Feb 29 2012

Repeating an atrocity with “preventive” care

If you read this when it was first posted, check out the three UPDATES made to it since.  Just scroll on down.

As Mrs. Miner wrote in Hey, What About MY Choice?, there is enormous pressure from the medical establishment to do invasive “prenatal testing” (including amniocentesis) under the guise of “preventive care,”  as if killing a disabled child before it’s born is treatment of a medical condition, instead of simply murder of the helpless.

Mark Leach writes in the Washington Examiner about Repeating an atrocity with “preventive care”

President Obama signed “Rosa’s Law,” sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and named for one of her constituents, a little girl with Down syndrome, in 2010.

The law eliminates the phrase “mental retardation” from federal laws and regulations, replacing it with “intellectual disability.” Another law sponsored by Mikulski threatens to eliminate girls like Rosa and my daughter, Juliet, from future generations.

Rick Santorum recently attacked President Obama for the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring no-cost prenatal testing. This mandate is part of Mikulski’s amendment to Obamacare requiring preventive care services for women.

Genetic conditions like my Juliet’s Down syndrome and Santorum’s daughter Bella’s Trisomy 18 can be prenatally diagnosed, but not treated prenatally. The HHS mandate begs the question: How does prenatal testing for genetic conditions that cannot be treated prenatally qualify as “preventive” care?

Obama’s campaign spokeswoman responded to Santorum’s concerns by saying prenatal testing is for the health of the mother and baby and to bring about safer deliveries.

Not so in the case of prenatal testing for genetic conditions. Instead, most women terminate following a positive test result — a decidedly unhealthy and unsafe delivery for the baby.

Indeed, this is the effect of prenatal testing for genetic conditions. Last summer, a report from Denmark predicted the country would be “Down syndrome-free” by 2030, due to its prenatal testing program.

Isn’t that nice.  Europe seems to have learned little of moral worth from its experience with German eugenics programs in the Nazi era.

In Switzerland, 87 percent of all Down syndrome pregnancies are terminated. In France, 96 percent of fetuses with Down syndrome are aborted following a prenatal diagnosis.

This effect is not limited to other countries. California has had a prenatal testing program for Down syndrome since the 1980s. Researchers found that 47 percent fewer children with Down syndrome were born than would have naturally occurred.

They flatly admitted that California’s prenatal testing program’s purpose is to reduce the number of children born with Down syndrome through earlier abortions.

As if we didn’t know that already.  It’s made pretty explicit by the “medical providers” who pressure women to have amniocentesis.  ”Could you live with a Down’s child?” they say.  This is exactly what Mrs. Miner experienced in the glorious people’s republic of California.

Did Mikulski intend for her preventive care services amendment to eliminate children like Rosa, Juliet, Bella and others with genetic conditions from future generations?

Well, yes.  The believers in using abortion to filter out the unfit defend it on a variety of grounds, from financial burden on society to pretended concern about the “poor quality of life” the soon-to-be murdered unborn child would have without the beneficently performed therapeutic dismemberment.

We are left to wonder because, unlike Santorum, Mikulski has not spoken out on this issue. Other voices have so far been silent, too.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton recently stormed out of a hearing on the HHS mandate for birth control. Norton is a co-chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and a mother to a young lady with Down syndrome.

Perhaps she’ll express the same indignation about Obamacare’s policy to prevent children like her daughter from being born in future generations? Likewise, the CDSC lists more than 50 members, including Norton’s co-chairs and fellow parents, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, R-Wash., and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas.

Perhaps, they, too, and many others, regardless of political party, will wonder why a regulation expresses the view that unborn children with genetic conditions should be prevented from being born.

Last century, people who thought themselves upstanding citizens stood by silently while a segment of their society was targeted for elimination based solely on their fundamental nature.

Civilized nations said “never again.” Yet, here we are at the turn of this century dealing with the next challenge to whether we believe our creed that we are all created equal.

Voices are needed to call for the rescinding of the HHS’ mandate for no-cost prenatal testing for genetic conditions as “preventive” care, before we repeat a historic atrocity.

It was always the intent of the Margaret Sangers of the world, and their ideological kin such as Planned Parenthood, to eliminate the unfit from society, hopefully by keeping them from being born in the first place, even if that involved killing them in the womb….  or out of it, for that matter.

UPDATE:

The day has brought an embarrassment of riches from the point of view of pro-life bloggers, but an embarrassment of moral poverty on the part of some “medical ethicists,” who seem to have stood on its ear the meaning of the word “ethics.”  This just in:

Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say

Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.

