Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Musings on the preciousness of life

Warning: content might be upsetting. Proceed with caution.

A couple of weeks ago, I've read an article which left me deeply disturbed and wondering whether I should discuss it here. Eventually I decided that I will, but I want to keep matters as discreet and anonymous as possible, which is why I won't provide any names, quotes, or links.

The summary is as following: a religious Jewish woman discovered, during an ultrasound scan, that her unborn baby has a severe neural tube defect. She was told by the doctors there's no way her baby can live more than a few days. Devastated, this woman went to see her rabbi for guidance and counsel. The rabbi advised her to terminate the pregnancy, which she did.

Please note I won't get anywhere even remotely close to judging this poor, grieving, devastated mother. However, many of the comments under the original article repeated more or less the same story: Me too. I was told by my doctor my baby won't live, too. I was told by my rabbi it's alright to have an abortion, too. I went ahead and did it. Some of the women who terminated their pregnancies were at a point where the baby could actually be viable.

Again, I don't intend to judge the women. Instead, I would like to focus on the tendency.

It is understandable that proficiency in religious teachings requires years and years of learning. Being an ordinary woman with, perhaps, less than average (as someone who became religious later in life) knowledge of Jewish holy texts, I could never know as much as a rabbi on the overall. Yet here is the scary part: not all Orthodox rabbis agree that abortion should be allowed because of severe deformities. Far from it! Many, if not most, will argue that abortion can only be an option in the extremely rare cases when pregnancy directly and inevitably threats the woman's life. Since we are talking about human life here, not about whether Ashkenazi Jews should be allowed to eat beans during Pesach, such difference of opinions sends chills down my spine.

It's not even about the fact that medical prognosis might be incorrect. In many cases, healthy babies were aborted because of wrong diagnosis; in other cases, babies were born miraculously healthy despite dire warnings; and finally, conditions that were labeled as "hopeless" at first, turned out to be treatable and manageable. Yes, life will continue to prove time and time again that doctors don't and can't know everything, but let us suppose the diagnosis is 100% correct.

I ask something else: do we believe all life is precious? Do we believe every man, woman and child has the right to live, with dignity, during as much time as God allowed them on this earth - in the mother's womb and outside it - be it many years, or a just a few years, months, days or minutes?

If we do, the logical outcome is obvious: since all life is a precious gift and miracle made by our Creator, it should be handled with reverence and care by those who solemnly vowed, first, to do no harm. But what happens if we don't? What happens if we begin making considerations about which life is worthwhile, and which is not?

Let's start with mothers who are told that their baby "cannot live anyway". Wrong. The baby can and does live, right now. Its life, like the life of each and every one of us, is limited by our Father and King. Yet who are we to make further limitations to this life? Who are we to end it - just to get it over with, for pure convenience?

After I did further research - and at some point I wished I hadn't, because it deeply upset me - I heard about cases of women who had abortions, with the approval of their rabbi, after the unborn baby was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Horror of horrors. I had the chance to know several people with Down syndrome who volunteered on our campus, and they had the most bright, outgoing, cheerful and kind personalities. My blood freezes at the thought that these people might not have been allowed to be born, just because they aren't perfect. Where does this stop? Is life considered not worth living with disabilities (don't we all have limitations, to some extent - even those of us who are labeled "normal")? What about someone who becomes disabled because of an accident? What about elderly people who are no longer "useful"? As you can see, a pit of dark and horrifying possibilities opens when we let ourselves become the judges of which life is worthwhile, who is acceptable and who isn't...

We mustn't forget this, too: it's impossible to "undo" a pregnancy. A woman who is 25 weeks along and discovers her unborn child has Down syndrome cannot "rewind" and turn back time. When she is told she must "do something about it", let us make no mistake - it's suggested to her that her baby should be brutally torn limb by limb from the safety of her womb.

We believe each soul is sent to this world with a purpose. It must be purified through earthly life, before it can return to the Heavenly Throne. For some, it will mean a long life. Some need a shorter time to be in this world, perhaps only in the mother's womb. We don't know the Creator's purpose, so how can we decide? We have His blessing to heal, to try and correct that which is wrong in this world - but disposing of life doesn't correct anything. It doesn't heal. It leaves dark, hollow emptiness behind.

