Abortion vs. Premature Birth: Why My Wife and I Chose Life

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 4, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion vs. Premature Birth: Why My Wife and I Chose Life Email this article
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by Robert Cox
December 4, 2006

LifeNews.com Note: Robert Cox is a member of The Examiner Blog Board of Contributors and is president of the Media Bloggers Association.

It has been more than 15 years since I almost killed my son.

In my defense, all the doctors agreed it was the sensible thing to do. My wife did not want to go through with the abortion, so it fell to me to convince my wife to sign a medical consent form so her doctors could proceed with the abortion that would kill my son.

It all began 25 weeks into my wife’s second pregnancy. Our first child, a girl, had been born less then two years before and there was no reason to expect complications with our second child. When my wife felt slight contractions, she insisted on going to the local hospital for observation. There, she was put on “bed rest” but, over the next several days, her doctors repeatedly dismissed my wife’s concern that she was in premature labor.

After three days and nights at her bedside, one of my wife’s doctors stopped by her room to tell us that they were now sure the whole thing had been a “false alarm” and that she was being sent home. The doctor suggested that I take a break for a few hours — go home, clean myself up and get something to eat — and that they would have my wife ready for discharge when I got back.

Several hours later, when I walked back into the maternity ward, a doctor I had never met approached me with a somber look on his face and said, “We can’t save the baby, but we think we can save your wife.”

Puzzled, I assured the doctor he must have me confused with someone else because my wife was being discharged. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the other doctor from earlier in the day and reached up to point her out. Seeing me motioning towards her, the color drained from her face. She quickly broke eye contact, opened a door and disappeared into a small closet.

Now, thoroughly confused, I listened in disbelief as this stranger ticked off the bad news: My wife was in premature labor, she was hemorrhaging badly, the baby was no longer viable, even if the baby survived the birth the hospital did not have a pediatric ICU to care for him, even if he lived he would likely end up with brain damage, blindness and other complications. The doctor was emphatic: The pregnancy needed to be terminated.

When I was finally taken to see my wife, I found her in tears, pleading with a nurse, “Don’t let them take my baby.”

Raised a Catholic, I was always vaguely opposed to abortion, but now there was no avoiding the issue. The doctors were demanding an answer, all the while whispering in my ear that they were prepared to proceed without a consent form. Under the circumstances, you could hardly blame me for agreeing to an abortion.

But I didn’t. My son didn’t die that day.

I took my wife by the hand, looked her in the eye and told her: “We’re getting out of here.” I turned to the doctor and said, “You’re fired.” The doctor muttered something about my not being competent to make a decision and stalked off saying that he was going to proceed on his own authority. I chased after him, grabbed his arm and told him in no uncertain terms, “If you proceed I am going to sue … if you don’t get my wife to a hospital with a pediatric ICU immediately, I am going to own your practice, your house and your dog.”

Five minutes later, my wife and I were in an ambulance on our way to the nearest tertiary care facility and 12 hours later my son was born weighing a pound and a half.

It was only years later that my wife told me what had happened when I left the hospital that day. As soon as I walked out, the doctors began pressuring my wife to have an abortion. They told her they had come to realize — too late — that my wife was in premature labor. Afraid to move her and fearing a lawsuit, they decided to cover up their error by browbeating my wife into agreeing to an abortion while assuring her that they would tell me she had miscarried.

Today my son is 15 years old. He had a tough first few years, but has had no lasting medical problems related to his premature birth. He is now an honor student at our local high school.

And while we argue from time to time, I am fairly certain he is glad I did not go along those doctors who wanted to kill him all those years ago.