Friday, February 15, 2013

Dire Pregnancy Diagnosis - and two different responses

This week, the pro-life community has been reeling after the death of Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher who died following a late term abortion at 33 weeks. Mrs. Morbelli's baby girl had been diagnosed with fetal anomalies.

 As I was reading stories about Mrs. Morbelli, I came across this story about Ida and Andy Raymond from my home state of Michigan.  Their baby girl had also been diagnosed with fetal abnormalities.

They told us it looked like her intestines were outside of her body, her spine had a hole in it, there were cysts around her brain and her brain was surrounded by fluid,” Andy said. “They said her heart would not make it, her legs would never work and she might have Down syndrome.”
The Morbelli family had named their unborn daughter Madison. They even had a gift registry on line for the child.  The diagnosis I have seen online was reportedly some form of epilepsy.  A commenter on Jill Stanek's blog opined:

I have heard from many women, going back years, that were bullied by a succession of doctors to abort when there were suspicions of anomilies, even to the point that the women were threatened with psychiatric confinement if they did not.  You have no idea how EVIL our medical community can be, and blind when THEY think they know whats best for you.  Pure arrogance.  One woman refused 6 doctors in a row and did deliver her child( against their advice), who did die soon after, and she stated, “my little girl is gone, but Not by MY hand.”  Most mothers have strong enough instinct to be suspicous when someone wants you to do something so against nature, but imagine how vulnerable you are at that moment.  And being Catholic has nothing to do with this-All humans experience fear, and we should have Christian charity for the deceased-she cannot now speak for herself any longer.  Servant of God for Life


That was my first impression to - that the advice Mrs. Morbelli was receiving was given so strongly and with such authority that they felt as if they had no other option but to terminate the pregnancy.

The Raymond's had a similar experience:
Even worse than the bedside manner was the advice given to them. Ida said the doctor told them that it would be wise and responsible to abort their child now, and that waiting to kill Adeline would only delay the inevitable. They were told they could come back for another scan, but nothing was going to change, and the doctor could give them “termination options.” Dazed from the encounter, they took up the doctor’s offer to come back to meet with a genetic counselor.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Ida said. “We were bawling our eyes out.”
Andy and Ida said they quickly canceled the appointment, and vowed never to set foot in that hospital again. Despite the advice, they knew the wise and responsible choice was to love Adeline and give her life, as much of it as they could.
They said their obstetrician was shocked by the treatment they received.

The Raymond's daughter, Adeline, was born perfectly healthy. They attribute that to a number of things:

The couple said they don’t know why all of the horrible things that were predicted never came to pass. Andy guessed that the scan was done so early in the pregnancy that it was perhaps too early for the doctors in Ann Arbor to reach a definitive diagnosis. Ida wondered if after receiving so much prayer and support from their families and the community that it was divine intervention.


 I was somewhat surprised to see that Jennifer Morbelli had a Catholic funeral mass - She was Catholic.  Even more surprising to me was that her parents, her husband and her sister all accompanied her out of state for the abortion procedure. Another commenter on Jill Stanek's site put it this way:

 Perhaps Jennifer and even her husband were too emotional to think morally and rationally, but surely her PARENTS could have said, “We will all love this baby no matter what and we will stand by you.” Instead, they drove several states away to have a notorious abortionist murder their grandchild. While Jennifer’s parents need our prayers, we would not be doing them any favors by making excuses for them. The people around pregnant women in distress must do the RIGHT thing, not the easy thing. 


I tend to think though that this may be a case of ignorance. Several times during the election season I had practicing Catholics tell me that they compartmentalized their Catholic Faith.  Their faith was something to draw strength from, find security in, and gave them a rhythm and rhyme during the year and a history in all of the traditions - but it was not something to be trotted out in determining how to vote or how to live.  In other words, the Catholic Church teaches against abortion, but in my reality, I might not be able to follow that.

Finally, I have had more than enough experiences to know that medical professionals are wrong and their opinions are just that - opinions.  As medical consumers, we have to educate ourselves as much as possible and make informed choices.  I wonder if the Morbelli's were ever given the option of peri-natal hospice, or even adoption if they didn't feel they could handle a special needs baby.  I wonder if they knew the risks Jennifer was taking with her own health. I wonder if just going to delivery at term was still a viable and safe option. I guess we'll never know.

Both of these women have something to teach us - one by her death and the other by the life of her child. Young women should take note.


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