April 22, 2007

Born Alive But Not For Long


Every so often the news, which is built around a lot of numbers, delivers a number that makes your happy world come to a screeching halt. A day ago that number was: One in 30 aborted foetuses lives.

In my line of work I scan a lot of headlines. Headline. Check. Next. Headline. OK. Next. Headline.... One in 30 aborted foetuses lives. Full stop. This requires closer reading:

One in 30 foetuses aborted for medical reasons is born alive, a 10-year study at 20 UK hospitals has found. Most of these babies with disabilities were born between 20 and 24 weeks of pregnancy and all lived for no more than a few hours..... About 190,000 abortions take place annually in England and Wales. This is nearly a quarter of all pregnancies. Most abortions are carried out on "healthy" foetuses for social reasons. The study, however, looked at the outcomes of 3,189 abortions performed between 1995 and 2004 because the baby had a disability of some kind. It showed that 102 - or around one in 30 - were born alive.

"Medical reasons." "With Disabilities." "All lived for no more than a few hours." "Most abortions carried out for 'social reasons.'" "102 were born alive."

A story reporting a fact that, as usual with such stories, creates more questions than answers....

Disabled babies aborted for unstated medical reasons -- babies that one assumes were, because of the 'medical reasons' less viable than healthy aborted babies. Still, in 102 cases, they were alive when aborted. Then they died after "no more than a few hours." Did they die because attempts to save them failed or did they die because they were simply allowed to die -- much in the same way that the original eugenicists, the Spartans, exposed unworthy or unwanted infants. Given the ability of medical science to keep very premature but wanted babies alive, one has to think it is most likely the latter.

A yet more disturbing thought is that, if one in 30 aborted babies with disabilities can live, how many -- aborted at about the same time in a term, and without disabilities -- are also aborted alive and simply left to die or put to death.

In the same article, Julia Millington of the pro-life group Alive and Kicking Campaign, says "It is difficult to comprehend the number of babies, throughout the country, left fighting for their lives." Difficult is hardly the world for that thought.

In England there are 190,000 abortions a year. In the United States, "A total of 848,163 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC for 2003 from 49 reporting areas." Abortion Surveillance --- United States, 2003. Most of those were first trimester abortions, but many were not. Out of those "many" how many were aborted as viable humans and then allowed to die? We will never know, but you can be sure that it was a number much greater than 102. The US has a habit of outdoing the UK and why should the race to perfect infanticide leave us behind - "We're number one!"

This is not to say the abortionists of England are "inhumane. Far from it: "If the baby is born alive, palliative care should be provided till the baby dies."

I am especially nauseated by the bland politeness of the term "palliative care" which parses out as " Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure." Would it be that the disease is "life" in this case?

Perhaps not according to the painfully "balanced" article that also informs us

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, stressed that termination due to a diagnosis of a severe or life-threatening disability in the fetus was rare. "It would be wrong to imply from this retrospective study, that if women undergo a medical induction abortion at under 24 weeks' gestation for reasons aside from foetal abnormality, that this is at all likely to result in a live birth. "Doctors working in abortion care have for some years now followed the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist's guidance, that the foetal heart is stopped before a medical induction abortion around 22 weeks' gestation."
Again the phrases that leap out are "Doctors working in abortion care..." and "the foetal heart is stopped before." "Abortion CARE?" Is that a new medical specialty? As in, caring for living abortions until they die? The mind is pushed beyond its capacity for bogglement at this. Seldom have two words come together in a more perverse fashion, and yet Furedi just babbles it up with no awareness at all. What can one say of something that has dehumanized its practitioners so deeply?

Infanticide is, of course, an old virus that infects and kills the human soul. It was a hallmark of pre-Christian societies and it never really vanished. It was a widely practiced sport in the Nazi death camps and is certainly enjoying a popular and rabid revival in our time as well. Last week the Supreme Court put a stop to one of the most disgusting modern forms, the aptly named "Partial Birth Abortion." This shows there is still some slight, residual, modicum of shame left in our society, even though the profiteers and professionals of the abortion industry were quick to attack the decision that threatened their paychecks and donation stream.

One hundred and two disabled babies were aborted alive in Britain. Then left to die. How many others that were not disabled? Not studied. Not known. Not ever to be known. Just aborted alive and trashed. No name. No record. Down the memory hole.

Long ago, when I was in my early teens, I recall reading the memoirs of a Jewish woman who was forced, in the camps, to take the bodies of the dead and sometimes still living babies born of Jewish mothers in those camps and toss them into the ovens. I have not read that book in over 40 years but one thing she said, after being rescued from that endless hell, has stuck with me since the moment I read it: "Of all those babies we destroyed, how many were Einsteins, how many were Mozarts?" How many? We will never know, but still -- after all these years -- I can't get her question out of my head.

