An Irish couple who aborted their preborn child after an alleged misdiagnosis will have their case heard by the Ireland High Court in an upcoming June hearing.
According to the Independent, the couple claims they were wrongly informed in 2019 that their unborn baby had a lethal health condition. After two test results supposedly confirmed the fetal anomaly, the couple opted to terminate the pregnancy.
Another test result that came in after the abortion was performed, however, showed that the child did not have an adverse genetic condition.
As a result, the couple is currently suing the National Maternity Hospital and the Merrion Fetal Health clinic in Dublin, Ireland, for damages. Earlier this month, the High Court added a Scottish health board as a defendant, as the board reportedly carried out some of the tests on the unborn baby.
While the defendants have denied any wrongdoing, the couple claims they were subjected to personal injuries and nervous shock due to the defendants’ alleged mistake.
Terminal Diagnosis: What Happens When the Doctors Are Right?
The couple’s story is heartbreaking, and no parent deserves to experience the pain that can only result from the death of a child. But the case would have been just as tragic if the baby who was aborted did have a fetal anomaly.
Writer and blogger Sarah St. Onge commented on the couple’s situation in a Tuesday statement provided to The Western Journal. St. Onge has personal experience with this issue, as in 2010, she refused abortion after her unborn daughter was diagnosed with a lethal birth defect.
“While we should grieve the family’s loss in this case, we can’t ignore this reality: even if the child were afflicted with a life limiting condition, she still had a right to whatever life she could live,” St. Onge wrote. “The real tragedy here isn’t just the parent’s loss but the child’s.”
St. Onge’s daughter Beatrix only lived for a few hours after birth, but she and her husband used the little time they had to fill their child’s first and last moments with love. Even though she knew that Beatrix’s condition was likely fatal, the mother helped her daughter live the life she was meant to have for as long as possible.
Still, some misunderstood the reason why St. Onge carried Beatrix to term. Writing for her website, She Brings Joy, the mother shared that many well-meaning people tried to comfort her during the pregnancy with miraculous stories of children born healthy after an adverse prenatal diagnosis.
“The idea seemed to be that if doctors were wrong she was worth carrying — except even if doctors were right, she was still worth carrying and saving,” she wrote.
There is no difference between a child who may survive a few hours or minutes and a child who may live to be 90. Abortions performed in fetal anomaly cases still involve the death of a human being, and the possibility of misdiagnosis is not the sole reason to speak against them.
Failing to realize this implies that healthy babies are preferable to affected ones. All children still deserve the dignity of living and dying as they were meant to — just like Beatrix.
Why Pro-Lifers Should Not Make ‘Exceptions’ for Fetal Anomaly Cases
In 2018, Iowa lawmakers attempted to pass a bill that would have banned most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable. While the bill was blocked the following year by a Polk County district judge, the rape and fetal anomaly exceptions it included undermined the bill’s supposedly pro-life intentions.
“When even otherwise pro-life individuals state that one person has the right to end the life of another on grounds of disability or imminent death, the door is cracked open to coerced abortion, and dehumanization,” St. Onge wrote in an article for Save the 1.
“Medical professionals efforts to manipulate women into unasked for abortions is affirmed by the willingness to look the other way for the sake of expediency.”
If the pro-life belief is correct, that it is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings, then exceptions cannot be made when it comes to children with lethal birth defects. Instead, pro-lifers should work toward ensuring parents faced with an adverse diagnosis are aware of supportive care options like perinatal hospice.
Couples like the one in Ireland deserve better than medical professionals who treat their baby like a sickness. It is a tragic situation for any parent to be confronted with their child’s potential loss, but termination cannot serve as a cure — not for the child’s condition, nor for the parents’ grief.
Pro-lifers should reject the idea that abortion can somehow be compassionate by uplifting family-centered care in the case of fetal anomalies.
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