Baby aborted at 28 weeks for having cleft hand

 

By Dave Andrusko

28_week_ultrasound_3dIn trying to tamp down massive opposition to “late” abortions, abortion advocates employ two strategies. First, insist that for all practical purposes, all later abortions are always performed because, in effect, the child would be born dying (which is not true).

Second, when that excuse doesn’t work, the fall-back is to complain about the process. Grumble that the bureaucracy and/or uncertainty (meaning they are not given carte blanche to abort for any reason) drag out the interval between when the “defect” is first found and when the child is actually destroyed.

A story I read Friday but did not have a chance to get to until today combines them both.

Amy Corderoy is Health Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald. The headline to her story tells you where it’s headed: “I felt I had been abandoned’: inconsistency and fear surrounds late-term abortion.”

Here’s the way the story of a New South Wales [NSW], Australia, couple is framed:

Mother-to-be Cindy was 23 weeks pregnant when the first indication there might be a problem with the foetus emerged [what it was is not indicted]. What followed was a two-month long nightmare that started with the couple facing bureaucratic hospital delays that pushed back further scans for two weeks.

Let’s be clear. She’s not a “mother-to-be,” she’s almost at the end of her second trimester. Take a look at any chart explaining fetal development and you know—“Cindy” knew—she was carrying a very large baby who was very active and who had reached many major developmental markers.

Cindy got her abortion–at 28 weeks—at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The “nightmare” was that the first hospital (evidently Westmead Hospital) wouldn’t allow them to abort because of the diagnosis which, Corderoy argues, “raises questions about how decisions over late-term pregnancy terminations are made in NSW.”

Actually, questions were raised—just not the ones Corderoy or Cindy and her husband Frank wanted raised.

Why did they want their baby aborted after the first ultrasound (when she was “more than six months pregnant”)? Their child had a problem–‘ectrodactyly’—he or she had a cleft hand.

Evidently, the reader is supposed to be outraged because “NSW Health guidelines state the prognosis for the foetus should be considered in the case of terminations where an abnormality is present”– and because it took a week before they were told they would not be allowed to abort, apparently because “ectrodactyly is not life-threatening and may only affect the hand.”

“I was really, really depressed,” Cindy said. “I couldn’t think about anything else but the baby, and I felt I had been abandoned.”

Pardon?

With respect to the baby, she “felt immensely guilty about giving birth to a child with a disability,” Corderoy wrote. “She believes she must be to blame for the condition.”

Cindy, who grew up in China, told Corderoy

“I grew up with many people who were disabled, and… there was discrimination,” she said. “I didn’t want my child to be discriminated against. The problem is… obvious because it is the fingers, and I think the child would have a very hard life.”

How had they been “abandoned”? According to Frank

“We were being told that our only option was to give birth to a baby that we did not wish to give birth to at all. We felt we have been forgotten and abandoned through the political and judicial uncertainty of the abortion laws.”

“By that stage, if the foetus had been born prematurely there is every chance doctors would have kept it alive,” Corderoy wrote as the transition to the “ethics” of late abortions.

There is a back-handed attempt at balance, but the answer for Corderoy is clear.

[The University of Melbourne’s Lachlan de Crespigny] said it was wrong to judge whether termination should occur based on whether the foetus could survive.

“Women have the same rights as the rest of the population in deciding what to do with their bodies, so do you see them as a pregnant woman, someone who doesn’t have that right to decide and must carry that foetus – that it is the role of the Catholic Church or parliament to decide for her?”