Pro-Abortion Misinformation Costs Lives | Opinion

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Kate Cox and her husband were happy to learn they were pregnant with their third child—and then devastated to learn that the baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder caused when a person has three copies of chromosome 18 instead of the usual two. This is certainly a challenging diagnosis that would shake any parent. Is there anything scarier than hearing your child has a serious medical condition that could threaten their life and cause suffering? Alongside the grief and pain, new parents have to ask themselves what comes next. How can we help our child? What can we do to ensure she receives the medical care that she needs?

There are medical interventions that can give babies with Trisomy 18 a better chance at life. Heart surgery, for instance, can give them a much higher chance to survive and go home with their parents. Tragically, Cox opted instead to sue her home state of Texas in order to get permission for a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) abortion procedure. In a D&E abortion, the abortionist rips the preborn baby apart limb from torso, and finally crushing the baby’s head. The Texas Supreme Court rightly denied that request, but Cox said she left the state to obtain the lethal procedure anyway.

This tragic case reveals a disturbing undercurrent in our culture—a deep-seated, quiet prejudice against children with disabilities. Many harbor a sinister belief that it is somehow more humane to destroy these precious lives (often in brutal fashion) and deny them the chance to breathe, grow, and contribute to the world than to let them live and potentially experience suffering. The insidious notion that they are “better off aborted” reflects a shocking disregard for the inherent value of every human being, irrespective of their physical or cognitive differences. It also reveals an ignorance of the horrific process of abortion itself, which not only kills a human being, but has the potential to harm the mother as well.

In a world where technological advancements allow us to glimpse into the womb with unprecedented clarity, we must face the truth that all human life is valuable, regardless of medical challenges or diagnoses.

Over the years, I’ve corresponded with hundreds of parents who, against all odds, refused to succumb to the pressure of killing their babies whose lives were deemed medically challenging. Some told stories of babies initially diagnosed with conditions such as Trisomy 18, only to be born perfectly healthy. Others told me about children who lived for precious minutes or hours and passed away in their mothers’ arms. Still others had stories of children who—against dire predictions—now thrive as toddlers and teens with a medical condition. All paint a compelling picture of human resilience and the boundless potential of every child.

DES MOINES, IOWA – JULY 14: A vendor displays fetus models at the Family Leadership Summit where Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law that will ban most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy on July 14, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. Several Republican presidential candidates were scheduled to speak at the event, billed as “The Midwest’s largest gathering of Christians seeking cultural transformation in the family, Church, government, and more.”
Scott Olson/Getty Images

One mother of a child with Trisomy 18 wrote on Instagram:

Our community has kids as old as 42 in it. My daughter is five years old and a very loved member of our family. This diagnosis is full spectrum, just like all things in life, and not the black and white, one-size-applies-to-all label that they are making this out to be. The defamation and lies being said about this diagnosis and our children isn’t only just untrue, it’s actually incredibly dangerous. it’s furthering outdated statistics and personal opinions about our kids that make it very hard to get unbiased, supportive medical care. What this woman has been told is one possible outcome, leaving out all the rest of the possible outcomes and sadly, this isn’t uncommon in the experience of newly diagnosed parents.

Another woman replied, “I have a sister who was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 in the womb. My parents were pressured to abort, which they refused. She was born perfectly healthy without any complications.”

Media coverage of the Kate Cox case has also given the impression that if a mother carries a baby with Trisomy 18, her life would necessarily be at serious risk. That is not true (and even if it were, Texas has exceptions in its protections for preborn life for medical emergencies where the mother’s life is at risk). Elisabeth Scott went through an extremely similar situation during her pregnancy with her daughter Brianna, who has Trisomy 18. In her words:

I’ve been there, laying on my back with the ultrasound wand on my stomach having had two previous cesareans, and being told this is now a high-risk pregnancy and your baby’s probably not going to live. It really is scary. So yes, we have compassion for the [Cox] family but also—having had the good experience that we’ve had, where we’ve had the support of practitioners who said, “We’re going to treat your child as if they’re any child”—there’s a part of me that’s frustrated that there are still people in the medical community that are using outdated information…. It’s frightening parents. It’s making them feel like they’re backed into a corner and they don’t have any other options. It’s not an easy road to walk, [but] I get frustrated with the people who are speaking to these families that have been given this diagnosis and are in a roundabout way saying, “You’re not capable of taking care of this.”

We face a crossroads when it comes to prenatal diagnoses. The tendency to view abortion as a “solution” to challenges posed by medical conditions reflects a dangerous mindset that, if left unchecked, takes us down a path of eugenic discrimination and mass death. It’s disheartening to hear the quiet whispers that suggest it’s compassionate to treat a potentially sick preborn baby like a house pet, to dismiss their right to life based on a diagnosis that may not even be accurate, and then euthanize them like a sick animal. We have been taught that suffering is something to fear, yet not a single human being on this planet is free from suffering. We do what we can to avoid unnecessary suffering, but murder is not a treatment.

A society founded upon decency and virtue does not resort to euthanasia for the sick or disabled. It extends love, treats people with dignity, and offers essential care for as long as they naturally live. These are the principles of basic human rights described by both the Declaration of Independence, the foundation of American liberty, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It demonstrates our commitment to a world where the strong do not dominate the weak but rather embrace and support them.

The fundamental right of every child to be born and live is a core principle that should unite us all. It underscores the intrinsic value of each individual, irrespective of their physical or cognitive challenges. Children like little Brianna Scott, who is learning to walk and lights up when she sees her sisters, are not defined by their medical condition. Exploiting difficult medical diagnoses as grounds for destroying innocent life within the womb is a profound affront to our shared humanity.

Lila Rose is the president of Live Action, a new media nonprofit dedicated to ending abortion and building a culture of life.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.