I hope none of my readers were upset by reading this. I believe it's especially important for pregnant women not to dwell on dark thoughts, which is why I'm going to wrap this up now. I'm going to sit for a while in a quiet corner, place a hand on my tummy, feel the sweet baby inside, and revel in the miracle of life.

35 comments:

Jessica said...

I am a long time lurker and second time poster.

I totally agree, Anna. It is devastating how much innocent life is taken by the abortionist hand.

Some really are damaged or "abnormal" in some way. It doesn't matter. I too have known a downs syndrome child, and she is sweet, happy, and adored by her parents and 8 siblings. And because of the one-on-one attention from her family while being homeschooled, she has blossomed academically and socially far beyond what is usual for a downs syndrome person. The fact that her parents could have chosen death for this precious life, is awful.

Other babies, that the doctor diagnosed as "deformed" actually were healthy. Doctors are NOT God and they make mistakes all the time. Sometimes, in these 25-30 week abortions, the baby actually starts breathing when born and then are laid out to die in the dirty laundry room (often, late term abortions are really just induced premature labors).

This is terrible and I grieve for my country, USA, that legalizes the killing of millions of tiny lives, before they have the chance to shine their light in this world. This is such a tragedy.

Thanks for talking about this issue, Anna, it is an important one. When I read your posts, often it is like reading my own thoughts. Your social, political, and religious opinions are usually identical to mine. I am so encouraged by your blog. Thanks.
Shalom,
Jessica
Doula and future Midwife
Stay at home daughter with
5 siblings

Gothelittle Rose said...

I totally agree with you, of course!

Something to note is that when a woman has a natural miscarriage, the hormone levels decline naturally until the miscarriage starts. When a woman has an abortion, it just Happens... and the body is left to try to deal with it. The suddenly-interrupted state of breast development in an aborted pregnancy has been offered as a possible explanation for the increase in breast cancer risk that doesn't exist for natural miscarriages.

So even if the baby is going to die in a couple of days, all emotion aside, your body will thank you for letting you go through the process to its end.

I made such a sharp protest against unnecessary screening with my first pregnancy that my doctor already immediately remembered that I was certain I would not abort no matter what. So this time around he actually told me that they had a safer, earlier screen for Down Syndrome, but the hospital was some distance away.. he'd offer it to me, but I might not want to bother with the distance if I already knew it wouldn't change anything. I thanked him and said yeah, I didn't see the need.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I agree with you a thousand percent. Well said, as always.
Karis

Joanna J. said...

Dear Anna,
How eloquently you describe the sanctity of life! Aborting a baby is in essence saying that "God made a mistake." Those of us who are believers know that God has perfectly and purposefully designed each baby in the womb. As a woman who has had great difficulty conceiving, I have very strong feelings when I hear stories of abortions. Like you, I try not to dwell on these emotions. However, how can we ignore this great horror that is being performed each and every day? My prayer is that hearts will be convicted and this horrible procedure will become unacceptable in our lifetime.

USAincognito said...

I am with you on this one, Anna. I believe that each life is precious and blessed by God. However short or long that life is intended to be. For us humans to play God and decide who lives and dies is just wrong!

Michelle Potter said...

Reading about things like this is why I feel slightly anxious the entire time I'm pregnant, every time. I always feel better when my baby is born, and I know that at the very least, no one would ever suggest I kill him.

I had a friend online who went through this same thing. She was told that her baby had a fatal defect, and that it would be better for everyone for her to abort. That way she wouldn't have to go through the mental anguish of carrying a child that was already destined to die. (But isn't it anguishing anyway?) She was also told that IF the baby died in utero, and IF the baby remained inside of her after she (the baby) had died, there could be an infection that would endanger my friend's life as well. Both her doctor and her priest recommended she abort. I felt so terrible for her -- no matter what she was going to lose her precious baby and either way it was going to be tragic.

But I do feel that we make a grave mistake when we go around recommending that women end their babies' lives early, even if only by a few days. I feel that for a child who has only a very short time to live, each moment is even more precious. If they only get a few days, how terrible to take away even one of them!

