Most of the anger that comes from the pro-life crowd has to do with “frivolous” abortions. We see abortion used by so many people as a form of birth control. It’s a tool used for unwanted pregnancies that inconvenience potential parents. Pregnancies change lives and some people don’t want their lives changed, so they abort.
This rightfully draws most of the attention, but there’s another front that should be discussed. Abortions that are performed for the “protection” of babies with birth defects or for the financial security of parents faced with crushing medical expenses usually get more sympathy. It’s not like frivolous abortions, right? It’s people making responsible decisions, right? The truth is that it’s even worse in some ways than abortions-on-demand.
I didn’t know this until my wife and I were faced with the situation ourselves. Our fourth child, currently 22-weeks in his mother’s womb, has a defective heart. He will require open-heart surgeries almost immediately just to survive. I went into detail about his condition on The Federalist:
When my wife gives birth to our fourth child this year, he will need open heart surgeries as soon as he’s physically able. His heart isn’t like everyone else’s. The aorta and pulmonary artery are connected to the wrong ventricles. On top of that, there’s a hole in the wall separating the ventricles. He cannot survive with the current setup.
My wife and I have always been pro-life. She dealt with abortion advice as a teenager, when doctors told her she was too young to have our first son. That was easy advice to dismiss, even for a pair of teens who knew nothing. But this time was different. The question wasn’t whether we were ready to be parents. This time, the question was whether we wanted our next child to suffer—even if he survives at all.
The reason I now believe this is an even worse reason to have an abortion than out of convenience is because it’s a conscious decision of judgment. When parents or even single mothers are perfectly willing to have a healthy child but who change their minds based upon the suffering their child may experience or the financial burden it will cause, we’re passing flawed judgment on something that is beyond out understanding.
Fighting this is more challenging than fighting frivolous abortions. In those cases, it’s a cultural, emotional, or spiritual battle. As a society, we have plenty of examples of people who were almost aborted or who were adopted instead of aborted. These cases combined with ultrasound technology allow us to bring conscience more easily into the equation.
With abortions that are recommended based upon birth defects, we’re getting into murky waters. Who’s to say someone is making the right decision to bring someone into this world to suffer? To me and others, the answer is God. Even those who are not believers must be made to understand the responsibility we have to protect life regardless of how easy or expensive it might be to do so.
Please know that I’m not condemning decisions to abort based upon birth defects as being worse than frivolous abortions. Just as I do not believe preborn babies should be judged for their life-worthiness, it’s also not my place to judge one abortion as worse than another. However, the problem itself is a tougher one to address because it’s not viewed by most as black and white. It’s a different argument than rape, incest, or life of the mother. This is a debate over the suffering a birth will cause to both the person in question and their family. As such, it’s more difficult to make some realize it’s still a very clear situation.
Abortion is wrong regardless of the potential physical or financial burden it would prevent.
Can someone with a birth defect live happily? Is it unfair to not give them the opportunity? Does hardship give potential parents the license to decide not to have a child? These are questions that are much harder for some to answer than whether or not a child should be aborted out of convenience. As a modern society, it’s time to start answering these questions better. So far, most of the answers have been wrong.
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