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The Duty To Abort?

Kate Ewald ORTLEF Director

Kate Ewald – ORTLEF Director

I’m sad to report that, lately, women and couples who are expecting a child are not just facing the pressure to abort when there is a problem with the health of the mother or preborn child. They are also now facing pressure when there is simply a possibility that something is wrong. And, incredibly, parents are sometimes facing a more intense kind of pressure if they hesitate to terminate the pregnancy. Should they decide against it, they are being told that they are bad parents for deciding to keep their child.

Since everyone closely connected to the mother or couple in that situation wants the best possible outcome for the pregnant couple and their child, I don’t think that these — I’ll call them “ influencers” — intentions are malicious. In fact, I think that they stem from a misguided desire to prevent something that will, in their view, cause future suffering.

Clearly, there are challenges in parenting a child with a disability. However, some influencers, in an effort to prevent suffering, are openly treating these mothers and fathers as morally reckless in order to sway their decision toward abortion. They believe the parents are also saddling themselves, their families, and their support network with the burden of caring for a disabled child who will be using resources that society could put to better use.

The mother and father are, in essence, charged with committing a triple offense by giving life to their child. As shocking as it sounds, even some healthcare workers aren’t just hinting or implying these things to parents, but are explicitly saying them to expectant women and couples. And, of course, the pressure is intensified when a pregnant mother is facing this situation alone.

Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith asserts that the pro-assisted suicide movement has come to view the “right to die” as the “duty to die.” Could it be that the influencers in the above situations believe that the “right to abort” has indeed become the “duty to abort?”

[A helpful website for parents facing this situation is www.benotafraid.net.]

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