You also bring up a good point. Every story I have ever read where a mother chose to give birth to her child despite a fatal prognosis, when (actually IF) the child died, it was a quiet, peaceful death in his mother's arms. In comparison that makes death by dismemberment or chemical burn (I'm sorry for having to be so blunt) seem especially cruel. I suppose it's not possible that all babies would die peacefully, surely some conditions would cause a painful death. But death by abortion is always painful. Wouldn't the kinder option still seem to be for the baby to die held and loved and cherished by his parents?

Thia said...

One of my friends found out early in pregnancy that her baby was severely impacted by amniotic band syndrom. The sac attatched to the baby. They were told it was hopeless, but they carried the baby to term. They had one precious hour with their son before he went home. They wouldn't change their decision for anything. Another friend was told her son was severely physically disabled, mental capacity unknown. They carried to term. Mentally he is fine. Physically, yes, he has many challenges, but has come so far. They said he would never walk...he's a year old and already standing. Their stories, their children are inspiration to me and constant reminders to be thankful for my two (hopefully three any day now) children, all healthy.

Anonymous said...

Isn't amazing to come up with a totally new train of thought?
I was listening to NPR Sunday morning on the way to work and the broadcaster was interviewing a Pakistani comedian in Chicago. The young fellow says that he fell out of his religion and considers himself an atheist at this moment because all his young life his society ascribed to the beliefs of a way of life that held everything he held sacred. Then, one day he began to personally question a passage in their holy book that 'allows' or condones a husband to lightly beat his wife for this or that, and he began to ponder the ball of yarn that allowed someone to beat the most precious partnership in one's life.
Yet, somehow there there are some balls of yarn that retain their integrity even if the threads are unraveled. And, he's to go through the rest of his life dealing with the fallout and try to rebuild his credo. Young people can believe so passionately in things, then, have to temper their beliefs with more experience of humanity as they grow older--some, may call it wisdom. Others may sneeringly suggest that one has no backbone of belief. I suggest that it's merely growth and learning--so by that token, very old people should be the most mellow folks on earth?

Lady M said...

Hi Anna,

It was exactly this kind of mentality that (take a test, look for a problem and kill the child if they have a problem) that kept me from doing any early prenatal testing. And that is exactly what they are looking for in those tests these days - an "early" way out of potential problems. I am of "advanced maternal age" so they wanted to do more/extra testing. I said no. I allowed the AFP test to be done at mid-term. I surprised them with it coming back normal - they fully expected it to come back abnormal.

I have 2 different friends who were told their children would have Down Syndrome and were encourage to abort. They did not and amazingly, the children are without problems - and without D.S. We have a cousin that has D.S. I cannot imagine her not being here. She got married last year. Her husband has D.S. as well. I am sure neither of them can imagine life without the other now.

My husband's grandmother had a child with spina bifida. My MIL remembers just brief memories of Sandra. She only lived a couple of weeks, but grandma would not have given up those few days with her for anything. After all - it was her child!

Our society, in general, has lost the value of life. How/when that happened, I do not know, but it has been coming for such a very long time. How sad. You can see the ramifications of such an attitude throughout the populations of the countries that have lost their value for human lives. Often, life has been dehumanized. They refer to a baby as a fetus - kind of takes the edge off, doesn't it.

Okay, now my pregnant brain is starting to ramble. I have a non-stress test to do this afternoon, so I need to get my "couch rest" time in this morning - I will stop typing now.

Cindi said...

I am not Jewish, but I have gone through this. We just celebrated the 11th birthday of our youngest son. We were told he would not live to be 1. We had blood tests and sonograms and they all agreed. We were offered the option of aborting and we said no. He was born healthy. When I was pregnant with our 19 year old son we were told he was not a viable fetus and they wanted to do a D and C. I refused. He also was born health. Twice I was offered to abort two of my children and twice I said no. I look at them and think how much I would of missed had I went along with the doctors. I think there are more false test results than they tell you and that we as a suppose intelligent society need to stop this brutual practice.

Anonymous said...