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Posted by Vanderleun at April 22, 2007 1:41 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

There are two parts in here -

On the general topic of third trimester abortion you will not find me sitting on the fence. Third trimester abortion - for any reason - is nothing less than the murder of a viable child given the normal probabilities of deformity and genetic mutation.

This is very clear in my mind because even in NZ with its "third world" health system premature babes are brought to full recovery from 23 weeks gestation. There is a study being undertaken at present on the survival rates and subsequent health problems of those born 23 to 25 weeks gestation. After 25 weeks the survivability is better than 95% and reaches "normal" at 27 weeks.

The second part is the threat of eugenics. I use our next door neighbours as an example here. Their third son was born with major deformities and disabilities and was only just out of "vegetative state" on standard measures. The doctors suggested to the family that the best and most humane solution was to not feed him but to let nature take its course. The family refused and Brian survived until just before his sixteenth birthday. During that time he underwent at least nine major operations to relieve or partially correct some of his life-threatening problems including three for installation and renewal of brain fluid spinal column shunts, and two to correct bowel deformities. Brian never showed any hint of consciousness other than the ability to react to light and warmth. I can only say that I am so glad I did not have to make the decisions that family had to face.

But what about you? Those who decry the "palliative care only" for disabled babies(and no one knows what level of disability is being considered) might like to answer how they would react to having a child with Brian's disabilities. And those who believe in "keep him alive at all costs" might like to add their thoughts on the quality of life he experienced.

Posted by: probligo at April 22, 2007 5:54 PM

I'm sure you agree (well, I'm betting that you will agree) that whether the murdered baby would have been a Mozart or an Einstein is not what makes the murder so heinous.

I attended a conference on autism a decade or so ago. A physician spoke of how they would soon be able to determine whether a fetus was likely to become a child with autism. The parents could then abort it.

A young man in the audience asked, "Are you saying it would have been better if I had been aborted?"

What goes on that the physician's comments do NOT instantly provoke in him the moral idiocy that the man with autisim immediately gets?

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at April 22, 2007 6:34 PM

I must admit I'm puzzled that you are drinking the koolaid on this one, Gerard.

I work with a lot of early stage growth companies. Most of them will fail, frankly, but some will exceed all expectations. All of them are based on great ideas.

Some of them are concerned about disclosing their "secret sauce"; the competitive advatage that underlies their market potential. I advise them thus: "Ideas are shit; execution is everything."

If we have learned anything in the last few decades (and that's still up for grabs) it is that even those with genetic and environmental advantages may return but niggardly yields on those investments.

The sad truth is that those aborted foeti, notwithstanding the speculative promise of their DNA, are never more than protoplasm, and their demise, if it can be called such, is never other than what they would encounter if permitted to live for three score and ten.

To suppose otherwise would require the querent to believe in the notion of the soul; that which cannot be proven. In short, someone suffering from a disorder.

Posted by: Alan Chamberlain at April 22, 2007 9:25 PM

Alan Chamberlain writes...

"The sad truth is that those aborted foeti, notwithstanding the speculative promise of their DNA, are never more than protoplasm, and their demise, if it can be called such, is never other than what they would encounter if permitted to live for three score and ten.

"To suppose otherwise would require the querent to believe in the notion of the soul; that which cannot be proven. In short, someone suffering from a disorder."

It seems to me, Mr. Chamberlain, that there is no logical reason why your argument applies only to foeti. If it is no great loss to abort a fetus merely because its value lies in the future, then there is no reason why YOU should not be aborted as well. The only value YOU can have can only be in the future.

In addition, belief in the existence of a soul could just as easily justify abortion, since the soul goes on without the aborted body. Therefore, persons who believe that there is no soul ought logically to give more value to what does exist--namely, the living body.

Finally, when you write, "those aborted foeti, notwithstanding the speculative promise of their DNA, are never more than protoplasm...," I wonder how exactly you know that. Isn't our inability to know whether there is more than merely protoplasm the main reason that we can take opposite sides on abortion? You do not really HAVE an argument; you merely have a side.

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at April 22, 2007 10:50 PM

It's not clear but I believe that Mrs Furedi says that the policy is to kill the babies by stopping their heart in the womb before inducing an abortion
so I don't think there are all that many live abortions of normal babies

Posted by: konshtok at April 23, 2007 1:23 AM

What of the report itself? News stories, after all, do tend to leave out pesky things such as details.

How many of them had no brain? Or a badly functioning one? How many had organs on the outside? How many were missing organs? How many were aborted because the mother decided it simply not the time to have a child? How many were aborted because the father decided it was not time to have a child?

There are always questions surrounding any decision. And there are always those who will not be satisfied to the answer to any one question.