The journal’s editor, Prof Julian Savulescu, director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, said the article’s authors had received death threats since publishing the article. He said those who made abusive and threatening posts about the study were “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society”.

The article, entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?”, was written by two of Prof Savulescu’s former associates, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva.

They argued: “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”

Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”. They explained: “Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.

“We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.”

As such they argued it was “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”.

The authors therefore concluded that “what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.

They also argued that parents should be able to have the baby killed if it turned out to be disabled without their knowing before birth, for example citing that “only the 64 per cent of Down’s syndrome cases” in Europe are diagnosed by prenatal testing.

Once such children were born there was “no choice for the parents but to keep the child”, they wrote.

“To bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”

However, they did not argue that some baby killings were more justifiable than others – their fundamental point was that, morally, there was no difference to abortion as already practised.

They preferred to use the phrase “after-birth abortion” rather than “infanticide” to “emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus”.

You have to give these infanticide enablers this: they’re very logical in proceeding from the starting point of abortion-on-demand. It was bound to come to this. And it has.

UPDATE #2:

I would blame this on Britain’s apparent desire to self-destruct, but we have our own apologist for the appalling, right here in the good ‘ole US of A, in the form of Peter Singer.  Of course, he’s really Australian, so maybe he doesn’t count as an American.  He came from the Commonwealth, after all, which may soon be commonly Islamic.  Maybe there’s something in the water that people drink in Australia.

UPDATE #3:

At this link, an Australian “ethicist” argues on a radio show in Iowa that

 after-birth abortions should be permitted if parents decide that they want to prevent their child from having a difficult or painful life. One of the reasons many people abort fetuses, she notes, is due to diseases or other deformities. But, some of these disorders are not detected while the child is in the womb. In cases such as this, Minerva and Giubilini argue in their paper, termination of the newborn should be allowed. This sentiment should also apply then to healthy newborns, she says, because some people abort perfectly health fetuses for a variety of personal reasons as well.

Again, this is the logical conclusion of permitting and encouraging abortion-on-demand for any reason at all, or none.  So on the one hand, these “ethicists” are just being reasonable.

Reasonably monstrous, of course….  along with the rest of the pro-abort crowd.


Feb 03 2012

Hey, What About MY Choice? Part 3

In the beginning post of this series, I told the story of how California doctors and medical providers just couldn’t get it through their heads that even though I was a 35 yr old soon-to-be-mom, I did NOT want amniocentesis, because of the risk of miscarriage and the fact that it could not reveal any information I would actually be able to use.  But the medical types were really determined.  In the second post of this series, I told of how a doctor threatened to withhold care from me, and a necessary examination, if I didn’t submit to his attempt to coerce me into “genetic counseling,”  at a minimum, with the obvious agenda of getting me to agree to amniocentesis.

How DARE the doctors make me defend my refusal to have a test that could have resulted in my child’s death!  Imagine the news if “just” one percent of school buses on a given day crashed.  Out of ten thousand school buses, that means that one hundred buses crashed.  Now, imagine the public’s reaction if every child on those hundred buses died.  It’s incomprehensible to imagine such a thing.  When a SINGLE bus crashes and ANY children are killed, the tragedy makes national news.  Yet the medical establishment displays a remarkably cavalier attitude toward the fact that given the prevalence of amniocentesis, undoubtedly many healthy, “wanted” children die every year or are born prematurely.

I have since come to understand another disturbing fact surrounding the aggressive push for prenatal testing: many parents demand these tests.  We live in an age where, as Mark Steyn has stated, parents often put off childbearing until later in life and then have “one designer baby.”  And only one.  As fertility invariably decreases with age, some turn to fertility drugs and/or in vitro fertilization, which can result in multiple fetuses.  No worries, though.  Through a process known as “selective reduction,” the mother can have the “extra” babies killed, leaving her with only one child.  And boy, that kid better be perfect.  If the child fails to meet the consumers’ (aka parents’) expectations, the doctor might well find himself slapped with a “wrongful birth” lawsuit.  The heart-breaking fact is that around 90% of children identified with Down syndrome are aborted.  (It’s worth noting, however, that amniocentesis is not completely accurate, which means that a number of “healthy” children are mistakenly thought to have a genetic defect and are then aborted.)  Given the fact that prenatal life is valued so little, I suppose it’s no wonder I was sometimes treated as a socially irresponsible freak for refusing genetic testing.

