Dr. Tiller’s death has revealed to many people the reality of late-term abortions in this country. Most people in this country believe that abortion is illegal in the United States past the 2nd trimester, but the truth is that Roe v. Wade and its accompanying decision Doe v. Bolton allowed states to make abortion legal the entire length of a woman’s pregnancy. In Kansas, Dr. Tiller was able to legally kill any unborn child up to 40 weeks of pregnancy.
But many might ask themselves, why would anyone need a late-term abortion? If you know you are pregnant within 5-6 weeks of conception at the latest, why wait another 20-25 weeks to have an abortion? There are a number of reasons, but one reason is that the parents discover that the child has some type of physical problem, such as spina bifida or downs syndrome. The parents decide that it would be better to end the child’s life rather than allow the child to live with such a condition.
There is a (prochoice) website called “A heartbreaking choice” which tells the story of some women who had late-term abortions at Dr. Tiller’s clinic. Their stories are tragic in the extreme: not simply because their children were killed, but because the parents somehow have convinced themselves that this was the most compassionate thing they could do for their children. Here is an excerpt from one story:
This went on for three more weeks, and six more visits to NYC. It was a Tuesday when we finally met with the Director of OB and she informed us that our son was very sick, and although she offered fetal procedures to increase his chances of survival, she also informed us that PUV is often detected early in the pregnancy and most mothers choose to terminate because of the many, severe complications. But at 27 weeks gestation, termination was no longer an option in New York State.
For the first time in eight weeks, a doctor was honest with us, and although it was her honesty that I hated, I was overcome with immense sadness. Late termination- how could I terminate my son? If we could hold on just 13 more weeks, then we’d have him to the best doctors, and they’d “fix” him and he’d be well.
The doctor mentioned a doctor in Kansas that, based upon this medical situation, could perform a late termination. The idea was so surreal- going to Kansas to terminate my son; he was supposed to be born to me and complete my family. After weeks of not knowing the prognosis, but gradually learning that this baby was so very sick, it didn’t take us very long to realize that traveling to Kansas to have this procedure done was saving our son from a brief life of respirators, dialysis, surgeries and pain…
We returned home just two days ago, and the pain is ever so fresh, and the memories vivid. A piece of me doesn’t want the pain to ever go away because it is one way for me to stay connected to my son. My beautiful, angelic son, Nathan Jack. Seeing him was one of the hardest things I have ever done, not being able to watch him grow up, or call me “Mommy” is something I will always grieve over, but knowing that we protected and saved him from an existence of hospital stays was our responsibility as loving parents.
I honestly don’t know how anyone can read such a story and not have their heart break. Our society has elevated personal pleasure and happiness to such an extreme that all suffering has become something to be rejected at all costs. We see that clearly in the euthanasia movement, and it is also the case here. We see no value in suffering, and now parents believe they are “loving” if they kill their own children rather than allow them to live a life that, while full of suffering and pain, can also be full of beauty and joy and a means to a deeper union with God.
Killing children to help them avoid pain and suffering is the opposite of the model of God our Father: He saw the pain and suffering we endure here on earth and He did not simply eliminate us to remove it. Instead, He sent His Son to become one of us and endure that pain and suffering with us. And through that pain and suffering, we then are saved.
I cannot have but deep pity for the women and men who have made such decisions – the burden they must feel must be enormous. Please pray for all post-abortive parents and also pray for all parents who have children with physical difficulties that they might be united to our Lord on the Cross in their suffering.