Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another Part of the Story: Reflections on Abortion and the Vander Woude Story

There is another part to the story of Thomas Vander Woude that I shared on Father's Day that is worth reflecting on.

Josie – the son Mr Vander Woude died to save – was a Down’s Syndrome person.

Let me tell you something about the United States that we live in and how different it has become.
After completing med school doctors have traditionally made a public commitment to ethical medical practice using the Hippocratic Oath.  The Oath dates by to the Greeks of the 4th Century BC, and has had a profound influence on Western medicine.

I have a friend who is a third generation medical doctor. When his Dad took the Hippocratic Oath, it included this line:
“I will give no deadly drug to any, though it be asked of me, nor will I counsel such, and especially I will not aid a woman to procure abortion.”
When my friend took the oath – it did not include the clause regarding abortion.

He practices medicine in a different United States than his own Dad did.

Nearly every person I know with a Down’s Syndrome child was counseled by their doctor to abort. I know a number of parents of healthy children who were told their child would have Down’s. They too were counseled to abort those children, who we now know were healthy.

Mr. Vander Woude willingly gave his life for a child that our culture encourages us to abort. In doing, that Mr Vander Woude reminds me that at the cross that so shaped his life, Jesus demonstrates His own love for every person - mentally challenged people, economically poor people, different race people, old people, and yes, I believe unborn people.

Finally, while working on this post, I stumbled on a review of the book Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl.  The subhead reads:Since the late 1970s, 163 million female babies have been aborted by parents seeking sons. It is disturbing on many, many levels, but important reading for that very reason.  Click Here for the full review. 

I am opposed to rape and incest and would support quick and vigorous prosecution of the criminals who commit these crimes.  I believe women are responsible moral agents in the same way that men are.  I recognize that abortion for many women is not so much a choice as the only option left by the unsupportive men in their life.  I have spent enough time with women post-abortion to realize with Frederica Matthewes-Green in Real Choices that 
No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche.  She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.  Abortion is a tragic attempt to escape a desperate situation by an act of violence and self-loss.
We live in a broken world with complex problems that often seem beyond human resolution.  Mr. Vander Woude reminds me though that as one human, shaped and empowered by the Gospel, I can live with a grace and conviction that brings life in whatever situation I find myself.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Once again I was looking for the line that told us what to do... "Since Mr. Vander Woude gave up his life for his child with Down Syndrome, parents you too should give up your lives to care for a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome rather than abort him/her." But once again you refrained from the cheap stuff. Keep pointing to a gospel that calls us to do things like that because he traded his life for ours.


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