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The Value Of Life In The Womb

Susan Shelley writes in Marriage Partnership, “I was thrilled when the doctor told me our baby-to-be was a boy. I decided to keep the news a secret because I wanted to see Marshall’s face when our son was delivered.

“In the fifth month, our doctor recommended a Level II ultrasound. As I lay on the examining table, Dr. Silver manipulated the ultrasound, measuring the cranium and the femur and viewing the internal organs. We all watched the embryonic motions.”

“Is everything okay?” Marshall asked.

“Let me complete the examination and I’ll give you a full report,” the doctor said. I hoped his evasive answer was merely his standard procedure.

Moments later, Dr. Silver announced his observations in a matter-of-fact voice. “We have some problems. The fetus has a malformed heart--the aorta is attached incorrectly. There are missing portions of the cerebellum. A club foot. A cleft palate and perhaps a cleft lip. Possibly spina bifida. This is probably a case of Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18. In either case, it is a condition incompatible with life.”

Neither Marshall nor I could say anything. So Dr. Silver continued.

“It’s likely the fetus will spontaneously miscarry. If the child is born, it will not survive long outside the womb. You need to decide if you want to try and carry this pregnancy to term.”

We both knew what he was asking. My soul was shaken by the news, but I knew clearly what I was to do.

“God is the giver and taker of life,” I said. “If the only opportunity I have to know this child is in my womb, I don’t want to cut that time short. If the only world he is to know is the womb, I want that world to be as safe as I can make it.” (Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 3.)