As readers of this blog know, I did a lot of work on early induction of fetuses with anamolies incompatible with life, otherwise known as EIFWAIL (scroll down to the entry of Feb 21 for links to all my pieces on the subject).
So when I got a link to a Catholic homeschooler's blog defending her decision to have this procedure done, it took me aback. I'm assuming from the tone of what she wrote that some of the things she received were written by people who spoke rather rudely to her condemning her decision. Such people should be ashamed.
However, I cannot pass this over nor write approvingly of her decision, no matter how difficult it was for her. I am not speaking in judgment of her, only writing based on what she has stated and what I learned in the course of my work on EIFWAIL.
When I talked with Drs. Thomas Hilgers and Byron Calhoun, both highly respected Ob/Gyn's and Calhoun a highly respected perinatologist, they made it plain to me that it is NEVER necessary to perform an early induction in the case of fetal anomalies, unless the mother's life is at risk. And even when the mother is at risk, that is something that can be closely monitored and taken care of when the need arises.
The important thing here is that the life of the child has to be given the utmost consideration. Anne argues that Sarah was going to die anyway. That is, of course, true. So are we all. But Sarah's life was not over yet. She still had life in the womb. Leaving "her in to cook," as Anne wrote, was not the issue. The issue was whether or not Sarah still had God-given life in her, life no one on this earth was entitled to take until her time had come. As I have said to other people, simply because we are all "going to die anyway" does not entitle me to shoot anyone on sight.
I can understand Anne's decision. All the medical experts she consulted were telling her it was the right thing to do. Indeed, I would say that they were probably expecting and setting up the atmosphere for her to do an early induction. Her reply to someone's comment that she did not want to see Sarah suffer indicates that they did a pretty good job at making that atmosphere permeate nearly all her thinking.
However, it seems to me from reading her blog that her heart told her something different. I only wish that someone who knew better could have been there to tell her that she could have handled it with the grace of Christ that comes from so many different sources -- her marriage, her friends, the sacraments, people who have been through it -- that she could have kept Sarah for as long as she was alive in the womb, that someone like St. Gianna Beretta Molla could intercede for her and give her inspiration to cling as much as possible to Christ's cross, no matter how difficult it is.
We all fail everyday in following Christ, so I make no judgment on Anne at all. But if only someone had told her that love for others, even to the point of sacrificing ourselves, is our highest good....