I've had it on my heart to write about this for the past 24 hours.
First I wrote out a rant, then another rant, and then I started to write something that sound like something that belonged in a medical journal. I deleted all of those and gave up.
Then today, the reading in morning prayer was this:
Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them. Do nothing that will sadden the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed against the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ.
So in the spirit of something that I hope will help and not hurt, I offer this post.
On Wednesday night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were both asked for their views on abortion and on future Supreme Court nominees.
This is from the transcript of Hillary's reply:
Well that is not what happens in these cases and using that kind of scare rhetoric is just
terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I've met with, women I've known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. and I do not believe that the government should be making it.
You know I've had the great honor travelling across the world on behalf of our country.
I've been to been to countries where governments either force women to have abortions like they used to do in China, or forced women to bear children like they used to do in Romania and I can tell you that the government has no business in the decisions the women have to make with their families in accordance with their faith with medical advice. I will stand up for that right
and also this:
Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who have, toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one could get. That their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term. Or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.
I've talked with women over the years as well. I know one woman who knew her baby would die shortly after birth and she did everything in her power to keep her pregnancy going until she could not stop labor any more. Her baby with a trisomy disorder was born, and defied the odds by staying alive for a few weeks before passing away at home. During that time friends visited, they took pictures, people prayed, and they packed as much family life as they could into that short span of time.
I also know of two women who had abortions because there were maternal health complications.
The big question that always comes into the debate, "What about abortion to save the life of the mother?" Below is a video with testimony from an OB/GYN who has performed over 1200 abortions including late term abortions. It's worth a watch to hear it in his own words, but in a brief synopsis, there is never any medical reason for a baby to be dismembered and evacuated from the mother's womb for medical reasons to save the life or health of the mother. None. The D&E is not a life saving procedure.
But what about a situation where the mother isn't necessarily facing iminent death, but a potential risk to her health or life, especially if the baby faces a diagnosis that is incompatible with life after birth?
The Catholic church addresses this as Proportional reasoning. I have had many discussions about elective induction of fetus with anomalies incompatible with life (EIFWAIL) . Those discussions centered around whether a particular pregnancy condition could be treated if the purpose of the treatment is to cure the mother and not kill the child, although the treatment will surely lead to the demise of the child.
Of course, that is what has been described as double effect:
The principle of the double effect is at work in each of these two directives. Actions that might result in the death of a child are morally permitted only if all of the following conditions are met: (1) treatment is directly therapeutic in response to a serious pathology of the mother or child; (2) the good effect of curing the disease is intended and the bad effect foreseen but unintended; (3) the death of the child is not the means by which the good effect is achieved; and (4) the good of curing the disease is proportionate to the risk of the bad effect. Fulfillment of all four conditions precludes any act that directly hastens the death of a child.
The linchpin here is in #4. The risk must be PROPORTIONATE to the risk of the bad effect. EIFWAIL is an elective procedure - the E stands for Elective and that means that it can be chosen or not chosen but in medical terms it is not emergent or even urgent or even immediate. It may not even be the only reasonable course of care.
This does not mean however that the mother has to be at death's door before treatment can be given. For example certainly a mother with cancer of the uterus is licit in having a hysterectomy or undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. My understanding is that it is the proportionate risk that is the key here and not necessarily how currently ill the mother is.
In the past, I was asked what I would have done if this had happened to me. As a mom who has lost a baby at 23 weeks, and as a mom who has 6 healthy children, I have had a lot of time and reason to contemplate this type of question as it relates to my role as a Catholic wife and mother within the framework of my Catholic Faith.
To me, it doesn't matter if the life I am given to mother lasts a day in the womb or goes on to live 100 years once out of the womb. A life is a life. It is a child given to me. A child that I will have the opportunity to love always, and perhaps get the chance to raise to adulthood, but perhaps not.
Each child is an eternal being of priceless worth. The time on earth is fleeting, the time beyond forever. So to me it does matter whether I get to carry the child for days or months, or if the child is carried to term and dies then. That life is a gift and I would not end it prematurely. My own child I carried inside of me for at least a week when he had already passed. And even carrying his body was a significant gift. I mentioned previously that the word "casket" means the carrier of something precious and I certainly felt that as I carried my child he was still precious and still mine before he was born and I had to submit him for burial.
It does make a difference, even if the outcome could never be the gift of a living child. The time together NOW can still be very precious and a gift if you are open to that.Finally from the articles I have since read and blogged on, it appears that there is NOT a standard set of risks to the mother that will absolutely occur with a doomed pregnancy. Interestingly, when my own child had already passed and I stated that I wanted to wait to deliver on my own, none of the doctors I talked to suggested that there was a grave or urgent need to induce labor quickly.
So what I would do is take a watchful waiting approach. I would write letters to this child for his/her baby book, and to place in the casket. I would buy a special rosary to touch to my child when it is born as a secondary relic. I would certainly keep up regular appointments and watch for signs of a problem, but until that time I would just let nature take its course. Because I did those things with my son, I am content and even have a happy memory of that very sad time in my life.That's what I would do.
Other women have made that choice too.
Which brings us back to our candidates and choice. Hillary seems to have myopic vision when it comes to abortion - as if it is the cure all for whatever is bad for women. And because abortion has become cloaked in the constitution, at least as interpreted by the SCOTUS back in the 70s and protected from that time forward, that seems to be the hill she's willing to die on. But the reality is that even when women do make the difficult decision to end the lives of their babies, even for very serious reasons, there is still a lot of pain and angst about it - even many years later. Abortion doesn't take the pain away.
We don't do death well in this country. We hide it away in hospitals or nursing homes, we make it look pretty in the nursing home, and we try not to deal with it in the meantime. Maybe that's why young women today don't know how to deal with it or how to face it. My 11-year-old and I are reading The Yearling right now, and the author very matter-of-factly discusses the many miscarriage, still births and infant deaths of the main characters. We don't do that any more, and when we do acknowledge it (this is national pregnancy month after all) it's hidden in blue and pink balloons, teddy bears, and baby angels. Maybe what would really help women is a hospice type service for couples who are facing the loss of a pregnancy, where the baby can be delivered naturally with the parents supported, the baby can die a natural death surrounded by the people that love him, and let the parents grieve on their own timetable without ever having to wonder if they made the right "choice" or wonder years later if the dismemberment of their child was painful.
Neither Donald or Hillary mentioned anything like that. But we can be assured that if Hillary is elected, she won't pursue anything like that either. She will put up more SCOTUS justices who support abortion, any time, any place, for any reason, and no amount of sensible regulation will be allowed to stand if it is even slightly perceived as standing in the way of abortionist and the baby.
For this reason alone, she needs to be stopped, and we need to vote accordingly. A third party candidate, doesn't have a prayer of winning this election. It's unfortunate, but true. Many of my millenial friends, and even some of my own children are voting their consciences and are voting third party.
But I'm old enough now to know that elections have consequences. I used to think those consequences wouldn't have a major impact on my life, but now after living through eight years of the current administration and losing my health care, I know that I can't be that cavalier about it.
I know Trump is far from being a saint, but his true talent is being able to put the right person in the right job. Imagine a cabinet and SCOTUS that actually reflected pro-life ideals! That's what is at stake in this election.