Here’s how The New York Times makes its position clear on abortion, and specifically on the House of Representatives passage of a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks: It publishes an op-ed written by a woman who shares her experience “in the hope that our leaders will be more responsible and compassionate when they weigh what it means to truly value the lives of women and children.”
Her story, titled “My Abortion, at 23 Weeks,” is sad, tragic, heart-wrenching. It would be impossible not to be sympathetic about the situation she faced. Emotions aside, however, it’s still not an argument for abortion, late-term or otherwise.
When Judy Nicastro was 22 weeks pregnant with twins, an ultrasound and an MRI revealed that one of the babies had a herniated diaphragm. His organs were pushed up into his chest and not developing properly. She writes that she and her husband “desperately wanted this child and would do whatever we could to save him, if his hernia was fixable and he could have a good quality of life.” They were told that if their boy survived birth, “he would be on oxygen and other life supports for a long time. The thought of hearing him gasp for air and linger in pain was our nightmare.” They were advised about surgical interventions, but when the pediatrician told them that termination was a “reasonable option,” they chose that. “The next day, at a clinic near my home,” Nicastro writes, “I felt my son’s budding life end as a doctor inserted a needle through my belly into his tiny heart…As horrible as that moment was – it will live with me forever – I am grateful. We made sure our son was not born only to suffer.” By so doing, she adds that there was a risk of losing the other twin.
Dr. John Bruchalski is a practicing ob/gyn in northern Virginia and has seen cases of diaphragmatic hernia. “Some cases are bad. Some are catastrophic,” he told me. Some babies born with the condition pass away very quickly after birth. Some survive, some do well, and some are compromised for life. And depending on the specific situation, there are surgical options after birth, as Nicastro was told.
But to be clear, according to Dr. Bruchalski, there is no danger in such cases to the mother’s life or the other twin’s life.
These parents made a choice to abort their baby boy. They didn’t want to take the chance that he might not have a “good quality of life,” so they killed him.
There’s no argument here for “medical necessity.” Only that, as Nicastro writes, “until a child is viable outside the womb, these decisions belong with the mother.”