Who Decides the Value of Life?

Who Decides the Value of Life?

Any Hospital. Any Town. USA

A couple of weeks ago I was called to the hospital for baby Delila. Her mother’s pregnancy had been progressing nicely and had just about reached the 6-month mark. Family and friends had just thrown a baby shower in anticipation of Delila’s arrival.  But then, out of nowhere, pre-term labor started. Delila’s mom had been in the hospital on complete bedrest for more than a week while the doctors tried to stop the baby from being born too soon. Sadly, they were unable to. Delila was born at just 23 weeks gestation – she did not survive. As a volunteer photographer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (nilmdts.org), it was my job to capture some images of the baby as a lasting memorial to her life.

There is no greater sorrow than the loss of a child. But to make matters worse, Delila was born to a surrogate mother. Her natural parents live in Germany and were not there for the birth. They would never see her or hold her. I really wanted to create some beautiful images of Delila so her Mommy and Daddy would have something to remember her by. A few photos to help them hold on to the reality that their baby girl lived…if only for 23 weeks in utero.

I was at my computer editing the images last week while listening to the news. The big news that day was the new legislation in Virginia regarding late term abortions. I was horrified listening to people discuss a woman’s “right” to literally kill her unborn child up to and even beyond their live birth. The Governor of Virginia followed up on the controversy by defending the practice of late term abortion. He tried his best to persuade listeners to believe this was an honorable, humane and medically defensible practice.

There I was editing images of a 6-month-old fetus who was so deeply wanted, her parents paid another woman in another country to carry her and give her birth. I imagine they are still weeping over her loss as I write. And while I was editing those images, I was listening to people casually and callously justifying the brutal murder and dismemberment of a fetus even older than tiny Delila.

The juxtaposition literally made me weep.

I sat back in my chair and just looked at the images on my screen. Delila was 1lb 6oz and 12 inches long. It’s hard to imagine a baby that tiny isn’t it? Believe me when I tell you she was perfect. She was small enough to easily hold in one hand, but she was, in fact, a fully formed baby with all the requisite parts. She had hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. A perfect cupid’s bow on her itty-bitty lips. Her hands were the size of my thumbnail and her feet nearly as long as my pinky. She was a tiny baby. But she was a person as real as you or me.

I thought about another preemie I’d photographed in the NICU a few months ago. She was born at 25 weeks. A gestational age at which medical measures to save her could be employed. She’d been in the NICU since the day she was born five weeks earlier. At no small expense, doctors and nurses had tended her around the clock and tried everything humanly possible to keep her alive. Her parents sat by her crib all day and night whispering words of love and encouragement to their daughter. For a time, they were filled with hope their tiny girl would survive.  Sadly, on the day I met them, they had been forced to accept the sad reality – their baby girl was going to die.

How is it possible that one tiny baby is so valuable that no expense is spared to save her life, while just down the hall in the same hospital, another baby of the same gestational age may be deemed so worthless it is literally cut into pieces and thrown away?

How are we justifying this?

Once upon a time we didn’t know very much about the developing fetus. Once upon a time we were legitimately ignorant. We didn’t know they could feel pain. We didn’t know they took the form of an actual baby so early in the pregnancy. We didn’t know sentience was possible before birth. But we can’t claim to be ignorant anymore. We can actually watch videos of unborn babies that show them smiling for goodness sake (see links at the end of this post). They can be seen sucking their thumbs and rubbing their eyes. It’s even possible to watch a fetus as young as 12 weeks old trying desperately to escape being aborted by moving away from the sharp instruments that have invaded the womb to bring about it’s death.

Third wave feminist claim it’s their body and their choice. Really? Watch an ultrasound video of an abortion. It isn’t the woman’s body at stake.

Our choices as human beings aren’t always sacrosanct; nor should they be.

A baby’s right to life should absolutely supersede a woman’s right to escape the unintended consequences of unprotected sex.

Sadly, there are times when terminating a pregnancy is the right decision. But those are rare. And they should not be conflated with the terminations that result simply because the mother didn’t want her baby.

What if the fetus has down syndrome or some other genetic malady? Should it suffer and die in the womb? Why?

What if it has some condition that is determined to be “incompatible with life”? Isn’t it more compassionate to terminate the pregnancy rather than make the mother carry a doomed child to term? Wouldn’t it be better for her to not have to endure the prolonged pain?

In the 10 years that I’ve been volunteering for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep I have attended many, MANY births of babies whose conditions were deemed hopeless months before they were born. Trisomy 13, Anencephaly and even a baby born with two heads.  Some lived for a time after birth, some didn’t. But every single one of their mothers chose to love and protect their baby for as long as it was within her power to do so.

And not for nothing, but the doctors don’t always get it right.

Let me tell you about Jordan.

