When Meredith Isaksen defended aborting her unborn son late-term in a column for the New York Times, reader Jaci Greggs realized Isaksen could have been talking about her.
Isaksen wrote the piece in response to the comments about late-term abortions during the presidential debate last week. Republican Donald Trump exposed the cruel nature of late-term and partial-birth abortions, while Democrat Hillary Clinton defended them as medically necessary.
Isaksen said she had the abortion at 22 weeks of pregnancy, just one week after doctors detected a potentially fatal heart problem in her unborn son. She said half of her baby’s heart was missing, and doctors said he probably would not survive birth. If he would have survived, Isaksen said her son would have needed a heart transplant.
Like Isaksen’s son, Greggs said she also had congenital heart defects as a baby. Writing for The Federalist, Greggs said she had two major surgeries to repair the problems with her heart, and she will need medical care to manage her heart issues for the rest of her life.
She acknowledge that Isaksen was facing a difficult situation. No parent wants their child to suffer, and congenital heart defects are serious problems. Isaksen said she did not want her unborn son to suffer, and she also was concerned about having less time for her 2-year-old son and her marriage if her unborn son did survive.
“But abortion should not be the default solution to those concerns,” Greggs responded.
Isaksen doesn’t name her son’s diagnosis, but based on her description, it sounds like he had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect common in boys.
There are grown men today with HLHS she could talk to, and who could help her understand that perinatal, neonatal, and special-needs care has come a long way since we were born. CHD does not have a 100 percent survivability rate, but the odds are significantly better than they were 30 years ago. More than 85 percent of children with CHD live to adulthood. There are an estimated 2 to 3 million people living with CHD in the United States alone. I wish Isaksen had taken a little more time and reached out to some of us.
Later, Greggs added:
Isaksen writes, “Parenthood sometimes means we sacrifice our own dreams so our children don’t have to suffer.” She’s absolutely correct. That also involves sacrificing our dreams of “normal” children and accepting them the way they are, rather than putting them through the suffering of a late-term abortion.
The unfortunate truth is that Isaksen’s son still suffered. Pre-born babies suffer in late-term abortion. He might have suffered an early death after birth, too. But I am sorry that Isaksen, her husband, and her firstborn son did not get to mingle that loss with the beauty of knowing their Lev in person, for however long a time they could.
Greggs is right. An abortion does not prevent a child from suffering; according to scientific evidence, an abortion can cause a child to suffer a painful, barbaric death. Strong scientific evidence shows that unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks or even earlier.
Human suffering brings out a deep sense of compassion and urgency to act in most people. But there are some in our culture today who are twisting these innate human desires to push an agenda that allows human beings to intentionally kill the weakest and most vulnerable among us.
Instead of pushing abortion, society should be offering families like the Isaksens the best medical care, pain management and support available. Every baby who is suffering from medical issues, whether inside or outside of the womb, deserves to be treated with the same dignity, care and respect.