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Is this a legal technicality or a moral issue?

53 replies

musica · 22/06/2004 11:21

Look at this providing the link works!

OP posts:
soapbox · 22/06/2004 11:25

A moral issue - I know of at least 3 couples who are infertile who would jump at the chance of adopting these babies.

dinosaur · 22/06/2004 11:29

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bloss · 22/06/2004 11:30

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dinosaur · 22/06/2004 11:32

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Piffleoffagus · 22/06/2004 11:32

Bizarre isn;t it?, I thought abortions after 16 weeks were illegal unless a condition is diagnosed, in which case the condition found would often be sufficient to severely compromise life of the baby or mother if the baby were to be born... Or for less pretty reasons too of course..
Who is aborting babies at this late stage anyway?
I am totally pro choice but aborting viable babies is very WRONG

Freckle · 22/06/2004 11:36

A friend of mine told me of her DIL, who was diagnosed at about 15 weeks of pregnancy that her child had a severe genetic abnormality and would probably be still born or, at best, only survive a few hours after birth. Both parents are committed Catholics and refused a termination. The pregnancy continued and the baby was born, apparently a still birth. Again, because of the parents' faith, the father baptised the baby. The shock of the cold water caused the baby to start breathing and he is now a very happy and almost totally normal 2 year old. He does have a genetic problem, but certainly not one which is going to have any fatal or disabling affect on his life. I have to say that I cried when the grandmother told me of the outcome of the birth as I had lived with her through what was to all a fairly traumatic pregnancy. Such an uplifting story.

dinosaur · 22/06/2004 11:46

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ks · 22/06/2004 12:25

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Piffleoffagus · 22/06/2004 12:36

dinosaur I meant abortion for non medical reasons, I must admit did not read the article thoroughly as it pertained to failed late abortions...
Would not question a parents decision after an abnormal anomaly scan not to continue with a pregancy, those grounds seem to be the only permissible I thought...
Having one dd with a genetic syndrome that had it been diagnosed in utero we may well have been counselled about a termination and may well have considered it, as it is she has the mildest affect of it ever known... So I have changed my ethics a little as my situation progressed.
Assuming that all late abortions are for reasons detailed such as abnormality or worse etc... It seems miraculous that perhaps some of these suspected awful symptoms were not as bad as thought and that the babies, surviving the abortion process are born viable needing care obviously, but then grow up healthy as possible?
Imagine the guilt as a parent who chose to abort on such grounds for that baby then to be born alive and "healthy"... To then think of offering these babies up for adoption, seems in incredible makes me shudder actually...

SoupDragon · 22/06/2004 13:18

What do you think the affect of the child would be, however, if having been adopted they wanted to trace their birth parents?

bloss · 22/06/2004 13:33

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Jimjams · 22/06/2004 13:49

I used to be very much of the school of thought that I would definitely go through a late abortion if my child had a condition where I was told that they wouldn't survive more than hours after birth. But now I have come across a number of cases similar to freckle's (generally not so positive and amazing- but where the child has lived for a number of years- although I do know of one case where the child is completely "normal" for want of a better word) that I don't think I could do it "just in case". I have also discovered (from friends who have been through it) that for some reason when drs tell you they have picked up on an abnormality they seem unable to give anything except the worst case scenario. I can see whay they do it, but I always worry about someone then discovering the potential the child had later on (eg meeting someone whose child has the same condition- imagine piffle if you had terminated your baby because of her condition then 5 years later met someone like your dd). Decisions have to made so quickly at 20 weeks that it must be easy to feel steamrollered into one.

I didn't know you could get a "social" termination up to 24 weeks.

There was an article on this sort of thing about 6 to 8 months ago - in the Sunday Times I think. Made pretty harrowing reading.

dinosaur · 22/06/2004 13:53

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eddm · 22/06/2004 13:58

Piffle, I'm not sure the article is talking about babies who would grow up healthy; it's a couple of cases a year, where the babies affected may well die within hours anyway. Obviously any baby born alive should be treated with respect and cared for but it's not the case that every late abortion is a potentially live, normal baby.
I think the situation you are describing is about poor communication on the part of docs; if they are counselling parents about abnormalities, they should be honest about the potential range of disability, from mild to life-threatening and how likely or unlikely your baby is to be affected (and the limits of their knowledge; if they don't know they should say so). In some cases parents may then decide to go ahead but I would never criticise anyone who makes the very difficult decision to terminate.
I think the article was talking about, at most, one or two cases a year. They are tragic but you can't make general rules applying to all pregnancies from such a tiny minority of cases. But of course in the very rare case that an aborted fetus is born alive he or she would deserve proper care and respect (although not aggressive treatment), even if they are destined to die very swiftly due to major problems.

