A peer-reviewed study published last week examines 50 years of data and concludes that the trajectory of maternal mortality in the South American country has consistently declined, decreasing from 293.7 in 1957 to 18.2 in 2007 (per 100,000 live births). That’s a decrease of 93.8%, which constitutes a major success story measured in women’s lives.
Yet Chile outlawed abortion in 1989.
Chile didn’t just place small restrictions on abortion — it outlawed abortion without exception, including in instances of rape or for the health of the mother. And since many neighbouring countries also restrict abortion, there’s no real reason to believe Chilean women are travelling outside Chile to get abortions.
Even so, maternal mortality continued to decline after the abortion ban, including deaths related to abortion.
by Marissa Poisson
From an article on a young woman who had a rare tumour growing inside her heart while pregnant:
“I decided I would have him before doing anything with me,” she said. “I wanted him to have a chance to survive before me. There was no way I would be able to do the surgery while being pregnant knowing there was a chance he would die from it.”
Not everyone felt the same way. Some family friends, a nurse in Thunder Bay, even her mother for one brief moment, thought Stout should put herself first. They intimated that Stout could always have another baby if she were healthy.
“They weren’t saying it meanly,” said Stout. “They were saying that I hadn’t met the baby yet, that I wasn’t attached. But even when I was pregnant, Bentley was my whole world. I would never choose myself over him.”
by Theresa Stephenson
Last week, it was reported that a woman who killed her newborn baby would receive no jail time.
She kept her pregnancy hidden from her parents and gave birth in their home. She then strangled her son with her underwear and threw his body over the fence into the neighbour’s yard. Clearly, this is murder. Clearly…or is it? In the opinion of an Alberta judge, this merely amounts to a fourth-trimester abortion:
The fact that Canada has no abortion laws reflects that “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support,” she writes.
The week before that baby was born, the mother could have legally had an abortion in Canada. In the womb, outside the womb – what difference does it make?
A friend paralleled this story with the anecdote of a frog being boiled alive. If you put a frog in boiling water it will immediately jump out. However, if you place it in cold water and slowly increase the temperature, it will not notice the danger and it will be cooked to death.
Canada, I think our moral relativism is killing us.
by Marissa Poisson
One week ago, two major American newspapers published two very different stories. The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy examines the phenomenon of parents who select to “reduce” twins to singletons for mainly lifestyle considerations while How a D.C. area family with 11 children, ages 12 through 1, makes it work describes just that. The former features “Jenny” and her husband, who are “choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion,” though you can no more have half an abortion than you can be a little bit pregnant. (“Coin-toss abortion” is a more apt description, unless of course the parents are choosing one child over another based on their sex.) In the latter, we read about Jen and Larry Kilmer, who have welcomed their children one after another with open arms.
In reading one article after the other, I was struck by how it all came down to a matter of perspective. The parents electing to have a shot of potassium chloride injected into one or more of their healthy babies’ hearts in the article are financially stable, married and often did everything they could to become pregnant in the first place, but they want precisely one child to be born. Still, on one level they know what they are doing is wrong. “This is bad, but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have,” says Jenny. But what does it mean to give everything you can to your children? “I feel very strongly that the best gift you can give a child is a sibling,” says Jen.
The first article states, “Whatever the particulars, these patients concluded that they lacked the resources to deal with the chaos, stereophonic screaming and exhaustion of raising twins.” Jen, on the other hand, says, “People are always asking, ‘How do you have time for yourself?’ But when you realize there’s more to life than yourself. . . I think time to yourself is overrated.” Even the author of the “reduction” piece, referring to her own situation, says, “There’s no doubt that life with twins and a third child so close in age has often felt all-consuming and out of control. And yet the thought of not having any one of them is unbearable now, because they are no longer shadowy fetuses but full-fledged human beings whom I love in a huge and aching way.” The crux of it is not the specific number of children in a family but rather that those “shadowy fetuses” are already fully human; they are the same individuals who elicit that huge and aching love.