Such sobering thoughts, Anna. It has brought to mind something that I hadn't pondered in a while: my first pregnancy was marked, shall we say, by some "out of the normal range" blood test results...I even forget the names of the tests now. The results came back showing a higher than average possibility (for my age...I was 31) of having a child with Down Syndrome. My husband & I were worried about this, I will admit. What happened is that we forced to look at our own hearts. Would this make a difference to us? Would we have to decide to "do something" (that "something" being abortion)? The next step in the testing process was amniocentesis, which would have proved whether or not our baby had this disablity. But what I had read about the procedure scared me....risks of stabbing the fetus, for one. Anyway, we just decided not to go with this test, or any more for that matter. I was feeling fine, myself, & I knew in my heart of hearts that no matter what a test showed, I could not bring myself to abort my baby. So I just had to learn to cultivate a calmness in myself that let me enjoy the rest of my pregnancy...& rely on God to give me what I needed, when I needed it. As things turned out, our baby did not have Down Syndrome. And while I am certainly glad she is the way she is, I am so thankful that I also had that chance, however brief, to feel the resolve in my heart...to live what I said virtually all my life I believed, & just accept & be thankful for the child that God would choose to give me.

Brenda

Heather said...

Anna~ You are so right and it is horrible the things that people even consider doing.

God Bless
Heather

Betsy said...

You are so right to forsee the consequences of thinking like this. Here in the United States we are already seeing the effects of a culture that sanctions murdering innocent babies by the increasing talk, acceptance, and glorification of euthanasia for the sick and elderly. In Oregon a woman with cancer was recently told that her medications would not be provided for under her state health care plan, but she could have the drugs needed to kill herself if desired. In the ensuing uproar over this case (which I don't think is uncommon) the spokesperson for the government made some horrifying statement about helping someone die is good medical care. There are also professors and other public figures that openly discuss and teach that murdering babies fully developed and already born is acceptable, and instead of being fired, shunned, and thrown out of society, these people are honored and given generous salaries.

Anytime we justify the murder of one life, there is no end to the number of other lives we can justify murdering as well. And yet, it seems to be especially evil to murder the most innocent and helpless of all lives, those of babies, whether "viable" or not.

When I think on these things, I too go and hold my precious baby girls (22 and 4 months), cry a little, and pray that God would grant repentance to this evil world.

The Quiet Life said...

:( This makes me so sad. If I was in this position, I would rather have only an hour or even a day with my child than the suggestion. When I was pregnant with my oldest, the doctor told me that I'd never be able to carry a child, because I was too little. He told me to have an abortion. I got up and walked out and found another doctor. I had no problems what-so-ever and a natural labor. I now have 3 healthy children! Think happy thoughts, Anna! :)

Catherine R. said...

Being currently pregnant myself for the first time since a much regretted abortion years ago, these types of thing do wrench my heart. I don't mind talking about it sometimes though. Incidentally my abortion only had to do with my own misguidance, not anything about the unborn.

I don't want to upset anyone further, but sometimes I think we need to expose the true ugliness of what is going on. Another blog recently spoke of the practice of "discarding" imperfect unborn babies and how it echoes of a person by the name of Hitler. Certainly his goal was to rid the world of the "inferior" and we all know the horrors that entailed. How is this much different?

It bothers me when people try to pretend abortion is so compassionate. Can we just be honest? It is so rare that it's preformed to save a mother's life that we might as well not even talk about that.

Joy of Frugal Living said...

I totally agree, Anna. There's something about pregnancy that makes these things hit even harder. To me it's just unimaginable. I've had three who lived only in the womb, and I'm thankful for every second of their short lives. I didn't really feel the reality of abortion until I had experienced pregnancy.

But you are also right that you musn't dwell on these things when pregnant. It sounds like you are having a wonderful time with your little one. So happy for you. :)

Jennifer

Mrs. Rabe said...

Anna,

This is a powerful and brave post. Thank you for stating so clearly the arguement for being "pro-life" not just "anti-abortion".

No one knows, other than our Creator, how many days we will live. If He chooses 1 day or 100 days, it is His choice. Who are we to decide otherwise?

Coffee Catholic said...

"My blood freezes at the thought that these people [Down Syndrom] might not have been allowed to be born, just because they aren't perfect."

This is ugenics 100% !! These kinds of abortions are used to "purify" our race and it makes me sick!

compactmanifold said...

My biggest question lies with what medical care is provided after birth. Do you "do everything you can do" to prolong life, or let fate decide? I know that the Catholic church opposes artificial means to conception but that there isn't a clear statement about extreme measures after birth. I honestly don't know about the stance of other religions, except for ones like Christian Science where most forms of medical care are shunned.

