The newest video in Live Action’s hard-hitting “Pro-Life Replies” series answers the question, “Is abortion the only option for babies with terminal diagnoses?” Neonatologist Dr. Kendra Kolb discusses why abortion is not the compassionate solution for a child diagnosed with a terminal illness inside the womb.
“It is devastating when any parent learns that their preborn son or daughter has a serious medical condition which will cause the child to have certain challenges in life, or even impact his or her ability to survive,” says Kolb in the video. “[…] Sadly, many parents are told in these situations that abortion is their only option or their best option. But abortion is not the only option when a preborn child is diagnosed with a serious or lethal medical condition.”
Below are some video highlights:
Some babies are misdiagnosed
“It’s important to understand that unfortunately, some babies are misdiagnosed in utero, or have medical conditions whose long-term outcomes are unclear at the moment of diagnosis,” explains Kolb. “If allowed to be born, some of these babies may in fact turn out to be perfectly healthy if they were misdiagnosed, and others may indeed have some special needs, but ultimately live a long and happy life.”
Kolb emphasizes that it can actually be very difficult for a doctor to accurately predict the long-term outcomes for a child diagnosed prenatally, and points to the example of Suzanne Guy and her daughter Rachel. Suzanne was encouraged to abort Rachel because she had been deemed “incompatible with life,” but the doctors were wrong — and 21 years later, Rachel is still thriving.
Preborn children with a fatal diagnosis deserve compassion
For babies who are accurately diagnosed in the womb with a terminal condition, it is important to realize that these are still human beings. Their disabilities do not determine their humanity and they deserve to be treated with respect and compassion.
“Some will argue that children with lethal diagnoses should be aborted in order to prevent them from experiencing suffering,” says Kolb. “This justification for abortion, especially after 20 weeks, is neither medically supported nor honest. Current medical science confirms that babies as young as 20 weeks are capable of experiencing pain.”
These babies would suffer immensely if aborted by Dilation and Evacuation or D&E abortion, in which babies are “intentionally dismembered, many while still alive.” Their arms and legs ripped off and their skull crushed.
Preborn children and their mothers deserve compassionate medical care
Kolb calls for the medical community to focus its efforts on advancing neonatal palliative care to provide compassionate medical care for terminally ill babies in order to alleviate pain or discomfort. As a doctor who has cared for terminally ill babies, Kolb tells of how she “closely monitors these babies for any signs of pain, and works with the parents to compassionately treat their baby’s discomfort….”
Rather than abort a preborn child because of a diagnosis, Kolb suggests it is better to provide support for the mother and fill the needs of each infant and family on an individual basis.
“All babies deserve to be born, shown compassion, treated with dignity and respect, and supported, even through the dying process,” explains Kolb “A society’s morality and ethics is only as strong as its treatment of its sickest, smallest and most vulnerable members.”
For more information and resources to help when carrying a child with a terminal prenatal diagnosis, visit Be Not Afraid.
Visit Pro-Life Replies for more on this and other videos in the series.
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