A fascinating and encouraging article appeared this past week in the Irish Medical Times. Medical commentator and physician Ruairí Hanley discussed how an encounter with Tracy Harkin of the support group Every Life Counts led him to think deeply about how the medical community has treated families whose babies prenatally diagnosed with severe life limiting conditions such as Trisomy 13 or anencephaly.
Tracy was giving a presentation on the issue of life limiting conditions, as well as the need for improved perinatal hospice care. Over the course of the talk, she related her own experience of having her daughter Kathleen Rose, who was born with Trisomy 13. Tracy and her husband were told that their little girl would not live very long after birth but Kathleen Rose has exceeded all expectations and is now 8-years-old and the joy of her parents life. Dr. Hanley writes:
“Prior to attending this meeting, I admit I had not given a great deal of thought to the current management of so-called fatal foetal abnormality (a medically inaccurate but politically convenient term used by pro-abortion activists). However, having heard the arguments advanced by Every Life Counts I now see the issue with clearer eyes. To put it simply, who are we to deny any human being the chance of even a few hours of love and affection on this earth? Can we really argue that it is preferable to never live at all?”
Hearing Tracy speak seemed to open Dr. Hanley’s eyes to the reality of the situation for families facing these difficult diagnosis (who are desperate need for improved perinatal hospice care) as well as the problem facing medical professionals who refuse to go along with the “Repeal the 8th” campaign- especially where it concerns babies with potentially life limiting conditions. Dr. Hanley rightfully notes that many pro-life doctors and nurses feel like they must keep quiet on this issue, unless they want to face censure from their colleagues.
Pro-abortion medical professions are being represented in this debate but pro-life ones are not being given a voice. Hanley writes, “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I am growing weary of those doctors who appear to think they have a monopoly on wisdom and thus can speak for the entire profession on such a divisive issue.” Dr. Hanley’s article was very encouraging and we have to hope that more and more medical professionals will be brave enough to follow his example and stand up on behalf on their most vulnerable patients rather than simply echo the media’s talking points. In Dr. Hanley’s words, “I believe it is time for colleagues who are not supporters of the Repeal the 8th movement to stand up and be counted. Now more than ever, your voices need to be heard.”
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