I know it's probably a tough doctrinal discussion, but I've always been curious about how end-of-life care is handled for both infants and children, who can't make their own decisions, and the elderly who may have already given their family directions. I'm not talking about assisted suicide, just letting natural death happen.

Gloom aside, big hugs and good luck!

Milena said...

To be a young women, we are told to be modern, that abortion should somehow be acceptable to us. I couldn't disagree more. Abortion and infanticide is an age-old aberration of rational, logical, (and loving humane) thought. Far from "modern" it is primitive and shows lack of evolutionary thought in the realms of science, psychology, etc. We should be further along as humans to learn to accept babies lovingly into our lives, despite whatever perceived flaws we think they might have, or perceived "cramping of our lifestyle." Abortion is not birth control, abortion is not a solution to the difficult news that your child may be "compromised" in comparison to other "healthy" children.

I agree with you - I don't judge other women who make the choice, or are advised to make the choice. The zeitgeist has fed us nonsense about choices and the rights to rule our bodies. Well, what about the babies rights?

I had a long, bitter debate on this very topic on my own blog. It was fruitless and exhausting, and only led to strife between myself and some other bloggers. Not my intention. My intention was to inform from the standpoint of reason, not my religious morality. I was unsuccessful, at least in terms of those who commented. I can only hope that being brave to discuss these topics on our blogs will change the minds of women, who perhaps, are not willing to comment themselves, but experience a change of heart nonetheless.

Anna - keep bringing up these difficult topics. You have a gift of insight and communication from God - and it is important to use.

Terry, Ornament of His Grace said...

You are right to note that when we start using shallow human reasoning to determine which life is worth preserving and which is expendable, it's only matter of time when we take this line of thought outside the womb. We must hold dear the sanctity of every life our heavenly Father creates.

This was a somber post, certainly, but I would hope no one gets upset simply becasue you spoke the truth.

As usual you did so with delicacy and grace. My truth comes out like a sledgehammer!

Millie said...

Anna, it's heartbreaking to me that the rabbis don't counsel together to decide what the rules are regarding "deformed" fetuses, once and for all. This disparity should NOT exist.

I don't want to sound judgmental either - far from it, it's a terrible situation to be in - but my question is, how does a "handicapped" child's natural birth harm its mother, physically? Absolutely she goes through unimaginable emotional pain, grief and loss - but does it threaten her life or end her ability to conceive more children? Probably not. Then what physical benefit is there to ending the life of an "imperfect" child?

It's hard enough to find out your child will have birth defects and won't live long after its birth - but then you should add the guilt, pain and regret of aborting that child on top of it?

Why is this encouraged? Who benefits from it?

My comment is already long enough but I wanted to add that these tests are not always accurate. A friend found out midway through her pregnancy that her child had Down syndrome. Being staunch Catholics, she and her husband elected to have the baby anyway - took classes and attended counseling sessions to prepare for the extra care, emotional pain, etc. - and were surprised by the birth of a completely normal baby girl a few months later. They will be eternally grateful they didn't listen to their doctor. How many other times have these tests shown false positives?

Bethany Hudson said...

Sadly, we get a lot of these sorts of articles in the US. It's deeply saddening to me. Particularly, as you said, in the case of Downs Syndrom--so many Downs people have such "ordinary" lives are are beautiful, productive human beings. How terrible to end such a life! And, even to end a life that would be only hours this side of the womb...wouldn't you want to see that baby's face? To say good-bye and hold him or her in your arms? I know that I would. But, perhaps I am different than others. Not to say that I wouldn't rather have a healthy baby, of course! But, whatever the prognosis, that's still my child! Thank you for sharing on this sensitive topic, Anna.

~Bethany

Tamsen said...

This topic hits me very close to home as the mother of a child with severe disabilities. We had no idea until she was about 2 months old that she had these problems. I am VERY glad that I did not know during my pregnancy, as I fear that I would have decided to abort, and then would never have known my beautiful daughter. Her life is every bit as important and meaningful as her typically developing peers. She is a joy in my life, despite all of the special care she will need throughout her entire life.

Naomi O'Donovan said...

