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Perinatal Hospice

Posted by MDViews on July 25, 2009

Perinatal hospice, the brain-child of Byron Calhoun, MD in 1995, provides compassionate care to those couples found to have a baby with a lethal disability prior to birth.

Such conditions do exist, unforturnately, and are often found on routine ultrasound or genetic testing.

When such a condition is found, the pro-abortion maternal-fetal-medicine specialists (MFM’s) and genetic counselors often recommend abortion. (No hope, you understand. So, why not?) Of course, abortion, even of a disabled child, carries with it the guilt of killing your own child–your own helplessly sick child. How cruel is that?

As an OB/GYN doctor who has been around the prenatal diagnosis block a few times, I seen “non-directive counseling”, as the geneticists and MFM’s call it, relentlessly push patients who carry such a child into abortion on many occasions. Dr. Calhoun saw the same thing and came up with the concept of perinata hospice, a blessed process which honors life and which provides wonderful support  for such couples.

I’ve written a piece about this topic and WORLD magazine has graciously agreed to print it in their upcoming issues. You can access WORLD magazine on the web at It requires an online subscription or a print subscription to see entire articles. (A bargain, I can assure you!)

I’ve also copied it and pasted it below. (This article is copyright by WORLD magazine and may be used with their permission.) Enjoy the read. Should our sovereign God deign such a circumstance for you or one you love, please, keep perinatal hospice in mind.

August 1 5 , 2009

A grief conserved

Perinatal hospice offers an alternative to the trauma of aborting a disabled child

Something’s wrong with this baby,” my ultrasound technician told me. She had just scanned Mrs. Jones (a fictitious name) at 20 weeks and went on to describe her findings, findings that surely meant little chance of survival for that baby. As I later spoke with Mrs. Jones to relay the findings, she wept. I arranged an appointment with a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist. The next day I received an urgent call from my patient. Through more tears, she described her visit in which the MFM doctor confirmed the grim prognosis. The baby would die, probably within a week or two. The MFM insisted on scheduling her for an abortion in three days. “Do I have to have an abortion?” she asked. I promised to call the MFM and assured her she did not have to abort.

When I called the MFM specialist, she immediately rattled off the severe abnormalities found, the fetus’ incompatibility with life, and the scheduling of an abortion. I interrupted: “If the baby is going to die anyway, why do you want to kill it before it dies a natural death?” There was silence on the other end. I went on to explain that the parents would not have to deal with the guilt of killing their child if it died naturally. There was a pause, then, “I hadn’t thought of that,” she said.

So much for nondirective counseling, as it is called. Sadly, I’ve had several similar experiences in my 27 years of practice.

My patient’s baby did die in utero about two weeks later. She labored and delivered a stillborn baby with all the grief and pain associated with it. She was thankful, however, for the love and support of family and friends during the process and the knowledge that she had not contributed to her baby’s death.

When a pregnant woman clearly understands the primary purpose of genetic testing—abortion of a handicapped baby—a majority decline testing in my experience and almost all pro-life women decline testing. Nearly every problem now identified by prenatal diagnosis has no treatment. David Grimes, a well-known OB/GYN, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and a strong abortion advocate, spoke truth in a rare moment of public clarity when he said prenatal diagnosis would disappear if abortion were not available.

But what happens when a routine 20-week ultrasound shows a baby with a profound abnormality, possibly an abnormality that will certainly result in the death of the baby prior to or shortly after birth? Or when a genetic test is done and shows similar results and the patient then decides against abortion? What then?

Enter perinatal hospice, the brain child of Byron Calhoun, a pro-life maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

Perinatal hospice honors life. The woman carrying the disabled child receives extensive counseling and birth preparation involving the combined efforts of MFM specialists, OB/GYN doctors, neonatologists, anesthesia services, chaplains, pastors, social workers, labor and delivery nurses, and neonatal nurses. She carries the pregnancy to its natural conclusion. She and her husband are allowed to grieve and prepare for the short time God may grant them with their child while their baby lives inside or outside the womb. Such a process obviates the grief caused by elective abortion, killing the child before it could be born.

Doctors and nurses often withdraw from hopeless patients, and surely a baby with a lethal anomaly is a hopeless patient. Add to that, as my example above illustrates, the concept of natural death for babies with lethal anomalies perplexes those who advocate abortion and prenatal eugenics. For them, not terminating a hopeless pregnancy is stupid.

