A couple in Australia has aborted their unborn child at 28 weeks after learning that the baby would be born with a deformed left hand.
Mind you, at 28 weeks a baby has over a 90% chance of surviving outside the womb with proper healthcare. But the mother said she was "really, really depressed" about the baby's diagnosis so that would seem to trump the illegality or immorality of late-term abortions.
The mother said she believed she would feel guilty for allowing a baby to live with a disability. "I grew up with many people who were disabled, and… there was discrimination," the mother told The Brisbane Times. "I didn't want my child to be discriminated against. The problem is... obvious because it is the fingers, and I think the child would have a very hard life." So in order to prevent the baby from ever being discriminated against, she killed the baby. Whew, and thus an imperfect life was narrowly avoided.
My sister was born without a left hand, not even a deformed one. And she seems to be doing pretty well for herself. She's a mother of two and an actress in New York. Is she discriminated against? Sure. To think she should've been killed is preposterous to me.
This thought that the imperfect life is not worth living is preposterous. Who has the perfect life? Who leads a life without sin, without hardship, without suffering discrimination? Those things are part of life, not an excuse to end it. You can not have redemption without sin or triumph without hardship or forgiveness without discrimination.
My heart breaks over this case. The issue has created a legal stir and the woman has many defenders. The University of Melbourne's Lachlan de Crespigny reportedly argued that the legality of abortion should have nothing to do with whether the baby can survive outside the womb. "Women have the same rights as the rest of the population in deciding what to do with their bodies, so do you see them as a pregnant woman, someone who doesn't have that right to decide and must carry that foetus - that it is the role of the Catholic Church or parliament to decide for her?"
But then he added something telling. He said that when abortion became legal it was acknowledged that any restrictions due to fetal development would be arbitrary because at no point does the fetus definitively change in any relevant way. Exactly. Because the baby is human at conception as the baby is human at birth. Nothing can change that. And until we accept every life as human and sacred we'll continue to see violence against those deemed imperfect.
Updated link to The Brisbane Times