Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tales of Tiller (my two cents)

So was Dr. George Tiller a baby-killing monster or a conscientious, loving and dedicated physician. Depends on who you listen to.

Even this anti-Tiller site contains some information that paints Tiller in a positive light. One of Dr. Tiller's patients, Cheryl writes:

I have one child and this was a WANTED pregnancy.Our world crashed when we found out something was seriously wrong during a routine ultrasound at 22 weeks (5 1/2 months). We were told she had a two-vessel cord, her heart was on the wrong side (fluid around the heart - leading to failure), ribs were butterflied, lung abnormalities, and spine was missing pieces & fragmented. Her facial bones were abnormal as well as her brain development. She also had dislocated, frog-like hips and her tailbone was missing. Two doctors at two major hospitals, one perinatal, had no idea what to tell us. They had never seen this before.

I thought I was going to die of a broken heart. The second question we asked was about quality of life. We were told "zero" and that her deformities were 'incompatible with life". If she survived to term and birth, which was very doubtful, our child would be in constant pain and have numerous inoperable conditions. We were informed we had one of two options, continue pregnancy or terminate.

Dr. Tiller and his staff were absolutely wonderful. We were given the option of having our baby baptized, the option to see/hold/name her, prints of her hands/feet (which I now have her footprints tattooed on my wrist), a certificate of her delivery, the option to take photos and medical xrays.

There are other, less positive accounts on this site. I believe that late-term abortion should be legally available in cases like this.

On the other hand, not all of Dr. Tiller's cases involved threats to the life or health of the mother, or severe fetal abnormality. The most horrific involves not only an apparent elective abortion of a healthy fetus by a healthy mother but the abortion failed and the baby survived although severely damaged by the procedure. This is the case of baby Sarah Brown. This case is truly disturbing and I hope that it turns out to be some kind of hoax, but there is no evidence that this is the case. Allegedly it involves a very late-term abortion (36 weeks!) and on top of that the fetus survives--for another five years, before dying of complications of the abortion procedure.

The toxin that the abortionist injected into her brain caused injuries that became apparent and progressively worse as Sarah grew. "For the first few months she seemed to be progressing normally, although she was blind," said Marykay Brown. "She had acute hearing, and was beginning to try to speak."

However, at about five or six months Sarah suffered a stroke from which she never fully recovered. Brown said she showed awareness of her environment and her family, but never spoke or walked.

"She recognized us and learned to smile," Mrs. Brown said.

Sarah also discovered a unique way of communicating. A machine monitored her at night and would sound an alarm if Sarah stopped breathing. "She learned that if she held her breath the monitor would go off," Brown said. "We would jump out of bed and she would be grinning at us. That was how she got attention."
I am in favor of banning third-trimester abortion, unless there is a serious threat to the life or health of the mother, or in cases of severe fetal abnormality. This would involve some difficult judgement calls, and I believe that judgement should best be made by the woman and her doctor. In rare cases a judge may have to get involved. How "severe" is severe?

I do not have all the answers and neither do the pro-life and pro-choice supporters.


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