OK. Here’s the article headline and link:
“Aborting my baby Oscar was the kindest thing I could do for him: Woman who made the agonising decision to end her child’s life after discovering he had Down’s syndrome”
I have to start this with the caution that I think these sorts of situations can really be difficult. Emotions, love, and, yes, even logistics all play a huge part. The problem is that – and this is very difficult – emotions and fears can prevent us from really discerning what the goal is, what the base issue is. If you can properly distill a situation down to its essence, the decisions become clearer, if not any easier.
I mentioned in my previous post that a lot of this end-of-life discussion – whether abortion or euthanasia – revolves around mis-naming what’s going on. People find and insist on using words that allow them to feel comfortable with doing something that is not something you should feel good about.
Suzanne was having a troubled pregnancy. Aggressive testing finally determined what they had feared; their un-born son had Downs Syndrome plus life-threatening heart problems:
“the test results were conclusive: our baby — a boy — had Down’s syndrome as well as a host of serious health defects including one with his heart which meant he had only a 1 per cent chance of survival. We were warned, even if he was born alive he’d be rushed to a special care baby unit, a very poorly little boy.”
They also discussed that they felt they could possibly cope with a Downs Syndrome child, but agonized over whether that would be fair to their first child. He would require a lot of attention. The daughter might feel neglected. It doesn’t sound that they considered if their daughter would learn to love and help in any small, sisterly way, to help her brother. Their deliberations were based more on fairness to her, which we all know the world isn’t anyway, than to their unborn son. To put it succinctly, this was a rationale of what’s convenient. Not to dismiss something as spectacularly inconvenient as a very handicapped child, but inconvenient nonetheless.
Suzanne goes on:
“Yet here I was, facing this agonising decision, one which was no longer so black and white, moral or immoral. It is an agony so intense that you feel physical pain and whatever choice you make, it is laden with guilt.”
If it hurts so much, if there is so much guilt, isn’t that a good indication of the rightness of what you are doing?
She and her husband Tim, racked with the difficulty of their situation, decided to name the unborn son they decided to kill – sorry, abort – Oscar.
“I’d delivered Oscar naturally after taking medication to end his life, and bring on labour. Yet that didn’t stop us loving him with all our hearts and believing we had done what was best for our family, and indeed for our son.“
First, medicine doesn’t kill. And what is natural about inducing labor to give birth to the corpse of the child you just killed? Again, we use words and pictures to make the wrong seem right. Almost noble, even.
“One in 1,000 babies in the UK — about 750 a year — is born with Down’s syndrome. But with better screening, increasingly it is detected in the womb, and of those couples who receive an ante-natal diagnosis, 92 per cent choose to have a termination — that’s around 1,000 pregnancies a year, or three a day….Tim and I hugged, sobbed and talked till we were exhausted. How could we bring a child into the world knowing he would suffer and, given his host of serious health problems, would soon die?”
This is going to be a lousy analogy, but it’s all I’ve got, so please bear with me.
One of many sports cliché’s is, “That’s why they play the game.” In other words, on paper we know who is likely to win in a particular sports match-up. But we don’t know everything. We don’t know that someone will trip and give the underdog the victory. We don’t know that the weather – an act of God, if you will – won’t have a significant impact on the results.
That’s how it is in life. Several years ago I “knew” I was going to die in 1-2 years. I could just feel it coming. The stress of having lost a promising career and the resulting financial slide and then working a stressful, low-paying job were eating me up. I could feel it happening. I had lost count of how many job applications I’d submitted. I just couldn’t see it ending any other way.
Then I got my current job. I’ve been getting stronger and happier year after year. Not bad considering I would’ve bet money I wouldn’t be alive in 2014. I KNEW what was going to happen. It would have been easier to commit suicide.
But God had other plans, despite my weak faith and pessimism!
That’s why we play the game, sport fans! That’s why we “Never give up! Never surrender!” That’s why we keep on living and help other people keep on living. Whether they are unborn, old, retarded, or anything else, we keep up the effort.
Suzanne and her husband, Tim, got a horrendous, mega-volt shock to learn their son, Oscar, was struggling in the womb with Downs Syndrome and other ailments. They made the mistake of using words, euphemisms, to rephrase a negative choice into a positive one…and make themselves feel as good as possible about it.
My heart goes out to them. It truly does. They made a bad decision and are trying to talk their way out of the guilt. Don’t believe me? Read the whole thing for yourself. The pain is palpable. Even now, she’s speaking out about this in an effort to assuage her guilt under the guise of “promoting a dialogue.” Maybe she doesn’t even know that’s what she’s doing.
She’s finding a way to believe herself, and help others to believe themselves, when they say, “I love you enough to kill you.” At least in more comforting words.