Anna,

Thought you might enjoy this article someone sent me:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3584270,00.html

Hope all is going well for you!

Regards,
Naomi

Laura said...

I am not religious, but I deeply respect your convictions. My perspective on this situation is shaped by the fact that I worked for a year in a home for severely retarded adults. It was such a learning experience getting to know these people and also the community that supports them. None of these people could speak, take care of themselves or move around much by themselves.

One of the first things I realized was despite their severe disabilities they were certainly people, just like me. Their personalities shined through brightly. They felt joy and pain. They just couldn't express it like me. They were innocent and lovable despite their condition and because of it. I missed them a lot when I left. I left because the job was taking too much out of me and paying me barely enough to survive.

Along with my coworkers I took care of feeding them, helping them dress and leave the house, bathed them, administered medication and took care of their personal care. They required 24 hour supervision and I had to take trainings in holds and restraints because despite their inability to get around, they could be seriously violent and destructive. I was paid just above minimum wage and I know for a fact that several of my coworkers had criminal backgrounds
(despite screenings) or were on drugs.

Under the auspices of keeping them safe, we were not allowed to do so much as give them aspirin or chapstick without a doctors perscription. Several of them had painful medical conditions that on occasion went with inadequate treatment. You must remember that these people could not communicate to us when they were in pain or needed something. If a problem wasn't identified early it could get to the point of screaming agony before help could be arranged. This was unfortunately not rare. Dispite this, their painkillers were occasionaly stolen by staff. While I worked there, no one ever found out who was doing this. And believe it or not, our program was recognized as one of the best in the state.

Before the residents had come to my program, they had been housed in a state facility where we were told that we could assume they had been abused physically, mentally, and sexually. Two of these people had STDs when they came to us. I will refrain from mentioning the horror stories we heard about this place. Thank goodness it has been closed down.

The reason that these people were with us is because their parents were not equiped to take care of them. In some cases, their parents were older, and couldn't lift them let alone restrain them when needed. In some cases other children in the house made caring for them impossible early because of the level of care needed. In other cases their parents were dead. One man had a seizure condition that required 24 hour care and no one could be found to watch him while his mother slept, let alone lived her own life. Severely disabled people come into state custody for many reasons. It is extremely difficult and expensive to take care of someone who can't take care of themselves. There is also no telling whether they will survive a parent or not.

It would be nice if society had a function for these people to perform, so that people beyond those immediately concerned with their survival would maybe take an interest in them, but in most cases, they are primarily warehoused with no lasting relationships, other than to paid staff who often move along after a year or so anyway. I cannot guess what their experience might be like without the capacity to understand it like we do. But I often wondered whether they would choose this existence or not. Especially since they are unable to make any other kind of decision for themselves. In any case, our society begrudgingly takes care of them, despite the impossibillity of a return on their time and effort. In times past I assume they would have been left alone to die at some point if they even survived childhood.

Knowing the life that these people lead would make me consider very carefully whether or not I would get an abortion if I had reason to believe my child was severely disabled. It really is a lifetime commitment to take care of them and I mean literally every moment of their lifetime. Whether I am even capable of this is uncertain to me.

I believe that it is not our place to choose death for another person. But I wonder exactly what we are choosing with the alternative, for ourselves and these people.

I hope you don't think I am a monster, or that I am being disrepectful of your convictions. It is just such a difficult and complicated problem.

Elizabeth and Ryan said...

Anna,

This is a wonderful post, and I can identify with it in many ways. I am the second oldest of eleven children. My youngest brother Peter was born with Trisomy 18, a chromosome disorder. My parents were told by many doctors that he would not live, and they were also encouraged to abort him. After he was born, it was a struggle to get him even basic medical care, as the doctors told my parents that they "had to think about resources." My parents were lied to repeatedly by doctors, and were told that there were no survivors with Trisomy 18. Well, Peter is now 3 and half years old, and we know many other children with this disorder who live wonderful, full lives and are love tremendously by their families. He has been the biggest blessing to us, and I am horrified to know that many other parents abort their children with his same disorder because they are lied to my those in the medical profession. I'm not saying that all doctors are like this, but many are very misinformed about certain disorders and, like you said, doctors never know everything. They told us that Peter wouldn't even live a few days, let alone years! God is the only author of life, and He alone knows how long we will live and what purpose we serve during our lives, no matter how short.

