress her body with pregnancy for a baby that was just going to die, and didn't she just want to get it over with? Her response (which I shall treasure forever) was "This is all the time I will have with this child. Leave us alone!"
If any of you have a specific medical condition that you are concerned about, please let me know. I will be glad to research it.

February 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28    
The WeatherPixie

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Miscellany category from January 2003.

Miscellany: February 2003 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.