That aside, there is one question one should consider where abortion is concerned; does it harm society? Does it really? Theft, homicide, driving drunk, they all impact society. Abortion? Protest all you want, but the death of a fetus impacts few. In the case of some people it affects no one.

That's the thing we forget about our laws; our rules and moral codes. Morality is for the benefit of the society, not for the benefit of the individual living therein. In so far as a stable society benefits the individual, then morality is to the individual's benefit, but only at a remove.

More thinking and composing to do here. I'll report back on the results.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at April 23, 2007 2:31 AM

Geez. What a way to start the day with a very heavy dose of reality. I guess there's nothing more I need to add, but thank you?

Posted by: Gnawbone Jack at April 23, 2007 6:13 AM

I used to be a fence sitter on this issue, but age brings wisdom. I believe the Bible is an owners/operators manual for this life. What Jesus says about those who hurt children gets my full attention.

Posted by: dave harris at April 23, 2007 6:47 AM

A couple of thoughts.

First, with respect to a Mozart or Einstein being destroyed in the ovens, I say it was equally tragic were it a baker, or candlestick maker.

In the extreme feminist outrage over the ban on PBA being upheld, I am struck by how a group of women who purport to be adult,like children, demand there be no limits on any aspect of their sexuality and reproductive lives. Why not?

I have to admit in my liberal days I was pro-abortion and chanted endlessly about a woman's right to choose. Then decades later, I began to come to my senses. I realized that there are limits in every other aspect of my life---money, eating, drinking, sleep, physical abilities and relationships-- so then, why shouldn't there be limits on how long I have to do away with a fetus developing inside me?

Extreme feminists want no limits, by God, on any aspect of this.

And speaking of choosing, I also came to the realization that 99.99% of the time, a woman does have the right to choose--always on the front end. That seldom she doesn't and waits to choose on the back end after she's pregnant--which is really to re-choose---goes in one ear and out the other. For this she then whines that she got her right to endlessly choose snatched away from her by a big, bad group of men who are dolts and dummies. Boo hoo!

Abortion in all stages has become an acceptable means of birth control for the lazy who just can't be bothered on the front end. Choosing should never get in the way of a woman's reproductive recreation, mind you.

And so, thankfully, some limits have been set, and the queen of feminism, Hillary Clinton, is outraged, as she seeks to continue enabling her feminst flock to spiral deeper into immature and victim thinking. Never does it enter these women's minds that if they are victims, it's of their own design.

Thank God, some small degree of sanity has set and held a modicum of limitation, but only at an extreme point, on this slippery slope we're on.

Posted by: Webutante at April 23, 2007 8:05 AM

Mr. Chamberlain - you actually do not see the difference between the value of a human life and the value of a business? I do hope you are not a parent; what would you say to a child who yields a "niggardly result" on your "investment?" Or would you just perform a very late-term abortion and start over? It's going to die at some point anyway, right?
For that matter, what do you do when you yourself fall short of your expectations, as any human must sometimes? Reduce yourself to you component protoplasm?

Posted by: Julie at April 23, 2007 10:51 AM

It seems that most abortions performed these days are nothing more than convenient birth control. Alot of selfish people are grown up enough and mature enough to have a good time, and of course...lots of sex... but they don't want to be inconvenienced with the result of said sex.


Just imagine how many Mozarts and Einsteins have been lost due to people not wanting to be inconvenienced. Think of how much creativity will never be realized. The people who support abortion haven't figured out they are supporting the death of future tax payers.

Maybe Mr. Chamnerlain could propose trading fetus and/or abortion futures on the stock market. According to his view of things it IS just money and future possible (though unrealized) value after all...isn't it?

Posted by: gabrielpicasso at April 23, 2007 3:40 PM

"how many were Einsteins, how many were Mozarts?"

Statistically, about as many as there were Hitlers, Dahmers, and Chos.

There are persuasive arguments against abortion. I don't find this to be one of them.

Posted by: Harvey at April 24, 2007 11:23 AM

We'll leave Hitler out of the equation just this once Harvey.

I'll see your Dahlmer and Cho and raise you Einstein and Mozart.

I'm pretty sure which is the winning hand.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at April 24, 2007 12:29 PM

G-d gives life and only G-d, or man in the extremes of war or to directly and with no alternatives save the life of an innocent, may take life. To cheat the "defective" of their chance to live, or to provide convenience or a better funded lifestyle for a woman, at the cost of an innocent life, is not a choice men may make without mortal and moral peril.

The choice not to become a parent is one that should properly be made before sex, not at some days, weeks or months afterwards. The cautious way, the way that respects life, is better for all concerned. If you and the person you are considering sex with do not wish to become parents together and spend the next 20 years cooperating for the good of your potential offspring, then get sterilized or don't have sex.

It's not easy, but it is simple; and it lets G-d work in you as he intends.

