Prenatal Complexity

by Dish Staff

Ananda Rose presents real-life examples of the two opposite ends of the abortion debate. First, she tells the story of a woman, whom she calls Julie Smith (name changed), who carried a fetus with severe abnormalities:

Her first choice, she says, was to give birth at a hospital but not to offer medical interventions such as feeding tubes, ventilators, or resuscitative measures, and to let nature take its course; without such intervention, Alice would likely die shortly after birth, if she was not stillborn, which was also a possibility. But, as Smith explains, the law requires feeding tubes for non-responsive infants, which would have kept Alice alive, but in a way that seemed “wreckless and cruel.” She could not imagine watching her daughter suffer in that way. The only other option that she and her husband considered “was going off the grid,” because, Smith says, even with a home birth state workers would most likely have intervened. But Smith feared that if they “just disappeared” to have the baby somewhere in peace and quiet, and if Alice died as predicted, they could be charged with homicide.

Given these realities, Smith chose what she believed was the most compassionate option: to terminate the pregnancy. “I am a mother, and I would do anything in my power to save my child,” she wrote on her blog. “That’s how the most difficult situation I’ve ever faced, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, was also the clearest choice.”

Rose then turns to evangelical Christian Maria Lancaster, and to the world of embryo adoption, “which is when unused embryos from a couple’s fertility treatments are donated to another couple”:

After four years of being frozen at -200 degrees, the two embryos, which Lancaster marveled at through a microscope, were implanted into her uterus. While one of the embryos did not make it, the other grew into what Lancaster calls her “child of destiny.”  … Lancaster also co-founded her own embryo adoption agency along with Dr. Joseph Fuiten, senior pastor of Cedar Park Church in Issaquah. For several years now she has been connecting families who have remaining embryos after fertility treatments with those unable to conceive. Lancaster says that she “prays over the files” that come to her, trying to create the best match. She pairs couples in terms of race, religion, and ethnicity, “like God does it,” so that the child “will feel a real part of the pack,” adding that her efforts have only confirmed her belief that “rescuing these unseen lives from the freezer” is her moral duty.