Jimjams · 22/06/2004 16:54

dinosaur - I think you are right that scans often cause a lot of unecessary stress...... Although of course they can also be life savers (for the baby as well). Personally I hate going for scans now!

soapbox · 22/06/2004 17:04

eddm - some of the babies were born 'healthy' including a couple who had DS. They may very well have gone on to live happy lives with the right (possibly adoptive) parents. One of the babies with DS did actually go onto be adopted having been resucitated.

I think it is just so hard to say the babies of identical terms and with similar health issues being delivered in two next door delivery room can have such a different outcome. One because it is wanted and one because it is not.

Very difficult to generalise with this issue though. Every one will be very different depending on the specific situation. You would expect though that the doctors could put more effort into discriminating between those that would have no hope of life in any event and those that would. I think the midwives were upset not just because they were left to die - but due to the undignified way they lived out their short lives - just shoved to the side on a petri dish, They at least should have been kept warm and comfortable until they perished.

IIRC one of the babies had no SN and was healthy.

frogs · 22/06/2004 17:18

I know that my anti-abortion views will put me in a minority here, but with these late terminations I genuinely don't understand why it is considered ok to inject a drug to stop the baby's heart while it is in the womb, but not ok to do the same an hour or so later once it has been born alive.

I can accept that people feel that a 16-week, non-viable fetus has a different status to a full-term baby, but I really can't see how a 24-week fetus in utero is any different to a 24-week premature baby.

I absolutely don't want to start a fight, and will go away very quickly if I'm offending anyone, but I would be interested to hear other people's views on this, as a lot of the coverage of these issues mystifies me

gothicmama · 22/06/2004 17:25

I think to abort at 24 weeks cos of "minor" abnormalities is different to say pre 12 week abortions. I do think when a feotus is viable it should be given the chance to life there are plenty of people who would willingly adopt. I also think it strange when they discuss this issue it is usually men who take the anti abortion view far more vocally then women is this linked to control of women through a patriachial society where women are second class citizens and brood mares (sorry gone of track) but this is one issues aroud abortion that irks me.

dinosaur · 22/06/2004 17:28

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gothicmama · 22/06/2004 17:32

dino - I think from something read about the Jephson case it was more common than thought altho I still believe it should be in the best interest of the mother and her rights should come first

Chandra · 22/06/2004 18:03

Moral issue I think?

Jimjams · 22/06/2004 18:28

I agree frogs- and I'm someone who has no problem with earlier terminations for whatever reason. I think the disability thing is a difficult one. Unless a baby has something like anencephaly it can be hard to say how affected a child will be. For example spina bifida varies from children\adults who are very severely disabled to people like my friend at school who walked with a limp- and I think it is difficult to say in utero how much effect there will be. Obviously for other conditions - eg trisomy 13 or 18 - there is no doubt that the child would be born severely disabled and the only question is how long that child will live (which os often more than the hours/days people seem to be told).

I do think that now premature babies are surviving from 23/24 weeks morally society needs to re-think late abortions and come to terms with when they are acceptable and when they are not. I think that's what Joanna Jephson was saying wasn't it.


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eddm · 22/06/2004 18:55

Hmm. Speaking personally I wouldn't take Joanna Jephson's views on anything. I think what she's done ? using a statistic to forcing a police investigation onto a woman who is potentially very vulnerable merely to feed her own (Jephson's) political stance is appalling. How dare she demand details of someone else's medical history? Think it's very worrying for someone in her position, who intends to end up in a postition of trust for her parishioners. It is one thing to raise a general issue about the treatment of babies with cleft palate but to force a police investigation into another woman's tragedy is cruel beyond belief. And, BTW, she doesn't know the details behind this decision and nor should she. How would she like it if we demanded to see her confidential, medical information? Cleft palate can be an indication of serious, life-threatening problems indicating a baby with little or no chance of survival. Or it can stand alone and be simple to correct. I imagine if it provoked a late abortion then it must have been very complex.

eddm · 22/06/2004 18:57

BTW, like Jephson, I also have a medical condition that in my case is relatively simple and doesn't interfere with my life. Yet I would never, never presume to lecture or bully someone who had an abortion because the fetus they were carrying had a similar condition ? a. because it's none of my business and b. because it might indicate much worse problems.

carla · 22/06/2004 18:58

What a dreadful, dreadful bit of news.

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