Abortion, the peacemaker?

Abortion in India is illegal after 20 weeks, in large part to stop female feticide. Today's NewsTrackIndia.com details a Bombay High Court's decision to break the rule:

In this particular case, a pregnant petitioner when found during routine diagnosis in her 24th week that her unborn child was suffering from a congenital heart block, resorted to go for abortions. But, doctors denied as it was against the law. However, a paediatrician said, the baby would need the placement of a peacemaker immediately after being born.

indian mom.jpg

Normally a peacemaker has four to five years of life. This way, the child would have to go for five peacemaker replacement surgeries throughout life. Doctors also said that even surgery is not the guarantee of a normal life. They also expressed fear of a possible intra-uterine death of the foetus and if survives, continuous ailment would also compromise the life of the child....

The pregnant mother and petitioner in her plea said that she "does not want to have a compromised quality of life for her own child and can not afford the expensive treatment, which may or may not give results."

Calling a pacemaker a peacemaker might be humorous in another context, but here it just added to the irony.

We only know what the story tells us, and I don't want to lend credence to rationalize abortions for "quality of life" concerns. I'll only say the dramatization of pacemaker implantation and upkeep was Oscar-worthy. In reality, only a local anesthetic is required for insertion. And with technology advancing by the day, this apparatus and implantation procedure will only grow simpler.

Here was another interesting excuse I've heard before and marvelled at the insanity: "fear of possible intra-uterine death." So kill the baby instead?

And a bold, cold line: "can not afford the expensive treatment." The couple was saying they couldn't afford to care for their sick baby so they wanted to kill... him or her, which was it?

Interesting that the sex wasn't mentioned. I'd place bets the baby was a girl.

See news video here.

[Still from news video courtesy of Timesnowtv]


I was wondering about the sex of the baby as well. Such a shame. A girl I went to HS with (a year younger) had spina-bifida. She was wheelchair bound and last I heard was going to medical school. I know people with spina-bifida don't have a normal life expectancy and I thought many died before 30 but she's a fighter.

I lost touch with her but I'm sure she's done great things. Just think; I'd never have known her if her mother aborted and that would have been a true loss to those of us who've known her.

Posted by: Kristen at July 31, 2008 6:38 PM

This is an excuse to kill a baby girl. Even if it's not, I find it especially disgusting that women will only love and care for their babies if they are perfect.

I hope such soulless people never have a perfect baby that develops a sickness or disability later. What then? Forceps?

Posted by: Jacqueline at July 31, 2008 6:43 PM

"Let's kill the baby so he doesn't die!" Makes sense, right?

Let's extend this rationale to other situations:

-- The rescuers arrived at the scene of the plane crash and promptly torched the wreckage to silence the pitiful cries of the survivors trapped within. "We didn't want to take a chance that any of them would die while we were extricating them," said the head of the search and rescue operation. "Many of the survivors had severe injuries and would have likely suffered had we not taken measures to prevent this."

-- Hostage negotiators called in an airstrike to end the standoff. "We considered a raid," said the head negotiator, "but feared that some of the hostages might be caught in the crossfire and suffer serious or even fatal injuries. To prevent this, we thought it best to simply ensure the relatively quick demise of the contents of the building."

-- Air Force jets shot down the crippled airliner, thus preventing a possibly fatal crash.

I could go on and on.

Posted by: Christina at July 31, 2008 7:55 PM

Actually come to think of it I'm having fun with exploring the "Better safe than sorry" approach:

-- Federal mine safety experts ordered additional water pumped into the Quecreek Mine. "We had fears that the nine trapped miners would die before we could extricate them," said the head of mine safety. "We thought it would be best if we prevented a prolonged dying process."

-- Rescuers feared that Baby Jessica might succumb to her injuries, or to hypothermia, before a rescue could be achieved, so they poured cement into the well, thus sealing it off and sparing the trapped toddler from the risk of future suffering.

-- Upon diagnosing the cyclist with testicular cancer, doctors had Lance Armstrong shot dead. "We didn't want to take a chance that he might have a poor quality of life," explained the head of oncology.

-- Obtaining the exact location of the crash site from Fernando Parrado, the governments of Uraguay and Chile launched a joint effort to cause an avalanche to immediately bury the wreckage of the Fairchild. "After interviewing Parrado and Cannessa," explained the head of the search effort, "we feared that some of the survivors might yet starve before a rescue could be mounted. We did not want to risk some of them dying prior to our arrival."