My mother started a non-profit organization to help other parents in similar situations. It is call Prenatal Partners for Life, and their website is: www.prenatalpartnersforlife.org Many aspects of their organization are Christian (we are Catholic), but they work with parents of all religions.

Thank you for this post, Anna!

God Bless,

Elizabeth

Shelley said...

Dear Anna,

I agree with you, so much. I love the most, about the part that it is God's decision when a life ends, not ours. And that a minute on earth may just be enough for this one, a little longer for that one, and even longer for another. God knows the reasoning, what a relief that we can trust Him.

Excellent article.

Anonymous said...

Religion and the work of the creator are sometimes in opposition to each other. If a religion does not protect the sanctity of life and the sacred value it holds it is a means to an end.

I find it saddening that a rabbi would even consider supporting an abortion. Do these rabbi's not know that our bodies are a sacred temple. If we misuse and abuse our bodies our spirits are distorted and our minds are warped so we fall by the sword of the enemy of mankind.

Even scripture states that abortion is equivalent to murder:

Exodus 21:22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
Exodus 21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

Life for life.....even if the unborn is seen as "unfit" for society........


God give you strength in fighting off the enemies who want to use and abuse women, the unborn and the innocent children.....

Andrea said...

Anna,

this was indeed an upsetting post, but honestly, I think that it _should_ be. The ideas that you present _are_ upsetting ones, and we do need to be _deeply_ disturbed when we see human life being so degraded-- whether in the womb, as in the cases you researched, or even long after people have emerged from it, as Laura has described.

I do not believe that human life becomes any less sacred as a person ages, and the images you describe, Laura, are every bit as disturbing to me as the idea of a baby being ripped apart or chemically dissolved in its mother's womb. Just as certain parts of society would like to believe that unborn children are somehow less human than those who are already born, so do other parts of that same society seem to want to believe that certain types of adults are less human and/or less worthy of our regard, whether due to reasons of mental illness, homelessness, racial differences . . . any number of factors that might serve to make a person seem "lesser" in others' eyes.

In the event that I were to become pregnant, I would, for the record, welcome any low or no-risk tests that might inform me as to my baby's chances of being born with, say, Down's Syndrome, simply because I am the sort of person who likes to go into a thing fully prepared; I would welcome the chance to spend those nine months prior to delivery digging through books, meeting with parents of DS children, asking them what I should expect and prepare for . . . likewise when it comes to other congenital defects. I cannot, however, understand how people can use something like the possibility (since even with these tests, there isn't always such thing as the "certainty") of some sort of birth defect to completely wipe out any chance to hold, welcome, and meet their child-- no matter how briefly they might have him/her on Earth.

God save us from the day when such a thought no longer upsets us in the least.

Thursday's Child said...

Amen, Anna! Thank you so much for this post. With the election in the States and the Democratic candidate being a supporter of abortion, it's a matter that's really weighing on my heart. I hope more women read your post and these comments.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Laura: I have seen and worked with disabled people (to various degrees) so I understand your concern.

However I believe ending a life isn't a solution. Well it IS, the "solution" of a most horrible kind, like the one who wiped out an entire generation of my ancestors some 60 years ago...

Governmental care will always be cold and institutionalized, by its very nature. The answer would be found, in my opinion, in a close, loving, accepting, caring community. The answer must come from within.

Giving life doesn't end with giving birth. Each day, we can give life to the lonely, the disabled, the forgotten.

Analytical Adam said...

As a Jewish Guy who was brought up in an Orthodox community I am bothered by a number of items.

1. I think a women should also speak to her husband about it. THey do have a little more knowledge about the Rabbinic process and the talmud (I learned talmud growing up although my sister did not for the most part) then women do and they could better advice who a good Rabbi is to speak about this issue is and even after speaking to a Rabbi get some idea of what you both think about terminating a pregenecy. When women speak to Rabbi's but don't speak to their husbands about these things I think that is wrong and sounds like feminism to me. I meet too many Orthodox women that the only man they respect is their Rabbi and they really don't respect their husband and I think it is bad for both parties. Rabbi's themselves disagree on many issues and a husband being a man himself can understand the situation a little more and which Rabbi to trust on this issue, Some do have conflicts of interest on certain issues (they have to make a living as well sometimes as a Rabbi and sometimes in other area's as well) and in some issues they have a conflict of interest.

