Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wrongful Life

"What are you gonna write about momma?" Sloanie asks me as she drapes her arm over my shoulder looking at the blank page & the blinking cursor in front of me.
What do i tell her? That i want to write about how stupid people are? How blind? How hasty & foolish? Should i tell her that i want to write lovingly as a follower of Jesus, & yet furiously & venomously as a member of the human race?
Instead, i show her a blog entry from a favourite blog of mine, A Little Something Extra For Us - it's the sweetest blog about a family with 3 gorgeous boys - the middly guy has Downs Syndrome & the whole blog is spattered with sweet photos of family life with a busy home filled with preschool aged boys. Ooos & awwwwwws punctuate our conversation as i look for the link i want to show her.
Finally, i find it.
Jenny, the mom, recently posted a link to an article about a couple whose baby's diagnosis of Downs was missed during the pregnancy and so they're suing - a "wrongful birth" or "wrongful life" suit against the medical establishment that missed the vital diagnosis that would have prompted them to abort their child.
Reading through the comments section of the article is almost too much for me - & i know it's too much for my pre-teen girls who are gathered around me, getting an explanation of the genocide that is legal and encouraged in many countries including our own, so i skim through the article, explaining the gist of what has happened. They look at me - sadly - full of confusion & doubt. i feel the same way. Is this the world we are handing down to our children? One void of compassion & humanity? One where we create our own definition for 'worthy of life' & then go on a murderous rampage stamping out all beautiful lives that fall somewhere outside those limited parameters?
God help us.
i read a similar article not too long ago where a couple was suing the doctors for a failed vasectomy. i can imagine the child growing & learning of the supreme disappointment that his life & birth were to his parents - i can imagine the parents - cheeks red with shame as the one who they tried so hard to keep out of their lives, fills it with joy & wonder...
When will we wake up & realize that we've got it all backwards. Life is a gift - even in it's fragility & it's requirements of fresh faith each and every time new life begins... God is the giver, God is the taker.
Man should be humbly filled with gratitude.
i need to add a post script here - i was talking about my prolife stance with someone one time & he said, "You have to be prolife, you're a Christian".
i'm not gonna lie - Jesus is everything to me.
But, even if i weren't a Christian - i would still be prolife. Science backs us up again and again. There are no two ways about it - life begins at conception and abortion ends a life that has already begun. As a human being, i stand 100% against abortion. Mothers and Fathers should be willing to lay down their lives for their young & a just and generous society should welcome life, not throw it away.


Anonymous said...

When pregnant with Isobel we were called in for a special consult and told that she had a very high risk of Down's Syndrome and what were we going to do about it. The diagnosis was confirmed supposedly from the skewed results of the 16 week blood test (which I found out later isn't accurate for women over 40).

The tone in which all this was explained was "doom and gloom" -- then we were sent to Saskatoon on a couple of occasions for a consult with a specialist. They tried to get us to agree to amnio (I wouldn't do it) -- but after an ultrasound at about 6 months gestation they finally gave up beating the "Down's" drum. And Isobel is so smart it is obvious there is not a thing wrong with her.... but all the kerfuffle just made me worry throughout the pregnancy -- and all for nothing!

Going in to the drs. at 45 to confirm a pregnancy - the first thing the dr. says to us "What are you planning to do about this" -- like termination would be the first word on our lips! Sometimes I don't understand the medical profession at all... so much for the Hippocratic Oath and preserving life!

You don't see many people walking around now days with Down's and I guess this is why... they've all been "weeded out" prior to birth.

Saskatchewan Cousin.

paige said...

Denise - it is really interesting the number of false positives in prenatal diagnosis - but this totally brings up something that i think is worth talking about: EVEN when the diagnosis is correct - So, the child *does* have downs syndrome - and there *will* be all the difficulties that go along with that diagnosis - There is still no justification for abortion. We are so arrogant to think that because we're stronger, the child is vulnerable - (and even more vulnerable because of a diagnosis) - that we have the right to choose for that little one life or death.
When diagnosis is sought *purely* for the purposes of ending lives rather than to give good medical care - then we've gone too far.
Some of my kids are smarter than others - some more talented - some physically stronger... there is not one part of me that thinks that one life has more value than another because of these qualities.
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong" (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Courtney said...

