Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When "Killing" Kills and Mothers Die

The news of the death of Jennifer Morbelli and her late term aborted child is one piece of news that breaks my heart.* With all the PR that surrounds Prenatal Gene testing the media would have us to believe it is the best thing since sliced bread, but, sadly it is not. I was reading an article on it at and was shocked to see that the gist of the article placed the testing and possible “False Positives” for abnormality far above the doubting and emotional concern that results from trusting the imperfect test results; possibly forcing the killing of a child:

The new technique still requires fetal cells to be obtained either by amniocentesis, in which a long needle is stuck into the womb, or by another invasive procedure called chorionic villus sampling, in which tissue is taken from the placenta. But instead of then examining the fetal chromosomes under a microscope, a DNA-sensing chip is used to detect abnormalities too small to be seen.

A big concern, however, is that it is not always possible to tell whether a small abnormality detected by the chip will be harmful to a child, or if so, how severe such a problem will be. That can cause anxiety for expectant parents and make it difficult to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy.

“They are just not prepared for the uncertain information they are getting, often very late in a pregnancy,” said Barbara A. Bernhardt, a genetic counselor at the University of Pennsylvania, who has interviewed women who have had microarray testing.

Proponents say that the benefits of testing outweigh the possible uncertainty.There definitely are complicated things you run into,” said Dr. Arthur L. Beaudet, chairman of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, which offers microarray testing through its laboratory. “But in order to avoid that, are you willing to give up detection of clear-cut terrible disorders?”

Is Mr. Beaudet saying, “When in doubt, kill the child?” No, he is not, at least not explicitly, but he is saying parents risk being able to be forewarned about POSSIBLE deformities, which in turn could be aborted and killed alleviating loss of future time, stress, and cash flow. The “uncertainty of the information” which is always a risk causes a conundrum that parents face in choosing to trust the test results and bring to an “End of Life” a possibly healthy baby as opposed to doing what is right, which is to bring the child into the world and accept the gift that God has given. Nevermind, the “False positives” that occur resulting in unnecessary abortions, the benefits of finding out about a terrible deformity and eliminating it is best in his mind. He may disagree with my assessment, but if so, then why test at all? Why not accept the gift? Why does he ask, “...are you willing to give up detection of clear-cut terrible disorders?” as opposed to bypassing and allowing God’s will to proceed.

In Jennifer Morbelli’s case the tests were taken, the “risky” and “possible” prognosis for the health of the child was received, and the the child was killed along with the mother. Because of gambling with uncertainty, both mother and child are now dead.

As I read the story, I was moved to write the following for those in the future who allow untrustworthy medical invasions to determine who to kill and who not to kill.

There once was a man and a woman who had a daughter that was well respected in their community. The parents were proud of their daughter and her husband and only wanted the best things that life could offer them just like they have experienced, a nice home, nice neighborhood, good transportation, reputation and family. One day the parents get a call from their daughter who tells them she is pregnant. They all get excited and start making plans for how they can bring up this child with the same amenities they have enjoyed. They even have their daughter and the baby undergo prenatal gene testing so they can be sure the child will be perfect just like the mother. So they tell their friends and neighbors! Soon the word spreads about how they are now going to be grandparents and how the new mother-to-be will be blessed with a family of their choosing. One day the doctor calls and says to the daughter your child may have a problem. We have concluded our tests and found that as the child grows we detected a gene that is known to cause seizures. The news is devastating. The grandparents cry out, "How can a good God give us a bad child? What have we done to deserve this? This is no gift--no gift at all! It will only bring heartache and financial burden for us, the child, and our daughter. I know what we can do, we will give it back. We do not have to accept this gift." So they make arrangements to kill the child before it is breathes it's first breath. The daughter cries out, "No Mother! No! I want my child!" But her cries are soon drowned out by the worldly wisdom the good Dr. and worldly-wise parents dish out. Little did they who think they know it all understand what lied ahead. The day came and the daughter was taken against her will into the baby butcher shop. The Dr. said, "Welcome to my office. Make yourself comfortable. Would you like a soda or some coffee? I think you have made the right choice." In the background the tools for the procedure were being prepared. They had been checked for sharpness; the blades were perfect. The grandparents smile and thank the good Dr. and wish him the best as he joins with them to bring their lives back to their "normal." Soon the daughter is sedated and the knives start digging into her flesh. The child shrieks and writhes in pain as the good Dr. skillfully kills it before it breathes. But wait... there is something wrong. The mother... the baby... they are now both dead.

In the truly blessed life having a child is a family affair where gifts and blessings are sent to one another celebrating additions to family. We go to the hospital to celebrate birth. In the case above the the Grandparents went to a clinic to celebrate the premeditated death of a child. In turn, what they got was the death of two. Yes, a double tragedy. When we decide to take life into our own hands and to disdain God's good gifts He has the right to take them; not only take the gift but also the means by which the gift was given. No more will they be able to call their friends and celebrate being grandparents. No more will the daughter enjoy the loving comfort of her husband. No more will the Kindergarten class she taught see her beautiful smile. And gone is the beautiful smile of joy that all newborn children bring into the life of new parents. Yes it is all gone. Gone the way of hell, the way of the world, the way of worldly wisdom. Hell has delivered her goods.

Abortion is murder. God says, "You shall not kill."

*  see also