Perinatal hospice, on the other hand, allows natural grief and separation with the support of the medical community. Calhoun says parental responses have been overwhelmingly positive. “These parents are allowed the bittersweetness of their child’s birth and too-soon departure. Grief lessens as time passes and the parents rest secure in the knowledge that they shared in their baby’s life and treated the child with the same dignity as a terminally- ill adult.”

Even those mystified by a patient choosing life have recognized the value of Calhoun’s idea, as perinatal hospice programs now dot the nation. But this mystery is no mystery to us. As Job 1:21 states, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Posted in Abortion, Doctoring, Eugenics, Medical Issues | 18 Comments »

Eugenics Rears Its Ugly Head, and Down the Slippery Slope We Slide

Posted by MDViews on January 10, 2009

The slippery slope has been greased and we are sliding down it, picking up speed!

In the UK, a couple has a new baby girl without the high risk gene mutation for breast and ovarian cancer, cancers that have afflicted females in her father’s family for 3 generations.

The parents were pleased they didn’t “inflict” this gene on their daughter.

And it was easy. After fertilizing bunches of eggs in a dish, letting them grow to the blastocyst stage, removing one cell, testing it for the gene mutation, finding the perfent one, implanting it and letting it grow, they have a brand-spanking-new baby girl, practically perfect in every way.

And her brothers and sisters who didn’t pass muster? Well, let’s just say their three days of life were rudely interrupted. But, there was no blood, no guts, no annoying trips to the abortion clinic. The doctor probably just rinsed them down the sink. Easy.

What would one have to believe to be an ethical petri dish “rinser-outer”? What would define the ethics of such a person?

One would have to believe that life, in and of itself, is absurd. That God is absent or irrelevent and that there is no judgment, that we are all we have and that existential relativism defines life. That life has no value except the value placed on it by whoever has the money or power to use it or control it. One would have to believe in the value of genetically improving the human race.

Now, the “parents” of this designer child placed a value on her, so here she is. But no value on her siblings, so here they are not. And her doctor placed a value on a genetically superior child. (The money and fame probably didn’t hurt, either.)

Breast cancer is expensive. Chemo, radiation, lost work, lost productivity, end of life care, hospice, ICU time all cost money. Maybe the government, in order to save money, would strongly recommend such prenatal genetic diagnosis (PGD) for other families with such a cancer history. Maybe the government could require PGD for those with such a renegade gene. Maybe, the government could keep a record, a gene record, on everyone, so that those with known genetic “defects” could be properly counseled before conceiving so appropriate testing could be done. Maybe, the government could require such counseling and PGD for those carrying less-than-desirable genes. For those who conceive without PGD, maybe the government could require prenatal diagnosis and abortion if the baby was found to be carrying one of these less-than-desirable genes. Lord knows we wouldn’t want to “inflict” some poor soul with a less than perfect genetic make-up. And, while we were at it, maybe we could just sterilize those less-than-perfect to “spare” us the mess of those less-than-perfect. Maybe, we could help those who are less-than-perfect, help them by quietly ushering them painlessly out of this world into the next. It would be the kind thing, you know. Oh, what a wonderful world it would be! No people with disabilities clogging up the system, no cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, spina bifida, none of the up to 6,000 known adverse gene mutations! Why, just think. When they come up with the gene for those with a IQ less than say 90, only “smart” people could be allowed to be born! And, you know, if your party were in power, your party could decide what “inferior” meant. Why, it could include races, or religions, height or weight. The sky is the limit!

That chuckle you hear is the spirit of Margaret Sanger, Adolf Hitler and all the other eugenicists from ages past quietly laughing as their ideas resurface, the ideas of the perfect race and elimination of the less-than-perfect. Less-than-perfect, of course, defined by those with the money and the power. With PGD and prenatal diagnosis clinics, the techniques are not the same as Hitler (yet), but the concept is the same. Get rid of the undesireables, build the super-race.

Eugenics starts small, but it ends with the train cars full of Jews, the death chambers and the ovens.

That is why we must defend life, human life, from conception to natural death, as God intended.

Posted in Eugenics | 3 Comments »