I often think that these parents aren't really going after the lawsuit because they don't want their child and because they wish they would have known sooner so they could terminate the pregnancy. You should read the book Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. I personally think she is an amazing author and this novel is about a family that is suing a wrongful birth suit.
I don't think that the average person can even begin to understand what those parents are going through. Paige, I honestly think it is less about 'abortion' than about truly having funds to help with a child. I think there must be a vast difference between knowing that something is going to be wrong with your child... then to have one at 4.5 months and just beginning to realize it. I think there is an advantage of knowing about it before the baby is born... I think to be able to mentally prepare yourself from the start would be incredible. Would I have aborted Keziah... absolutely NOT! I don't believe in it at all either.... BUT would I have wanted to know from an ultrasound if it should have been picked up... absolutely. Do you really think a parent can go before people and say I don't want my child. Do you not think that it tears them apart. Do you not think that after having the baby, they love that child more than anything? When Jared was three days old and needed a spinal tap I was a wreck. I loved that wee babe more than anything on earth. Do you not think that these parents feel the same way? Is it not natural for a human being to want more for your child? To feel a need for money to make things 'easier'.... My life as I knew it a year ago is completely gone, now that I have two sick kids. Would I want them healthy and live a 'normal' life? Yes. Does it totally and completely suck that I have to stay at home every day for therapy for Keziah.. Yes. Is it a sacrifice I will make because I want to? Or because I have to? Probably a little bit of both.

I really don't think life is as black and white and we Christians would like it to be. I read that story and it doesn't anger me... it makes me hurt for them... it makes me love them... not for wanting to have 'aborted' their child... but because of the pain they must be feeling. I have a very strong Christian foundation and my faith has been shaken. In fact before the women's retreat I would have said it was shattered. The women's retreat helped me realize the past and the strength and trust that I have in God... I realize that God is still there and never left. I was just shaken... I couldn't imagine getting a diagnosis like Keziah's (or worse) and not have that faith in God. This has been the hardest emotional year of my life. I choose God's plan for Keziah. To not have that faith for something more would be shattering. I think we need to understand where people are coming from. Sure, Abortion is never the answer... but people need support and love in their pain. Read the book Handle with Care... it's a good perspective. I own it, my sister in law has it but you can borrow it after if you want.

paige said...

i guess the thing is - these parents are going before a court & promising to tell the truth & then stating that they would have aborted if they would have been given the information in time. Yeh, financially, emotionally, spiritually - special needs can take it's toll - but i don't know that a lawsuit is the answer - especially if the truth is that abortion was never an option anyway.
These parents - even if their intention is to have more money to help cover the costs of therapies etc... are banking on the legality & the availability of something that is morally reprehensible - there is something about twisting the system for gain that doesn't sit right with me here - especially when the price (standing before a judge saying your life would be better without your child) is so high.
i'd be glad to read the book if you wanna share tho :)

Courtney said...

I agree it is a journey that I would never go down, and a sad one that it is coming to this. I guess I'm just trying to understand that these are broken people. Everyone makes mistakes... they are still people. My heart goes out to them in their situation is all. I wish they didn't feel like this is what they have to do...

I usually never post or hardly talk about such issues as I hate controversy in every way possible. I guess I just felt like the parents need a voice too. I'm sure people everywhere are talking about how terrible it is what they are doing... but they are people too... and no doubt in my mind, people that have a huge burden to carry. I don't feel guilty for feeling sorry for them. I think in a perfect world their would be an endless supply of money for people with kids with special needs.

I love that you are passionate about things Paige. It is one of the reasons I check your blog several times a day... The way you put things always sound eloquent and well thought. I'm not a writer by any means, but I guess I like to stand up for he underdog. Not for their actions, but for their pain and essentially for their healing....with love and prayers. It's all I can do, as I know many people have loved me, and prayed for me in my own despair over the last year. Have my actions been as rash as these parents? No! But I have struggled with emotions and thoughts I didn't even know were possible.

Prvbs31Mama said...

I have tears pouring down my cheeks as I read about that couple...and then the comments...I'm also listening to Kim Walker singing How He Loves Us as I read and now write.
God loves ALL people, Downs babies included, they have a purpose on this earth, each and every one of them.
I think that it's a tradgedy that people can even *think* about killing a helpless baby, regardless of how that baby was conceived. It shows how horribly selfish this society has become.
I don't do all the prenatal tests and stuff because I know that God has created the perfect baby for my family, and ultimately I leave it in HIS hands.
I think as Christians, these sorts of choices ARE very black and white.
I cannot pussyfoot around others feelings when I feel something so strongly. I don't want to hurt people, yet even more I don't want to water down what is right in God's eyes. Thank goodness He is full of mercy and grace!!

Courtney said...

I'm not talking about abortion being black and white... I believe abortion is wrong... but how can one sit and and spout condemnation for someone you don't know? I have never thought I would have aborted my daughter... BUT I HAVE FAITH... these people are lost... these people have nothing to hang on to except their pain.

