Faith & Truth / Family Life / The Social Network

Wrongful Life

I’ve relied on Twitter to give me up-to-date-reporting on the Kermit Gosnell trial. I could say plenty about needing to follow Tweeters for information, but I won’t. Frankly, I was a bit surprised when NBCNightly news covered the jury’s verdict yesterday. Well. Everyone will certainly agree: Kermit Gosnell is deranged. But everyone won’t agree on abortion access and a woman’s ‘right to choose.’ What does it say about a culture, I ask you, when those who are least able to defend themselves, (the pre-born) have no rights? Sure, women have found themselves in ‘crisis pregnancies’ since the dawn of time. And they have attempted all manner of abortifacients to keep themselves from bringing an unwanted, or ill-timed, or, these days, inconveniently gendered or less-than-100%-healthy baby into the world. Bitter herbs, pessaries, rudimentary surgical instruments, strenuous activity, a strong punch to the gut, the notorious coat hanger, the back alley butcher — all form the long decline to the supposed enlightened freedom and mantra of ‘safe, legal and rare’ of the present day. And, let’s be honest, over 54 million US abortions in 43 years is HARDLY a rarity. (oops. I yelled there for a moment)

I suppose, since Aristotle (o! the wisdom of the ancients) made argument for an early ‘abortion,’ that first trimester legalization, which has somehow devolved into Gosnell’s (and others’!) willingness to partially birth and then kill viable babies seems ‘reasonable.’ Egad.

Here’s where things grow amazingly fuzzy for me. By ‘fuzzy,’ I mean, I don’t GET IT. I don’t get suing a doctor (likely an OB-GYN in this context) for ‘wrongful LIFE.’ Wrongful DEATH, I can actually understand. Given the Hippocratic Oath (didn’t physicians  used to pledge this? Well yes, according to Wikipedia (I know, I know) 98% of American med students still DO swear some form of oath), I can see taking some action against a doctor whose profound error may lead to death of a patient, since the Oath does include doing NO HARM. (Pardon me. I find I keep yelling) But, wrongful life?  REALLY?!?! Yes, really.

The ‘wrongful birth’ component creates the abortion sticky wicket, I suppose. Severe handicaps (of which I am blessedly spared) could render a person so helpless, bitter and dissatisfied that suing someone for ‘wrongful life’ apparently seems warranted. I can write these words with some cognitive understanding, but it ends there. I don’t dismiss the complexities, the hardships, the pain. But I can’t dismiss a life, either. And once upon a time, doctors swore not to do that too:

From the Hippocratic Oath:   i. And I will use regimens for the benefit of the ill in accordance with my ability and my judgment, but from [what is] to their harm or injustice I will keep [them].

4. i. And I will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked [for it],

ii. nor will I suggest the way to such a counsel. And likewise I will not give a woman a destructive pessary.

Wrongful death would include abortion, wouldn’t it? Let me answer that from the unborn child’s perspective. Yes. Yes it would. First, do no harm. Whatever else abortion does, it takes a life. The botched versions and the successful versions do harm. Yes, they do.

But: Wrongful life from a botched abortion? Wrongful life from a failed sterilization, contraceptive or undetected birth defect?

Wrongful LIFE?

Shouldn’t we all be yelling about that?


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