Friday, 25 November 2011

A Barbaric Suggestion

Imagine that you are pregnant. You have carried twins nearly to term, and then the medics tell you that one of the twins may have a heart condition, which may be fatal, or may require several operations throughout his or her life.

You are likely to be extremely upset, probably overwhelmed by emotion.

Then the medics suggest that one option is to terminate - well not the pregnancy, obviously, that euphemism won't work here... - to terminate the twin with the heart condition (which has somehow changed from a possibility to a certainty in people's thinking).

What you most need, probably, is time. Time to adjust to the new situation, time to work through the storm of emotions, time to think about the future, time to consider what the medical indications really mean, with all their 'mays.'

What you cannot have is time: a decision is needed. If we are going to terminate we need to get on with it.

There is something barbaric about offering such a decision to someone at such a moment.

A poor woman in Australia was placed in that position. As a result of a decision she took, both of her children are now dead, and she probably doesn't even know if either of them actually had the suspected heart condition.

I am quite sure she is bitterly regretting that decision, and I have nothing but prayers and sympathy for her.

But the medics, who apparently are devastated at what they have done... what did they think they were doing as they injected poison into the heart of a baby capable of being born alive?

And how could they think that offering a woman in a state of shock such a choice under such pressures of time and emotion is a responsible or humane thing to do?

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei
Ora pro nobis.


umblepie said...


Frederick Oakeley said...

She probably thought that she had to agree to what the doctor suggested. It is so easy in these circumstances for professionals to infer that not acting as proposed would harm the other child. Once the doctor plays God, the relationship of care and advice with the mother is utterly interrupted.