Baby Jordan

On June 15, 2012 I was called to the hospital for a NILMDTS session. The nurse explained that the baby had been diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism that was incompatible with life. The mother had been counseled by her doctors to abort the baby at 5 months gestation. She asked her doctor, “Is there any possibility my baby could be okay?”  He responded by saying, “Well, anything is possible.” So, she refused to terminate.

She carried her son nearly to term but her anxiety and stress reached a breaking point when she was 37 weeks pregnant. They decided to induce labor for the sake of the mother. When I arrived in the delivery room she had just begun pushing. Because there was a slight chance the baby might live briefly, I secretly switched my camera to record video. I thought the parents would appreciate having some evidence of their son’s life…even if it was only minutes long. As it turned out, I wound up capturing a miracle.

Here is a link to the video I created after that amazing night (Note: Best grab a few tissues.)

So, when I hear women argue that late term abortion is justified in cases where the baby has deformities or conditions “incompatible with life”, I hope it’s because they were misled or are simply ignorant of the realities of abortion and the fallibilities of doctors.

I listened to the stories of multiple women who were lied to about the realities of abortion during their consultations with Planned Parenthood employees. I listened to former Planned Parenthood employee of the year, Abby Johnson who now lives with the guilt of having facilitated thousands upon thousands of mutilation deaths of unborn babies. Some older than little Delila. She confesses to the deceptions and pressure tactics used to convince young women to go through with an abortion…with the only motive being profit. She reports the deliberate dispensing of low-quality birth control pills BECAUSE of the high failure rate that results in more pregnancies and vis-à-vis, more abortions.

Listen, I AM pro-choice. I think women SHOULD have control over what happens to their bodies. They can CHOOSE to have children or to never have children. They can CHOOSE abstinence. They can CHOOSE birth control. They can CHOOSE the morning after pill. They can CHOOSE adoption.

The murder of thinking, feeling human beings should not be a choice simply because the mother doesn’t want it.

I can’t comprehend what goes through the hearts and minds of politicians and Third Wave Feminists who are literally fighting for the right to kill a baby on its way out of the womb or even after it’s been delivered alive. Failed abortions happen

I watched videos of women who SURVIVED their own abortions and had to deal with the pain of knowing their own mother tried to kill them. Their stories are as amazing as they are heartbreaking. To think there are people who are now insisting they should have the LEGAL RIGHT to have murdered those women even after they were born alive is beyond all comprehension.

What is the moral justification for arbitrarily deciding a baby should die based on the preferences of the mother? And if we can defend a mother’s right to have her baby killed after the point of viability how can we defend murder at any point after birth? Where is the line? If it’s legal to murder a baby after it’s born alive why not when they are 6 months old? Why not when they are 5 years old?

Are we saying that the value of life is only that which we personally confer on another living being? If we want it we’ll pay whatever it takes to save it and if we don’t want it we’ll pay whatever it takes to kill it? Come on! Think about it! What have we become?

Our own Declaration of Independence says:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—”

Why in the world would women be given the exclusive right to decide whether her baby – born or unborn – should be afforded the rights every other living person is GUARANTEED?

Yes, yes, yes… the baby is interfering with HER pursuit of happiness. I have just one word for that. ADOPTION.

We can’t pretend it’s a big blob of tissue that can’t feel pain anymore. Science has given us the ability to actually see what’s inside the womb from even the first trimester.

The value of human life cannot be set based on personal inclination.

In cases where a choice must be made between the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child I still agree it’s the mother’s life that should be protected first…but if there is any possibility for both to survive that should be the course pursued with every available measure.

Psalm 139:14

For you created my inmost being;
 you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 your works are wonderful,     I know that full well.

In His love and service,

Sharon Bollum

Take some time to delve into the subject more deeply for yourself. That’s what I did after listening to the Governor of Virginia talk about late-term abortion. Here are some of the videos I watched:

Gianna Jessen: Abortion Survivor

Melissa Ohden: Abortion Survivor

Miracle Baby After Failed Abortion

FOREKNOWN: An Abortion Story

Death Upon Us 2015 Documentary  

Abby Johnson – Planned Parenthood Exposed

Carol Everett’s Shocking Abortion Clinic Testimony

Jill Stanek: Exposing Live Births After Abortion

Abortion Clinic Employees – “Babies born alive daily”

Linda Couri – From Abortion Provider to Pro-Life Activist

Lila Rose and IIyse Hogue debat abortion on CNN

Baby Smiling in Womb

Baby born at 21 weeks

Baby born at 22 weeks

Baby born at 23 weeks

Baby born at 24 weeks  

Baby born at 25 weeks

Baby born at 26 weeks

Baby born at 27 weeks

Baby born at 28 weeks

Baby born at 29 weeks

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