My next several visits to the obstetrician were uneventful, except that he kept looking at my chart and saying, “Oh, yeah.  You refused amnio.”  Was my choice really that unusual?  Perhaps so.   During that time, I ran into several women, mostly strangers, pregnant women who would say, “I had to have amniocentesis.”  One even said to me (both of us standing there, pregnant, in Burlington Coat Factory’s baby section), “I’m scheduled for amniocentesis tomorrow.  I really don’t want to do it, but I have to.”  How many women are made to feel that they have no choice?

About nine weeks shy of my due date, I began having painful contractions.  It didn’t appear to be labor, but with my doctor’s recommendation, I decided to take a break from my job as a special education teacher at a local junior high.  A short time later, I went into full-blown preterm labor.  My baby wasn’t handling my contractions very well, so the doctor said they were probably going to have to deliver her early.  Thankfully, labor was stopped by a combination of three different medications.  I was confined mostly to bed for the remainder of my pregnancy and continued taking medication.  Given this precarious situation, I couldn’t help but wonder if an earlier decision to have amniocentesis might have resulted in an extremely premature baby – or even a stillbirth.  I’ll never know, but I shudder when I consider the possibilities.

Finally, the day I had been longing for arrived, and I gave birth to a beautiful full-term baby girl.  Shortly before being discharged, a clerical worker from the hospital came to my room and asked me to sign a form.  By signing, I would be acknowledging that I had received certain types of care in the hospital, as well as during my pregnancy.  I noticed three number codes and asked that each be explained.  When she reached the third code, she said that its numbers stood for amniocentesis.   “I didn’t have amniocentesis,” I sighed.  She looked surprised and then asked, “Are you sure?”

Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh.


Jan 29 2012

Hey, What About MY Choice? Part 2

The previous post in this three part series is here.

In the beginning post of this series, I told the story of how California doctors and medical providers just couldn’t get it through their heads that even though I was a 35 yr old soon-to-be-mom, I did NOT want amniocentesis, because of the risk of miscarriage and the fact that it could not reveal any information I would actually be able to use.  But the medical types were really determined.  Read on.

I agreed to have a high-resolution sonogram referred to by my doctor as “Level 4” (L4), to be performed by a different doctor when I was about four months pregnant.  When I called to set up the appointment for this procedure, the nurse on the line began discussing the preparations for amniocentesis.  I patiently explained that I had declined this procedure and would be having the sonogram only.  She seemed quite surprised, but finally said that she would put a notation on my chart so that I would not be “hassled” any further.  (But wait, it was ALREADY on my chart.)  About two weeks later, another nurse called to confirm my appointment for the next day and began giving me instructions regarding amniocentesis.  I told her, a bit less patiently this time, that I had declined amniocentesis and would only be having the sonogram.  She told me that I was scheduled for amniocentesis.  I said, “Read my chart.”  She said, “Come prepared for amnio anyway!”

My husband (aka Harmonicminer) and I arrived at the clinic for my L4 sonogram the next day.  I tried to put all thoughts of large needles near babies’ heads, prenatal child kil …. er, I mean “pregnancy terminations,” etc., out of my head.  I just wanted to see my baby.  I was, of course, hoping the exam would bring good news but was prepared to accept whatever the test might reveal.

The clinic’s high-risk specialist, Dr. Shah, entered the room, glanced at his notes and said, “You’re here for an L4 and an amniocentesis.”  Feeling like a broken record, I explained – AGAIN – that I had thoroughly discussed my options with my obstetrician and had signed the form refusing amniocentesis and genetic counseling.  I had only agreed, on my doctor’s advice, to have the L4 sonogram.

Dr. Shah snapped, “You should not have been ALLOWED to sign that refusal without first undergoing genetic counseling!”  He then said, nonsensically, that amniocentesis was “for my own safety.”  Furthermore, he refused to even do the sonogram until, at a minimum, I subjected myself to “counseling.”  Seriously?!?    Was he actually threatening to withhold medical care unless I submitted to his authority?

I was too upset to endure the heated exchange between Mr. Miner and the doctor, so I agreed to see the genetic counselor down the hall.  I walked in her office in a very unhappy frame of mind, and I let her know that I was there under duress.  To her credit, she was very kind, but the questions were truly useless.  To paraphrase one of the more sophisticated queries,  “So, is there any chance you and your husband are biologically related?”

After signing yet ANOTHER refusal of amniocentesis, I returned to the exam room where the doctor, somewhat begrudgingly, finally did the sonogram.