Posted by: Christina at July 31, 2008 8:06 PM

I can kind of empathise with her since I know India has some serious problems it would be hard enough to raise a healthy child. It might be hard to have a member of the family that needs food and shelter and clothing but can't contribute anything of monetary value. I know in a perfect world everyone would chip in and help this family out but the world is far from perfect. I don't think we should judge this woman or her situation until we've walked a mile in her shoes. You might think it's evil of her to kill her baby but what if she has other children or elderly parents who would starve if they had another mouth to feed, when the child gets older and can't work because they are sick.

Posted by: Jess at August 1, 2008 12:42 AM

"And with technology advancing by the day, this apparatus and implantation procedure will only grow simpler."

What kind of health care do you think they have in India? How about if this woman lives in a very poor, rural area where the nearest doctor is a day's journey away? And even if it seems inexpensive to us it probably seems pretty expensive to someone who only makes a few cents a day.

Posted by: Jess at August 1, 2008 12:45 AM

"It might be hard to have a member of the family that needs food and shelter and clothing but can't contribute anything of monetary value."

You mean like, a GIRL?

Seriously though, I'd be stunned if this were a boy. I think they'd probably take every measure possible to save this child if he was a son. But that's just a guess. (Since even a son with a pacemaker-or "peacemaker," as the case may be- is worth more than a daughter in India.)

Christina, you ROCK! :D You're cracking me up. Some twisted logic, no doubt about that.

Posted by: Kel at August 1, 2008 12:54 AM

No Kel I don't mean like a girl I mean like a child that is sick and unable to work. A lot of jobs in India are very strenuous and the children start young.

Well I guess they could have this child and earn money for a pacemaker, some parents in India (and other poverty stricken areas) have taken to maiming their children so they can be good beggers. A maimed child brings in more money. Obviously her choice (or lack there of) should be easy.

Posted by: Jess at August 1, 2008 1:06 AM

I'm not sure there is a preference on the sex of a child in India...unlike what they have in China. I work with a lot of Indian folks in the IT industry and they have a very traditional, family oriented culture.

Unfortunately, this quality of life "concern" from the mom sounds like something a Western-trained doctor might have suggested.

Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is one of the IT centers of India.

And, as Jess might like to think, this is NOT some rural area where there are no streets and quality of water is an issue. People here have a high literacy rate and are either trained to be in an engineering position or in the medical field. Women have at the very least the same choices that men do.

I feel there is something not being mentioned by their MSM. They have this tendency to sensationalze something and put their own spin on things...not unlike our liberal MSM.

"Quality of life" concerns from people whose men would sacrifice their marrying age/ status so that their younger sister could be married first? I don't think so.

Posted by: RSD at August 1, 2008 6:41 AM

Jess, the article was aimed at drumming up support for abortion, not drumming up support for medical care for sick babies. THAT is the source of the "Why risk survival? Abort and be certain!" attitude society is developing.

Posted by: Christina at August 1, 2008 6:45 AM

"Let's kill the baby so he doesn't die."

It boggles the mind. Well, my mind.

Posted by: Carla at August 1, 2008 8:52 AM

"some parents in India (and other poverty stricken areas) have taken to maiming their children so they can be good beggers. A maimed child brings in more money. Obviously her choice (or lack there of) should be easy.

Posted by: Jess at August 1, 2008 1:06 AM"

I remember reading something like this a long time ago, is this still being done?

Jess, could you cite your source and the date on this??

Posted by: RSD at August 1, 2008 10:27 AM

"At certain Hindu holy sites you'll see people who have been deliberately maimed so that they'll be better beggars as well as saddhus or holy men who make their living from alms."

www.takingitglobal.org/action/projects/ download.html/7545/Beggar_Mafia_Report.doc -
"However, what does not meet the eye, is the force behind this ever escalating problem of beggary, the organised “Beggar Mafia”, which can go at any lengths to safeguard their selfish interests; not even hesitating to hurt or maim the young, the elderly and the children alike, if it increases their chances of “earning” more"

"It turned out that children were being trafficked from Cambodia (possibly after being sold by their parents) by Vietnamese middlemen solely for begging. They were kept in slavelike conditions and one or two were even maimed. Police suspected they had been maimed on purpose to earn more money - an injured child means more compassion and therefore more dollars."

"My Chinese friends and relatives advised me that mainland Chinese gangs kidnap and maim children from early childhood to make beggars out of them. In mainland China, life is cheap."

"Organised African gangs deliberately mutilate these child beggars before sending them into Saudi Arabia," Mecca police spokesman Abdul Mohsen al-Mimaan was quoted as saying..."These Africans practice the trade of children who have an arm or a leg amputated or whose body is burned with incendiary materials,"


I can give you some more if you want.

Posted by: Jess at August 1, 2008 12:46 PM