A mother defended aborting her viable unborn daughter in an op-ed for the New York Times over the weekend.
Lyndsay Werking-Yip argued that her daughter, who was diagnosed with brain abnormalities, though not fatal ones, was better off dead than living a life that she believes would have been full of suffering.
“I am a grieving mother who protected her child from a life of pain and suffering,” the Manhattan mother wrote. “I am not a monster.”
Werking-Yip aborted her unborn daughter at 23 weeks and six days of pregnancy – when her daughter was viable and capable of feeling intense pain as she was being killed in the abortion.
“When people ask, ‘How could you?’” she wrote. “I reply that allowing her to live would have been a fate worse than death. Her diagnosis was not fatal, not incompatible with the bare mechanics of a living body. But it was incompatible with a fulfilling life. And that makes all the difference to me.”
Many people living with disabilities would disagree. Their lives are no less valuable because they have special needs or because they may suffer more than others. Every human being suffers at some point in life, some more than others; but their suffering, their abilities, the length of their lives do not make them any less deserving of human rights.
Werking-Yip and her husband, however, did not see their daughter’s life that way.
“My husband and I chose to end our child’s life,” she said. “Many imagine this as an impossible decision to make, one that would take hours of deliberation. I will be honest with you. You may not want to hear this, but the decision was obvious to us. Our child would not be given a life of pain and suffering. Instead, we would take her pain on as our own.”
She said they learned about the problems with their daughter in January during her 20-week pregnancy scan.
We watched in amazement and excitement as the tech showed us all the precious growing parts of our baby girl: her spine, left hand, right ankle, 10 fingers, 10 toes, lips, tiny little tush. After the appointment, I downloaded all of these images to my phone, where they are still stored. “She looks perfect,” the tech said. My heart swelled with pride when she added: “Your baby is being nice. She isn’t moving too much.”
Not until the end of the appointment did we get our first hint that all was not well. “I see something,” the tech said. “I’m not sure what it is. Come back tomorrow.”
What followed was a few weeks of agony: an amniocentesis, a fetal M.R.I., multiple ultrasounds. After much waiting, we learned the diagnosis: severe brain abnormalities. There was a small empty space where brain matter should have developed in our child’s frontal lobe. She also had agenesis of the corpus callosum, which meant that the middle structure joining left and right hemispheres hadn’t grown properly. And there was a third abnormality, a “rough” area of gray matter.
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Doctors told them that her condition was not fatal. She would be able to breathe on her own, but she would be cognitively impaired. Werking-Yip said the doctors did not know if she would be able to walk or talk or feed herself, and she likely would have seizures.
“What was certain was pain, confusion, frustration, isolation. Precisely how much? Exactly how severe? Only time would tell,” she wrote.
Rather than take that time and give their daughter the chance at life that she deserved, they chose to kill her. Werking-Yip openly admitted to “killing” her daughter, but she justified her decision as compassionate killing – euthanasia.
“I mourn my daughter’s absence every day. I whisper her name in the morning when I wake up. I breathe it out before I go to sleep,” she wrote.
Though she said she does not wish a similar situation on any family, she is fine with her decision.
“I know I made the best choice for my child. I do not regret it, and I will not hide it,” she concluded.
Werking-Yip’s argument is for euthanasia, mercy killing. It is the same argument used to justify killing born people who are supposedly suffering. Euthanasia is legal in several countries now, and assisted suicide is legal in several U.S. states.
Legalized killing, whether by abortion, euthanasia or any other form, is deadly discrimination. It treats some human beings as less valuable than others. It asserts that some people are worthy to live, are worth protecting, while others should die. This is not compassionate or loving.
That Werking-Yip wanted to prevent her daughter from suffering is natural, maternal. No mother wants to see their child suffer. But Werking-Yip’s solution was wrong, abhorrent even. Rather than value her daughter, alleviate her suffering, fight to end discrimination against her child and others with special needs, she chose to kill her daughter and deny her any chance to experience happiness, fulfillment and love.