I remember sitting in the office of the vice president of nursing at the hospital where I worked. She and I began discussing the hospital’s induced-labor abortion practice, which I had recently discovered.
I thought I had an ally. This woman professed to be a born-again Christian. She said she felt called to her leadership position to be a good example to those around her. She talked about distributing Christian books to colleagues. She said she felt good to have been asked to give the dinner prayer at our staff Christmas party.
But then she surprised me, the first of many Christians to surprise me by their support, and sometimes participation in, abortion. She became defensive about the hospital’s abortions practices, particularly in regard to anencephalic babies, because “they have no brains; they’re not human.”
She was not quite right that these babies have no brains, but almost. Their handicaps are profound and terminal. Specifically, according to the National Institutes of Health:
Infants with this disorder are born without both a forebrain (the front part of the brain) and a cerebrum (the thinking and coordinating area of the brain). The remaining brain tissue is often exposed – not covered by bone or skin.
The infant is usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain.
Although some individuals with anencephaly may be born with a rudimentary brain stem, the lack of a functioning cerebrum permanently rules out the possibility of ever gaining consciousness … [R]esponses to sound or touch may occur …
The prognosis for individuals with anencephaly is extremely poor. If the infant is not stillborn, then he or she will usually die within a few hours or days after birth.
But my VP boss was wrong that these babies are not human. It is scientifically impossible for the created offspring of a man and woman to be anything other than human.
That being so, whether we understand it or not, the Bible says even little anencephalic babies are created in the image of God.
Yet, somehow, they have become the poster children of aborting hospitals and their defenders.
I’m told Loyola thinks I painted an inaccurate portrait of its “early induction” abortion practice because I did not mention it commits the procedure “only … if the fetus has anencephaly or Potter’s disease (underdevelopment of the brain and kidneys, respectively)” according to its position statement.
There, I hope Loyola feels better.
Now I’d like to know how any Christian hospital could possibly say out loud that a child’s health affliction is bad enough to justify ending his or her life.
When I take into consideration a Bible that says the first shall be last, the last shall be first, and the foolish shall confound the wise, added to the fact that I know quite a few adults without brains, I quake at the audacity of humans to take decisions out of God’s hands.
Who do we think we are to tell God He’s too slow?
I shouldn’t have to remind so-called Christian hospital administrators, ethicists and theologians that they are called to protect – not destroy – the most vulnerable and sickest among us.
They are called to help parents bear the unbearable loss of a child, not trigger it.
Instead, they counsel mothers to force their sick little babies from their warm, quiet, comforting uterine homes into a cold steel world of bright lights, loud noises and rough handling, worst of all withdrawing their nourishment, hydration, and oxygenation, solely to cut their little lives shorter than He in His infinite wisdom intended.
This week, I debated a blogger defending the Catholic hospitals’ position. I compared “early labor induction” to euthanasia, because it is.
I asked if he would deprive his dying grandmother of food, water and air to speed up her death, because that is exactly what is being done to handicapped babies who are aborted by “early labor induction.”
The blogger responded, “No, but if my grandmother’s brain had been removed and her body was being sustained artificially I’d have the machines removed.”
The blogger forgot one thing. The uterus is not an artificial life-support system. It is God’s life-support system.
I thought “a time to be born and a time to die” was for God to determine.
One of us has to reread Ecclesiastes.