On September 15, a study appeared in the prestigious British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology about abortions in Ireland regarding babies who were being aborted after being diagnosed with conditions doctors considered fatal. The study revealed that some of these babies were born alive and were given neither life-prolonging treatment nor palliative care.
On January 1, 2019, the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Act was enacted, permitting late-term abortion “if two medical practitioners (one being an obstetrician), are of the reasonable opinion that the fetal diagnosis is “likely to lead to the death of the fetus’ during the pregnancy or in the ﬁrst 28 days of life.”
The study covered five of the six fetal medicine units in Ireland, representing over a third of fetal-maternal specialists who committed late-term abortions. These abortions were done by induction, in which labor was induced. Feticide, or the injection of poison into the child to kill him or her before delivery, was not always practiced, leading to some live births.
Dr. Anthony Levatino explains an induction abortion below:
One thing the study found was that other doctors, such as neonatologists, refused to care for women having abortions or for babies born alive after the abortion procedure (emphasis added):
Over half of the FMSs [fetal maternal specialists] experienced conflict with neonatologists. Participants reported frustration that these colleagues would engage in decision-making for [abortion] for FFA [fatal fetal anomalies] but would refuse to care for the woman and her baby “if the driving force was termination.”
This generated concern for the FMSs as they are “unclear as to who will look after those babies” if a baby is born alive following [abortion] by induction of labor and without feticide, resulting in them “begging people to help” them in providing palliative care.
There was controversy over whether injections of feticide should be given before the baby was delivered. The abortionists didn’t like doing this injection. One of them called it “stabbing the baby in the heart.” The study said, “Some participants expressed ‘friction’ with neonatologists because of an expectation for ‘universal feticide’ to ensure that no baby was born alive.” Again, abortionists preferred not to give this injection due to its unpleasantness:
Half of the FMSs identiﬁed a ‘role for feticide’, ‘depending on the anomaly’, whereas some expressed that feticide needed to be mandatory for late gestations because it was in the best interest of the baby to not be born alive.
A couple of FMSs advocated that feticide should be a parental choice, and that the ‘relatively tight deﬁnition’ (Irish legislation) and ‘small number of cases’ dismissed it as a requirement.
When babies were born alive due to lack of feticide, abortionists described “begging” neonatologists to give palliative care to the babies who survived after the abortionists chose not to inject with feticide before delivery:
[T]he FMSs described Neonatologists’ refusal to provide perinatal palliative care to the baby following [an abortion] by induction of labour and without feticide, with some of the FMSs describing experiencing pressure from Neonatologists to conduct feticide. FMSs identiﬁed these experiences as a source of tension and conﬂict, as they felt that in the absence of universal feticide, perinatal palliative care is warranted for these cases, but are left ‘begging’ for support to ensure its delivery….
Conﬂict with colleagues was experienced regarding the diagnosis of FFA, the provision of feticide and palliative care to infants born alive following [abortion] for FFA.
But, in actuality, abortionists have a vested interest in making sure the babies do not survive — and they admitted this, expressing fear of “media scrutiny” and “lawsuits” if a diagnosis proves to be incorrect and the baby does not die. The study says (emphasis added):
Half of the FMSs expressed “uncertainty” regarding a diagnosis being fatal as it “depends” on an individual’s “definition” of what is fatal.
Relating to prognosis, participants identified that “there is never any certainty” when death will occur, and there is always an “outlier” (i.e., a baby that will live longer than expected). A couple of FMSs commented on the relief experienced when the baby dies, confirming that their diagnosis was “right.”
The study went on to say:
If [an abortion] for FFA has been performed and the diagnosis is found to be incorrect, the FMSs feel vulnerable to prosecution and the media scrutiny that an incorrect diagnosis would create. As a result, over half of the participants shared their fear of getting the diagnosis wrong.
They expressed ‘anxiety’ regarding permitting [an abortion] for the identiﬁed anomaly and the consequence ‘if somebody doesn’t agree’ that it is fatal.”
One abortionist said, “[Y]ou’d worry about whether if I do get it wrong and what if we, you know, induce this baby at term and actually it lives for six weeks because there’s always an outlier.”
Another abortionist admitted, “None of us want to be in a situation where… the baby is alive six weeks later and there’s all the issues that go with that.”
It is evident that these abortionists did not want the babies who were born alive to survive. They wanted neonatologists to give palliative care, but they didn’t want the babies to live. Between neonatologists refusing to care for the children and abortionists having a vested interest in ensuring the child’s death, the odds of a baby being allowed to survive — even if the diagnosis proves to be wrong — are slim to none.
It’s also interesting that these doctors concede that a “fatal” diagnosis could be wrong. Their worries show that misdiagnosis is possible. Due to mistakes, babies can be aborted who actually would survive if allowed to be born full-term and cared for.
The study also noted abortionists wanted to do more abortions, but were constrained by the law. The study states all of them wanted to abort babies with conditions that would be “life limiting,” but not fatal (emphasis added):
All FMSs faced difficulty with conditions that were “not clearly fatal, but clearly awful.” They felt frustration in … [abortion] not being “sanctioned” if there was ever a survivor. Half of the FMSs shared that the distinction between fatal and severe resulted in women being “ostracized” as only women with a fatal diagnosis can legally obtain a [abortion] in Ireland, whereas women with a severe diagnosis must travel for this service.
These women are then open to “societal questioning” and suggestions that they are traveling “because it is not fatal enough, as maybe the baby could be okay.”
One abortionist said, “It is almost if somebody has seen a baby survive something; other people are afraid to appear as pro-abortion.”
Another abortionist got to the heart of the matter, which is the prevailing view that those with disabilities would be nothing but a burden and should be allowed to be aborted (emphasis added):
Non-fatal is a whole different ball game. You have got a baby with life limiting, with a poor quality of life which may limit the duration but it is certainly going to have an impact on the parents and the other children in the family and the rest of their lives. That is a much bigger deal and I feel for those parents now, I feel they are completely and utterly abandoned really by the system.
Many doctors believe that disabled people have “a poor quality of life” and therefore should not be allowed to be born. This is in contrast to the views of actual disabled people, most of whom are happy to be alive. People who use wheelchairs, people with Down syndrome or other cognitive disabilities, people who are blind or deaf, and people with other disabilities very often lead happy and meaningful lives. But the judgment of doctors leads to many disabled people being killed in the womb, as well as pressured to “choose” assisted suicide when they face medical challenges.
The abortionists also dealt with stigma from the medical community. The study says, “Half of the participants shared feelings of disapproval and disrespect from local, national, and retired colleagues.” Abortionists in America have also complained of stigma from colleagues due to their profession of killing human beings rather than healing.
Source: S Power, S Meaney, K O’Donoghue “Fetal medicine specialist experiences of providing a new service of termination of pregnancy for fatal fetal anomaly: a qualitative study” BJOG 3 September 2020
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