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not abortion, but


bu11fr0g

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A pregnant 15 year old girl carries a late-term fetus that has multiple birth defects (missing an eye, kidney problems, throat malformation) associated with only minor mental retardation.

If delivered, the throat problems will result in 100% chance the child will die or at best have severe brain damage.

However, the mother can undergo a C-section have the fetus partially delivered, and a tracheostomy placed in the fetus before it is born. In this case, the fetus will survive. There are definite risks from this procedure.

What are the acceptable choices?

1- Have an abortion -- partial birth?

2- Have an abortion but only early in the pregnancy?

3- Not have the procedure and not try to save the child after birth?

4- Not have the procedure and try to save the child after birth?

5- Force the mother to have the procedure?

6- To what extent should the parents of the teenager make or be involved in the decision?

What if the fetus were otherwise normal and would not have mental retardation?

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Is the 'procedure' just a c-section delivery?

If so, that's not really much more dangerous than simply giving birth and many women end up having one regardless of whether or not their babies are healthy in the womb. In that case i'm not really understanding why 'the procedure' is the main concern in the above scenerio.

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It is not a simple c-section, it is an ex uter intrapartum treatment which is markedly more complicated in a number of respects. A lay description can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EXIT_procedure

(Although frankly, even a regular c-section itself has risks that are sometimes taken for granted.)

This is a very tough situation. Are all answers morally acceptable prima facie with the decision to be made by the girl upon careful contemplation/prayer in consultation with her parents and bishop? This is a real conundrum that I have been swept into.

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Birth defects of any degree whatsoever should be ID'd early. If it is too late - i.e. at the end of the second trimester, or otherwise after the point where a premature infant cannot possibly survive - then NO abortion should be legal regardless of the condition of the body/brain. If the infant could possibly survive it must be given every opportunity to fight for its life. If severe birth defects (or otherwise any reason for termination of the pregnancy) exist, abortion should only be allowed within the gestation period where the aborted fetus could not possibly survive artificially and be brought to term (where life support is removed)....

(edit to add: the obvious exception in all of this "legal/moral or not" business is the risk to the mother; and the amount of risk is up to her. If she feels unwilling to risk the operation because of the risks to herself, then she should be allowed to terminate the pregnancy at any point; this includes possible survival of the infant beyond the current "22 week deadline" for late abortions. At which point the docs ought to do everything in their power to save the infant after removal from the mother.)

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A pregnant 15 year old girl carries a late-term fetus that has multiple birth defects (missing an eye, kidney problems, throat malformation) associated with only minor mental retardation.

If delivered, the throat problems will result in 100% chance the child will die or at best have severe brain damage.

However, the mother can undergo a C-section have the fetus partially delivered, and a tracheostomy placed in the fetus before it is born. In this case, the fetus will survive. There are definite risks from this procedure.

What are the acceptable choices?

1- Have an abortion -- partial birth?

2- Have an abortion but only early in the pregnancy?

3- Not have the procedure and not try to save the child after birth?

4- Not have the procedure and try to save the child after birth?

5- Force the mother to have the procedure?

6- To what extent should the parents of the teenager make or be involved in the decision?

What if the fetus were otherwise normal and would not have mental retardation?

The mother’s being a teenager should not undermine a decision that affects the life of the unborn baby. The decision needs to be structured as if made by a competent, uncompromised, loving mother.

So I would lean toward #5 to rescue the child in the event the mother cannot make a decision or wants to abort. This would follow #6, where the parents help the teenager through the decision-making process with the assistance of clergy, social services, and if necessary, the hospital ethics committee, and where necessary and legally permitted, override the teenager’s choice. Then the child should be placed where his needs are best met by a competent, uncompromised, loving mother.

There should be no abortion if the fetus were otherwise normal and would not have mental retardation.

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