Now that Jenny has subtracted one of her twins, she will be able to set aside twice as much money for the child who emerges from her womb alive, and it’s true that the Kilmers don’t have college funds for their children. But I have no doubt as to which family is richer. As Mother Theresa said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
*New, heartbreaking article by a father who recently lost two of his triplets: The New Scar on My Soul
by Kate Larson
According to an article I came across recently, the state of Arizona has just banned abortions performed because of a baby’s race or gender. While I rejoice at anything that could save lives, I fear this will not do so. In fact, I feel it will be ineffective on two fronts: that of doing what it is meant to and that of leading to a more comprehensive ban.
According to the article, the legislation will lead to criminal charges for doctors who are found to have performed abortions because of a baby’s race or gender. However, it will not explicitly require women seeking abortions to give their reasons. Therefore, how could it be proven that an abortion was performed on such grounds? Even if women were required to disclose their reasons, what would stop them from stating reasons other than the ones they know to be against the law? No reasons, other then medical ones, can really be verified. What’s more, a doctor’s intentions would be difficult to prove.
As for this legislation leading to a more comprehensive ban, it is unclear whether that is the intention. The article quotes a spokesperson for the governor saying that the legislation is “consistent with her pro-life track record” but also claims that the ban’s supporters feel it has more to do with racial bias than with abortion. I would hope that it would preface further anti-abortion legislation, but I cannot see how it could as it misses the main thrust of the pro-life position, which is that the pre-born child is a living human and, as such, should not be killed for any reason. It has inherent value, and, as with any other human being outside of the womb, its size, age, ability, or, indeed, gender or race do not decrease or increase its value. Banning only abortions performed because of gender or race implies that, while these reasons for aborting are not acceptable, other reasons are. Basing legislation on this false premise does not bode well for further legislation.
Despite this ban being, in my opinion, completely ineffective, it seems to be well-meaning. Both its good intentions and its wrong-headedness emphasize to me the need for pro-life groups, like uOSFL, to continue to engage future leaders with their information and events. The more people are given complete information and inspired to stand up for their convictions, the more good intentions may translate into appropriate and effective policy.
by Elizabeth Tanguay
Joseph Maraachli is a one-year-old baby who depends on a ventilator to live. He is dying of an undiagnosed neurodegenerative disorder. His parents, who lost a previous child to a similar disease, want the doctors to perform a tracheotomy, like they did for their daughter, to enable them to care for their dying son at home. The hospital refused and has instead tried to force the parents to consent to removing the ventilator. The family has fought back courageously, and right now they are trying to get baby Joseph transferred to another hospital where he will get the treatment he needs.
As a nursing student, it seems to me that the parents shouldn’t have to fight to try and provide comfort care for their baby so he can die with them at home. The doctor said that the tracheotomy would be risky and that Joseph would suffer; however, in front of the tribunal, the doctor stated that Joseph couldn’t feel pain and was in a permanent vegetative state; he didn’t respond to stimuli. However, as this video shows, Joseph is not vegetative, as he is moving to his parents’ stimuli. I can’t help asking myself: what is the hidden agenda here? Why can’t the relatively simple and humane request of the parents be granted? They are, after all, the first decision-makers for treatment for this baby. While I don’t have all the medical facts of the case, as a sister, if my little brother were dying and there was nothing more the hospital could do for him, and there was a way to make him comfortable at home, I would want that. The Maraachlis aren’t asking for a miracle: they are asking for good palliative care. If you are interested in supporting the Maraachlis as they go through this ordeal, please join the “Save Baby Joseph” Facebook group or go to any of the articles linked to here and scroll down to see how you can help.
by Elizabeth Tanguay
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers!
For those of you who voted for the Pregnancy Care Centre of Kamloops, BC,
for Joey’s Community Revival Project, you will be pleased to know that
they won the $25,000 prize with 2015 votes! (See this post and this website.) Congratulations to the Kamloops Pregnancy Care Centre!
The winner of Action Life’s video contest can be found here.
It’s a very powerful video and very well done. I highly recommend it.
Happy viewing and reading!