Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Neonatologist Gives the Scoop on Late-Term Abortions

Keith Barrington is a neonatologist at Ste. Justine Hospital in Montreal, and he wrote a post about a debate regarding what to do with "severely impaired babies". There's a lot there to digest, but this really caught my attention:

The majority of terminations for fetal anomaly are of fetuses who could easily survive and have long happy lives, such as trisomy 21, or surgically treatable lesions. Termination for an ‘impairment’ that is severely life limiting and predicts a miserable life, if we could even do that, is rare.

And in the comments, responding to one's experience advocating for families of children with spina bifida:

Most families faced with the diagnosis have little idea of the realities of the lives of children and families with spina bifida, nor of the range of possibilities that there are; and most professionals also, in my experience, paint an excessively negative picture of the impairments and disabilities of affected children. Indeed the way we talk about these issues (not just for spina bifida) tends to be that we talk about disabilities, and not about abilities. Your experience that parents are advised to terminate their pregnancies is I think extremely common, and the ‘advice’ is often repeated at every antenatal visit, as some caregivers have difficulty accepting that a well-informed family can make a reasonable decision to continue the pregnancy. Often the family is better informed than some of the medical team!