Thursday, November 24, 2011

Twins' death doubly wrong

The tragic death of twin babies in a botched operation at a Melbourne hospital is absolutely awful for everyone involved.

And it demonstrates everything that is wrong about abortion.

As reported in The HeraldSun, a couple was advised by doctors at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital to abort one of their twin boys because he had a congenital heart defect "that would require years of operations, if he survived at all". So they decided to abort one of the boys, whom they had already named.

I find that heartbreaking. I can't imagine making such a decision.

But it gets worse.

During the abortion operation, at which both parents were present, a mistake was made and, rather that the sick baby dying, his healthy brother was injected with the poisonous substance meant for his brother, and killed. The doctors then performed a caesaerian operation to terminate the sick baby, so both twins died.

The HeraldSun reports:

A friend of the woman said the family was struggling to cope with the fatal mistake.

"She went to the hospital with two babies and now she has none. And she had the heartache of giving birth to her sick baby. She's traumatised," she said.

The ultrasound clinician who identified the wrong baby was reportedly inconsolable.

Just horrific.

In the arguments about abortion I've participated in, the arguments usually go to the mother's rights, or some terrible edge case where the mother's life is threatened, or the baby is conceived through rape or incest. But here is a healthy mother with two boys who, without intervention, will be born alive. The mother's rights are not an issue, and this is no edge case since the twins were conceived in an apparently stable marriage and it's clear that the pregnancy was wanted.

The reason given for the termination is that one baby would, because of his illness, either die or have to have many operations to fix his heart.

I find it very hard not to be angry about this because it seems so selfish.

Why kill this baby?

Because he will suffer? Is that really a good reason? Would you kill your baby if you knew that one day he would suffer because of some sickness? No child would survive if that were the case.

Because his parents will suffer hardship? That really is selfish. Because he will cost his parents money? That doesn't sound so nice, does it?

What about this: "We decided to chuck out the dud one, but keep the good one".

No, that doesn't sound very nice at all does it? And yet that's what it comes down to. It seems that these parents were willing to kill one of their children so that they would not suffer hardship. Which seems to be the main reason for abortions. Not because a mother's life is threatened, but because a baby will bring hardship, or disrupt a lifestyle, or be inconvenient. I don't deny that raising children can be very hard, and that having very sick children is physically, emotionally and financially draining, but once upon a time it was considered a good thing to sacrifice yourself for your children. It might even be considered character-building.

What's remarkable about this tragedy is that, despite all the pro-choice rhetoric, people think it is a tragedy. In each of the news reports I read, each of the twins is described as being a 'boy', a 'brother', a 'baby', despite them not having that status as human in law.

The news reports the tragedy that a healthy baby boy died. But what about the sick twin? Doesn't he count? Why is he denied the opportunity to live when, through no fault of his own, he suffers a medical condition? Why is one boy denied rights, justice, life, and even humanity, while his healthy brother is given them? Why are people 'traumatised' by the death of a healthy boy and inconsolable, but not by the death of a sick boy? Doctors. Nurses. His parents.

But then thousands of healthy babies are killed like this every day. 80,000 each year in Australia alone. And apparently no-one is traumatised by that.

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