Posted by: askmom at April 24, 2007 12:42 PM


If things worked perfectly, then you would have a point. But things don't work perfectly. Even the most effective contraceptive fails on occasion. Even if contraceptives were 100% effective, circumstances can change things. For often sex is a spontaneous thing not under the participant's control. That is, not everybody thinks about what they're doing.

That aside, there are times when the choice comes down to losing the child, or losing mother and child. And there's not a thing you can do about it. When you have a situation where the pregnant woman is bound and determined to end the pregnancy, and is willing to risk her life to do so, for all that she's in no real danger she might as well be.

I agree, it's not a rational decision. But not everything we do is done for rational reasons. Better the woman survive, and possibly have a child later, than she die and any future contributions by her be lost.

As with all our actions ultimately it is a matter between the actor and God. It becomes our concern when it threatens the stability of society as we know it. Murder and tax evasion threaten that stability. To be blunt, abortion does not. If 99% of all viable pregnancies ended in abortion, that would be one thing. But since that's nowhere near the case, our society remains viable.

About the only thing I can think of that might end elective abortions would be education. Informing our girls about how pregnancies occur, what happens during pregnancy and why they happen, and how to monitor their health and that of the child's during the pregnancy. And by making effective contraception available to anyone regardless of age. (Yes, it would mean 13 year old boys making toys out of rubbers, but 13 year old boys will listen to a smack upside the head and the admonition to, "Cut it out!"

The sad fact is, so long as we remain as we are now, the situation is not going to change. We're primates, and damn clever primates at that. We inherited certain behaviors from our distant ancestors, and it'll be our distant descendents who'll gain new behaviors better suited to our new circumstances. But don't assume those new behaviors will necessarily be what you think they should be.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at April 24, 2007 11:36 PM

In 1977 Gianna Jessen survived an abortion performed on her 17 year old mother. She survived eighteen hours in the womb in a saline solution that burned her inside and out, deprived her of oxygen and left her with cerebral palsy. Luckily for her the abortionist was not yet on duty when she was born and an attending nurse called an ambulance and rushed her to a hospital. Today Gianna, against all odds, walks, runs in marathons and sings professionally. Please read her testimony to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution: http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/jessen.php

Posted by: Mary B. at April 25, 2007 7:34 AM

alan kellogg:

Yes, it's *because* things don't work perfectly 100% of the time that those engaging in "reproductive recreation" should THINK before they act...or pay the price. My daughters were told the facts of life and the consequences of sex in this manner: "If you are ready to be a parent, you're ready for sex. Otherwise, you'd better be very careful, or realize that no matter *what* you do, there's always the possibility you'll get pregnant." They've been pretty smart about the men they choose since. Abortion is no excuse for carelessness, and it's certainly a poor form of birth control.

Posted by: Stan Smith at April 25, 2007 3:47 PM

By an amazing coincidence, I too entitled a post "Born Alive But Not For Long" on my old site 3 years ago (now offline). So I searched for it in my archives, and found that it applies here too, this is the beginning:

Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN to U. S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee, regarding "Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2001":

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Down's syndrome baby who was born alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about ½ pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet that I couldn't tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken.

If that passage doesn't just make you want to cry, you are tougher than I am.

"Live Birth Abortion" is the practice of introducing medication that causes the cervix to open prematurely, and leads to the premature birth of a baby before it can sustain itself. Then the baby is left to die by itself on a cold table in an unattended room. Sometimes they are accidentally tossed in the garbage, though when one leaves premature babies just laying about, until they die, they are already garbage at that point, are they not?

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at April 26, 2007 2:21 PM
>those engaging in "reproductive recreation" should THINK before they act...or pay the price.

So, in the end, it's all about retribution, isn't it?

A life is made of what is achieved, not what is expected.

Greatness is that which we have in wonder found lies between the "promise of his greener days and these he masters now".

Posted by: Alan Chamberlain at April 27, 2007 10:03 PM

Lets just look at birth control and abortions effects on society, shall we?

With the advent of birth control we were taught that fertility was a disease to be treated. Sex must be allowed and women have a right to choose just when they want to have children irregardless of when they want to have sex.

Abortion then taught us as a society that sex was more valuable and necessary than life and that children were disposable.

Child abuse has risen and is continuing to rise:

Date Total Number
1973 167,000
1979 711,142
1993 1,057,255
1996 1,220,000

U.S. Dept. H.H.S., Nat. Center of Child Abuse,Child Maltreatment 259

Also, another ironic twist, studies are coming out linking birth control for women to non-reversible hormone problems that cause sexual problems. Because birth control pills are so commonly used, it is really hard to know for sure what all of the long lasting effects are.

So, since children are our future and we are killing that at an incredible rate, I would say it is an issue that affects all members and matters in society.

Posted by: Sheena at October 5, 2007 9:34 AM
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