And there she was, my little SOMEBODY…  not “potential life,” but undeniably a miniature human being with unfathomable potential.  Stretching, moving, kicking, growing, EXISTING.  I may have even seen her make a rude gesture to the doctor.  Way to go, kid.

Part three (the last part of this series) is here.


Jan 24 2012

Hey, What About MY Choice? Part 1

Category: abortion,election 2012,family,healthcare,liberty,science,technologyMrs. Miner @ 4:08 pm

This blog entry is for my daughter Elyse.  You make me smile.  Every day.

I’ve never been into New Year’s resolutions, but around this time each year, without fail, I go into a reorganizing frenzy.  Out with the old, in with the new.  That sort of thing.  Well, perhaps not every year, but most years.  Okay, every decade or so I decide it would be a good idea to throw out copies of bills I paid more than five years earlier, put at least three photos in albums, and pay THIS month’s bills.  THAT sort of thing.

As I was going through various old papers (how do we accumulate so much STUFF?), I came across notes I had written detailing some of what I experienced during my pregnancy with my youngest child (Elyse), now 13, and my relationship with the ….  ahem, medical experts that was often, unfortunately and unnecessarily, fraught with conflict.  You see, even though I had two other children and thought I knew what to expect, my pregnancy was now defined as high risk due to my “advanced maternal age,” and the rules had changed.  Big time.

During my first prenatal visit, I was given brochures outlining the prenatal testing options available for a mature woman such as myself.  The literature I read stated that I had a small chance of having a child with some sort of genetic defect, and my obstetrician, Dr. Alvarez, recommended that I have a simple blood test known as AFP that checked the levels of certain substances found in the blood of pregnant women.  A “screen positive” result could indicate a problem with the developing baby, in which case amniocentesis would be recommended.

If you’re familiar with amniocentesis, you know that it is a somewhat invasive test.  The doctor, guided by ultrasound, sticks a large needle into the mother’s abdomen and then her uterus, in order to extract a small amount of fluid surrounding the baby.  Fetal cells in the fluid are then examined.  This test is not risk free.  The literature I received from my doctor stated that the test carries about a one percent chance of miscarriage.  (By contrast, my chances of delivering a child with Down syndrome were about one in three hundred.) I was not about to take such a risk, particularly with the heartbreak of a miscarriage not even a year earlier.

At my next medical appointment, I informed my doctor that I had decided against AFP, which has a high false positive rate.  I didn’t want to raise any questions that only amniocentesis could answer, and I was unwilling to undergo such a risky procedure as amniocentesis.  He seemed surprised and asked me if I was sure.  I asked if there was any way to fix a problem that amniocentesis might uncover, and he said no, but that I would then have the option of “having the baby or terminating the pregnancy.”  I told him that I would not have an abortion under any circumstances.  This said, I believed that my choice would be honored, and that would be the end of that.  Yeah, right.

In a tone of voice that seemed to suggest he was speaking to a slow-witted child, he said, “You just really need to ask yourself if you could handle raising a handicapped child.”  Doing my best impression of an adult, I responded that I knew that raising a child with such challenges would be difficult, but I could not live with KILLING one.

After more discussion, my doctor and I came to the decision that genetic counseling would also serve no useful purpose, so I signed a form refusing the counseling and amniocentesis.  Doctor Alvarez put a note on my chart so that I “wouldn’t be bothered about this whole amnio thing again.”  Now I really thought that would be that.  Wrong again.

Here is Part 2 in the saga of California medicine trying to stick needles in my abdomen.


Mar 10 2009

Other Series

Category: harmonicminer @ 4:47 pm

While you can always search for posts on a topic using the CATEGORY flip menu, about half-way down the right side on the home page, or do a direct search of the blog in the title bar on the upper right, this page also links to other groups of posts on particular topics.  In each case, there are two links for each series.  The first link takes you to the first post in the series, which links to the rest.  The second link takes you to a page showing all the posts in the series.

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The Spiritual Poverty of Socialism

The Spiritual Poverty of Socialism. All posts.

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Britain, R.I.P.?

Britain, R.I.P.?  All posts.

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Misusing Scripture

Misusing Scripture.  All posts.

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Prosperity Gospel for Christian Institutions?

Prosperity Gospel for Christian Institutions?  All posts.
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Hey, What About MY Choice?

Hey, What About MY Choice?  All posts.

As time permits, I’ll put links to more series here.