Until you tell me you've never thought of lying, cheating, stretching the truth, with holding the whole truth... you can't say you "You don't want to water down what is right in God's eyes.. and not 'pussyfooting around others feelings (even if you hurt them)." Do you think God wants you hurting his children because of what you believe is "Right in His eyes"? His mercy and grace is saving you just as much as He is saving them. He understands their hurt and pain no matter what they do with it. I just wish society could understand a bit of their pain. I understand their pain. There is no way I would wish that you had a special needs child so you could understand. But come on... have some empathy. Unless you have a special needs child there is no way you can even begin to understand. I'd hate to have continued in a black and white world. Life isn't that easy. Life sucks... to make us long to be in the presence of our Maker... not to sit around judging people. Be passionate about stopping abortion, but don't hate the hurting. And don't use your words to hurt others.

paige said...

Yeh, i get what you're saying, Courtney - kinda the mind battle i played out in my second paragraph - a desire to be gentle & yet my very human frustration.
But i get what ld is saying too - that *yes* it might be tempting to lie, cheat - or hold back on truth - but that hopefully - we will choose to do the right thing.
It's tough, but my hope is that society understands the pain of the hurting & has compassion - & yet does not condone the "solutions" that bring more harm than good.
There have been several times that i've been scared off of a certain subject because i lack the personal experience - but i think it's a *good* thing - a *stretching* thing - to try to understand subjects like adoption, ivf, special needs, abortion - when we are not drowning *in* those situations. To know what we believe before we enter in - to allow ourselves to be prepared to listen, even when that still small voice starts to get drowned out by voices of convenience.
((((hugs)))) obviously special needs is a tender subject - & i know that ld's are words desiring to protect the unborn - speaking for the ones who have no voice, not ones that are aimed at you - just at the injustice of abortion - & the prenatal testing that puts so many at risk.

Courtney said...

Thanks Paige,

It is good to know what you believe before situations, but I think you find you go to new depths in the situation and come out a different person (in a good way). I hear you! I know you! I understand your heart for both....

I appreciate your voice for the unborn child... A voice that needs to be heard.

Anonymous said...

We didn't have a "positive" Down's diagnosis - it was just that statistically the likelihood was 1 in so many (can't remember the number now - think it was 1 in 81). It seemed very high to us at the time till someone explained that it meant if 81 ladies had babies - 80 would be perfectly fine and just one would be affected in some way. When I went to Saskatoon to the specialist the first time, she said she'd had 4 women in the office THAT MORNING with the same dismal test results. And she aslo told us about presiding over a delivery where the mother had been given 1 in 4 odds of Downs but the baby was still perfectly fine... I was just annoyed at the way the medical professionals "assume" that women want abortions because they are 45 and pregnant or because there "might" be a chance there is something wrong. I didn't have the amnio because I would not have chosen to abort...

I have been having some other "lady problems" and have an appointment to see another specialist. Was surprised to see on the form to fill out before the appointment that it asks - in black and white - how many live births you have had; how many miscarriages and how many abortions! I guess your ob\gyn would need to know those details but it just surprised me it was on the form - bold as brass.

There is a vast range of "special needs" - as it turns out Alisdair was diagnosed in Grade 1 with something called dyspraxia (not dyslexia - that's something else). This means that the messages the brain is sending to the body part aren't getting through properly but are scrambled. So even though he is very intelligent he can't balance properly to ride a two wheeler (so is still using training wheels and will be 10 in September) and has a hard time writing, drawing etc. Has a little computer -- called an AlphaSmart -- to type assignments at school. And sometimes they use a scribed for tests and take him out of the class to do that. And he doesn't take handwriting yet like the other kids. He doesn't like being different but we just have to accept his abilities and adjust accordingly. Like we decided to keep him home from the three village Track and Field tri-meet because he has terrible trouble running or throwing a ball etc. and we didn't want him to be humiliated in front of other kids.

I don't know what kinds of disabilities Courtney's kids are dealing with, but I do feel for all the Mums out there who love kids who struggle. It isn't easy for the kids or for the Mums. But would the world be better off without the kids -- I don't think so!


Saskatchewan Cousin

mamazee said...

Paige, there is a very different trial before the courts right now that might give a balance to your girls (and does for me) - it's a mom of nine, whose baby was dx/ed with Trisomy 13 - the doctors promised they would do whatever lifesaving things they would do for any other child, but they lied, and then let the baby suffer (to "punish" the mom) and then she is alleging they killed the baby with an injection of fentanyl.
Sounds horrible, horrible - BUT this woman is being so very loving and constructive - she is going after the system, not individual people, and trying to understand their position. she's doing it for her baby, who didn't have anyone else to speak for her...

I think i could not be as self containted and bridle me tongue as she has done... But still, it's an encouraging thing... not enough, from my point of view, but still a move in the right direction...


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