2. Some Rabbi's(although not all) don't really know what happens in an abortion (they are knowledgable in talmud) and that can lead to draw wrong conclusions. No Talmud source discusses how modern abortions are done and if Rabbi's actually knew what was done during an abortion some of them would change their views. I have no doubt about it.

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

I know this isn't TOTALLY on topic (I'm a man, so it's hard for me to get pregnant-ha!), but I do have a personal story about the FRAGILITY of life, and how precious it can be.

I remember back in the summer of 1995 when the Jersey Shore was BOMBARDED with big waves generated by the many distant hurricanes that summer; the action was such that guys from HI came out here to surf! I remember one day when I went out the whitewash was about 1m (3') thick; the waves themselves were about 3m (>9')...

I foolishly went out. I got trapped in the impact zone for 30-40 minutes, and was half dead from that alone. Rather than prudently calling it a day, I was determined to press on; I figured that I was NOT going back in without catching a wave-not after half killing myself to get one! That was so stupid! Even when I saw a longboarder bite it bad in front of me, I didn't go back in.

When he got hammered, I dove under the wave. After it passed over, his board was above me; I reached out, made sure where it was, and surfaced to the side of it. I talked with him briefly, asking him if he was going to try again. He said no way; it was dangerous out there. I told him I was going to try catching something, so we wished each other well.

I finally got past the impact zone, so I rested for a while. I saw the first wave of a set, so I went for it; I caught this liquid monster (rather it caught me), and I was being pushed along like a hood ornament on a freight train. I was stoked!

I was actually in the wave; I was in the tube for a few seconds, my first time ever! I was hootin' & hollerin' big time. Unfortunately, I didn't look to my side, to see the wave's shoulder shrinking, nor did I have a full breath of air; if anything, I had very little in my lungs.

For some reason I don't know even now, I looked to my side; I had a split second's warning of my impending doom as I saw the wave getting ready to 'close out'. Closing out occurs when a wave breaks all at once, rather than from one side to another in a nice curl. I had enough time to think, "Oh no, I'm IN for it."

Just then, the wave broke. Since I got sucked to the top, I went 'over the falls'; I was slammed down hard into the pocket and whitewash, caught within that churning cylinder of salt water. I got tossed around like a kid's rag doll. One second, I was being slammed into the bottom; the next I was near the top, the sun having a sort of translucent, surreal quality to it. My lungs were burning up, and I realized my time was short; I realized I might drown in the clutches of this wave.

Fifteen people had lost their lives in the water that summer, and I was thinking that I might be #16. I was wondering what the headlines would say about me in the local paper. I cried out to God begging him to spare me. A second or so later, I got spit out the back side of this wave, my desperate prayer obviously answered. I crawled up on the beach winded, but nevertheless grateful to be alive. I thanked God for sparing me. I'd just had a brush with death, and I was humbled by the experience...

Ever since then, I realized that we do NOT know what the future, either distant or immediate, holds for us. In Proverbs, we're told NOT to boast thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest NOT what a day may bring forth; I learned a new appreciation for that verse that day. Ever since that day, I never take things for granted anymore, because I got a hard lesson in just how QUICKLY things can change, and how things can all of a sudden go wrong in an instant. Ever since that day, I realized that life is short, precious, and fragile. Ever since that day, I realized that Nature and Nature's God is far bigger than we are; humanity is NOTHING, and I mean nothing, compared to God Almighty! It is He who gives us breath, and we always need to remember that. Finally, it is He to whom we will all give account for our words & deeds, and we need to remember that too.

Those are my thoughts on this issue. I'm sorry it's not on point with difficult pregnancies, but it was a personal experience that taught ME how precious life is, so I thought I'd share it...

MarkyMark

s said...

I think that some people feel that if the child is going to live a short time and be in pain, they don't want to do that to the child, and so they get rid of it. That's perfectly understandable. But, on the other hand, maybe the child was only meant to come be here a short while before going back to the next world. In any case, the family should get emotional support from others.