In the British Medical Journal, I read an article called Destined to Die, an article by a woman who was told that her unborn baby had trisomy 18, a condition which means that the babies who suffer it will not live for long outside the womb.
Pictured above is the title of a blog by a family who in 2010 started a blog raising awareness of their daughter, Lily, and the condition of trisomy 18, asking readers to pray for her. She was born on 4th July 2010 and died on December 15, 2011. The Pray for Lily blog is also a very moving account of a family's love for their child, unborn and born.
In the BMA journal piece, what really comes across is the 'raw love' as the doctor notes, of a mother for her unborn child. The lady is called Pauline Thiele and I for one was impressed with her and impressed that the BMJ actually published her account of her experience with the medical profession. What also comes across is the medical profession's astonishment that the mother showed no hesitation when asked if she wanted a 'termination'. The question is: how have we come to a point where a mother's refusal to turn down an abortion on an unborn child with a fetal condition is shocking?
What troubles me is that in the United Kingdom some of the leading people at the forefront of genetics, medical research and those at the scientific 'cutting edge' are so caught up in trying to 'eradicate' diseases, looking at genetic mutations and how they can be 'avoided', that they're not so interested in meeting the reality of existence for normal human beings.
There is obviously a necessary desire among the medical and scientific community, certainly among the scientific elite such as, say Professor Steve Jones (formerly of UCLU), to launch a war on disease. Aside from the closed, hidden and dark world of human 'embryology', there is an obvious hatred of disease. None of us exactly like diseases. The problem is that the scientific men of the world have a difficult time separating the 'disease' from the 'disease-carrier'. So, for instance, a scan of a mother's womb would reveal to medical experts that the fetus has trisomy 18. Then, when a mother says that while she knows that the disease will result in a child who will not live too long, she doesn't wish to abort, they are flabberghasted.
See, what comes across in the 'Destined to Die' article, mostly written by the mother herself, is the 'raw love' that drives a mother to love this unborn baby with every fibre of her being, to the very end, no matter what it costs her in tears and heartache. And its pretty obvious that when a mother shows 'raw love' to an unborn child, that 'love thing' receives mixed responses from the big-brained medical 'experts' with huge brains but often 'heart impairments'.
The medical and scientific community have always had a problem with miracles, we know, but perhaps modern day miracles aren't necessarily about cures and healings. Sometimes they are about something as simple and as beautiful as love - maternal love - the simple and profound love of a mother for her unborn child.
Quite simply, what the article demonstrates quite powerfully is that love is what the Church says it is, in as much as She proclaims that there is nothing so powerful as love. Apart, that is from God, but then God is Love Itself. What, very often, the most intelligent, scientific and empirical people in the world just don't get is that it is love that makes us truly human. Obviously, the vast majority of the medical profession find love actually quite intimidating. Love is not what society was told it was in the 1960s. It isn't 'free'. It hurts.
Men of modern science and medicine, so many of them at any rate, don't stop to count the cost, the very real cost to humanity that their effort to eradicate trisomy 18, downs syndrome or cleft palate or any medical condition which could make a baby or fetus less than perfect, though, of course, babies are always perfect in their mothers eyes.
The cost is that these men of science deprive the World of the very raw and beautiful power of love. They forget that they will never eradicate downs syndrome, cleft palate, or trisomy 18. They will most likely only ever eradicate the babies with these conditions. They are like the American and English eugenicists who wanted to eradicate poverty in the 1920s. The only way they felt you could do it was by decreasing the number of poor people. That is, by killing poor and often unborn black babies or throwing 'birth control' at poor, often black mothers. Modern day men of science, men like Professor Steve Jones, live in a mythical genetic utopia in their minds, divorced from real life human bonds of love - even the simplest, like the love of a mother for a child no matter what his or her 'defects'. These modern men of science think their war is against disease, when it is obvious to those who look at their research and the statistics on abortion for 'fetal abnormalities' that their war is not against disease, but against people with diseases.
People like Pauline Thiele defy the scientific and medical orthodoxy that assumes that all mothers with babies who suffer fatal diseases which mean their life on earth, if at all, will be brief, should not see the light of day. Not only is this community defied by women of such courage and natural compassion, but the simple truth is that many of them don't even understand why someone would want to love their baby unconditionally until their baby's natural death. That's the really frightening thing! The thought seems not to enter their heads! They key quote in the Destined to Die article which really horrifies me is the response of the hospital when Pauline tells them she wants the hospital to deliver the baby.
'With new awareness I drove to the hospital to see if I could receive some support from the paediatrics department. Stopping at the midwifery ward first I was dismayed that my first visit had not been communicated to them. To me this spoke volumes about what some people thought of my son, but I loved him to my very core and his life was just as important to me as that of any other baby. Surprised by my news the midwife told me that the hospital didn’t actually provide care for babies with spina bifida.'
Er...What are hospitals for, again?
Many doctors and perhaps a proportion of nurses too nowadays obviously have their heads so far up their own behinds that they forget the simple truth that none of us are perfect, all of us have in our lives various conditions and that we are all 'destined to die'. The modern day scientific and medical profession are beyond parody - many are maniacal professors from old Hollywood movies seeking the Elixir of Life. They will never find it. Not in a petri dish at any rate. May God bless Pauline Thiele and indeed all mothers who show such tender love to their unborn children. What a saddening thing it is that these women of courage should be considered exceptional.