John on February 20, 2007 at 10:24 pm
The Guardian has an excellent story on the not-quite-22-week old premature baby that was born in a Miami Hospital. Baby Amilla survived, making her the earliest preemie to ever be discharged from the hospital:
Amillia would not have lived at all if her mother, in desperation, had not deceived doctors about how far along she was. Sonja, who had had to deal with cervical abnormalities and infections during pregnancy, showed signs of labour at 19 weeks; nine days later doctors realised that they could delay a vaginal birth no longer and performed a caesarean. Incredibly, Amillia was breathing without assistance and even made several attempts to cry when she emerged; doctors assumed she might be 23 weeks old and Sonja did not disabuse them. It was only later that it emerged how early Amillia had really been. At a press conference later, one of the doctors said that Sonja had been in such distress for so long that the hormones she was producing actually helped Amillia to survive. Now she has done so, it is time to consider her future.
The article does a decent job presenting both sides of the dilemna posed by very premature babies (under 28 weeks). Of those that survive, many will be severely handicapped for life. While I personally feel the dilemna weighs heavily toward making all effort to assist the life of premature babies, I don’t blame people for asking the hard questions about what kind of life some of these children might have.
Still, it’s pretty shocking to find a Professor of Medical Ethics suggesting that concern for extending life is somehow connected to the coming global warming apocalypse:
“Should one really be trying at all to keep that baby alive?” asks Professor Richard Nicholson, editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics. “Chances are it will require an enormous amount to be spent on it for the rest of its life. We have much less experience of death, so we have become much less willing to accept it. In countries where infant mortality is higher it would be seen as absurd. We live in a society where we have become addicted to physical existence. It’s totally unsustainable. Our attempts at the moment to keep every human physically alive as long as possible will make it less likely that the human race will survive climate change.”
It takes a supremely educated mind to say something that stupid.
What really sets this article apart from most reporting on issues like this is the first-hand account of the reporter, who herself gave birth to a premature baby:
I understand why Sonja Taylor, Amillia’s mother, lied to hospital staff about her baby’s gestation, and why she did everything humanly possible to keep her child alive. I think stories like this show that there shouldn’t be an artificial cut-off point with premature babies – a rule which says that before a certain date, we won’t save your baby, end of discussion. Every case should be considered on its own merits, because while it’s all very well chewing over the ethics of keeping very premature babies alive – talking about death, talking about horrific outcomes – the bottom line is that there are an awful lot of individual, complicated and emotional – not to mention financial and practical – issues at stake.
Not to mention a baby who, however small and premature, has a personality all of his or her own; not to mention doctors whose views may be conflicting; not to mention a nursing team who may also have different viewpoints. The whole thing’s very messy. And in the midst of it all there’s the powerful, emotional force of a parent’s love.
A parent’s love is a powerful force indeed. The pro-choice movement has made every effort to separate unborn babies from the protection of that natural instinct and, in the process, it has separated women from their money and the best part of their humanity.
Category: Pro-Life |