Friday, June 09, 2006

Babies Aborted because they have club feet

I am pro-life. I don't normally post on abortion here, but this article just blew me away.

Here is the (link).

Some background. In England babies can be aborted if they have "serious medical conditions" This is being applied very broadly. At this point a baby can be aborted even if the child has an easily correctable medical condition. Club feet and cleft pallet included. From the article:

MORE than 20 babies have been aborted in advanced pregnancy because scans showed that they had club feet, a deformity readily corrected by surgery or physiotherapy.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics covering the years from 1996 to 2004, a further four babies were aborted because they had webbed fingers or extra digits, which are also corrected by simple surgery. All the terminations took place late in pregnancy, after 20 weeks.


News of the terminations has reignited the debate over how scanning and gene technology may enable the creation of “designer babies”. In 2002 it emerged that a baby had been aborted late — at 28 weeks — after scans found that it had a cleft palate, another readily corrected condition.

Some parents, doctors and charities are increasingly worried by what they see as a tendency to widen the definition of “serious handicap”. The handicap provision, which does not exist in most other countries, permits abortions to be carried out until birth. It was intended to save women from the trauma of giving birth to babies likely to die in infancy.

But, club foot? It can be fixed. The value of an entire life is being based on a condition that can be fixed. Also stated:

Club foot is one of the most common birth defects in Britain. About one in 1,000 babies is affected, meaning that 600 to 700 infants are born with the condition every year. It results in the feet pointing downwards and inwards, and in severe cases can cause foot deformity and a limp.

However, it is relatively easy to correct and in recent years techniques of splints, plaster casts and boots to set the foot into the correct position have replaced the need for surgery.Club foot is occasionally connected with serious but rare chromosomal defects, although specialists point out that these can also be screened out before birth with additional tests.

Despite the ease with which it can be treated, the perception that club foot is a serious birth defect has remained among some parents and doctors.

Not all parents are buying it:

“It was strongly suggested that we consider abortion after they found our baby had a club foot,” said David Wildgrove, 41, a computer programmer from Sheffield, whose son Alexander was born in 1996. “I was appalled. We resisted, the problem was treated and he now runs around and plays football with everyone else.”

Pippa Spriggs from Cambridge, whose son Isaac will celebrate his second birthday in July, was also dismayed when a scan halfway through the pregnancy revealed that her baby had the defect.

But not all agree:

Others take a different view and decide not to accept the risk of an imperfect baby. Sue Banton, who founded the group Steps for parents of children with foot disorders, was troubled that a home counties couple last year decided to terminate their baby, despite counselling to reassure them it would have a worthwhile life even with a section of foot missing.

“We gave them other families to talk to, but they just didn’t want to know. The baby was aborted just before the 25th week,” she said.

“It is terrible. I know lots of perfectly nice people with this condition, and you just can’t imagine them not being here.”

One doctor in the north of England who did not want to be named, said a recent case in his hospital had involved the discovery of a hand missing from a foetus scanned at 20 weeks. “The father did not want the pregnancy to proceed because of his perception that the child would not be able to do all the usual things like sport,” said the doctor.

You can't throw a football or play it's not worth you living. Your worth is determined by the physical, nothing else. This isn't about serious conditions. This does not threaten quality of life. This is about the perception of perfection.

That those who have difficulty are somehow less than able to be called human.

May our prayers be with all of the people who are not being given the accurate information in these cases. May they choose life and use the wonderous advances in medicine to have these children and then get the problem treated so they can be healthy and alive. May their value be judged on the fact that they simply and beautifully...just are themselves.

By the way, Kristi Yamaguchi the figure skater who won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 was born with club foot. So were football players Troy Aikman and Charles Woodson. Mia Hamm the soccer star was as well.


CMinor said...

Absolutely devastating. I read the paragraph about the baby without a hand to my husband; he commented that that father should have met three ladies against whom he recently fenced, all of whom had missing or vestigial hands.

It's criminal that medical professionals pressure parents. I'd be inclined to dump on Britain's horribly inefficient med service except that a young lady of my aquaintance whose daughter was born with Down Syndrome related the attitudes and pressure she had to deal with regarding heart surgery necessary to the child's survival.
But club foot, for Pete's sake?

Kathleen Parker, an Orlando Sun-Sentinel-based columnist, wrote on this recently--I linked her column on my blog. She cites a number of talented handicapped people.

Mandy said...

My 4 month old daughter was born with Club Feet. Had I known while I was pregnant, the thought of abortion would never have entered my mind. She is a precious child, revealing more of her personality every day, I can not imagine my life without her now. I have created a blog documenting out experiences with the correction of her feet.
If anyone is intersted. It makes me sick to known that babies are being killed "aborted" for a condition that my daughter has.

VIVA said...

My friend went for an ultra sound test. The doctor said that her baby is deformed.
She refused to have an abortion, and she gave birth to a healthy baby.
How many of the same cases can there be? (cases where the test or the doctor is wrong)