Thursday 24 November 2011

Hospital kills ‘wrong’ twin in selective abortion – both babies now dead

Children with special needs can be a great challenge to care for but a tragic story from Australia this week demonstrates that the search for the perfect child can have devastating consequences.

Steven Ertelt in Melbourne relates the story on Life Site News (see also BBC)

A hospital in Australia is making news for having killed the ‘wrong’ twin in a selective abortion. The mother of the two babies had wanted to abort the baby who doctors said had little chance to live. But now, both babies are dead.

The Herald Sun newspaper reports that the unnamed woman from Victoria had already named her unborn children when doctors told her one of the unborn babies had a congenital heart defect that would require years of operations, assuming the baby survived long enough to have them.

The mother decided to have an abortion, terminating the life of one of her unborn children and allowing the other baby to live.

The newspaper indicates an ultrasound technician checked on the healthy baby before the abortion and determined that the child was in a separate amniotic sac from its sibling. However, the abortion, which took place last Tuesday afternoon, went awry and the wrong baby was injected with drugs meant to end his or her life.

After the mother was informed of the error, doctors did an emergency Cesarean section and the sick unborn baby was 'terminated' in a three-hour operation, the newspaper indicates.

A friend of the mother told the newspaper she is having a difficult time following the error.

“She went to the hospital with two babies and now she has none. And she had the heartache of giving birth to her sick baby. She’s traumatized,’ she said. ‘The hospital said it had followed correct procedure, but how could this happen? The ultrasound clinician said she checked three times before the termination because she didn’t want to make a mistake.’

The newspaper indicates the family is considering legal action.

Ertelt goes on to relate the stories of other similar cases around the world.

The story graphically illustrates the grim reality of the ‘search and destroy’ approach to unborn babies with special needs. Such procedures are now very common although very few involve twins.

It is interesting that the killing of an ‘unwanted’ child with special needs in the womb is regarded as ‘normal’ whilst the killing of a ‘wanted’ normal child is seen as a tragedy and worthy of international news coverage.

And yet if the ‘abnormal’ baby had actually been born, doctors would presumably have done everything possible to provide what treatment or care they could. After all the twins were at 32 weeks gestation, 8 weeks past the accepted threshold of viability. Instead however they ensured that it was not born alive by 'terminating it'.

Of course if the second ‘normal’ child had also been ‘unwanted’ then the story would not have warranted a mention. Abortion of ‘unwanted’ ‘normal’ babies takes place over 40 million times every year around the world.

The British Abortion Act 1967 currently allows abortion up until birth where there is a ‘substantial risk’ or a ‘serious handicap’ – so-called ground E - but this is currently interpreted very liberally indeed.

As I blogged previously, recently revealed statistics showed that between 2002 and 2010 there were 17,983 abortions in this category. The overwhelming majority of these were for conditions compatible with life outside the womb and 1,189 babies were aborted after 24 weeks, the accepted age of viability.

The 17,983 included 26 for babies with cleft lips or palates and another 27 with ‘congenital malformations of the ear, eye, face or neck’, which can include problems such as having glaucoma or being born with an ear missing.

Over the period 2002-2010 there were altogether 3,968 Down’s syndrome babies aborted and now 95% of all babies found to have Down’s syndrome before birth have their lives ended in this way.

Our society’s increasing obsession with celebrity status, physical perfection and high intelligence fuels the view that the lives of people with disabilities or genetic diseases are somehow less worth living.

By contrast the Christian view is that the life of every human individual, regardless of its intelligence, beauty, state of health or degree of disability is infinitely precious. A just and caring society is one where the strong make sacrifices for the weak, or in the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2).

This story is a stark warning to recognise and resist the eugenic mindset. Our priorities should be to develop treatments and supportive measures for those with genetic disease; not to search them out and destroy them before birth.

Tragically, if this woman had not sought to intervene both her babies would probably still be alive, one needing further treatment and one not.


  1. Good post, Peter. Well said. This is what we call karma in action. You call it reaping what we sow, we call it karma - they are both the same thing exactly. This lady sowed badly - so she reaped very badly. Her actions had consequences. But we live in a society where people do not accept their own mistakes, where they are always trying to blame someone else. She was not happy about losing the "normal" baby, so now she wants to blame the doctors and technicians. Had she not been selfish and tried to avoid having an "abnormal" baby, she would now not be in this position. Perhaps God is giving her a warning - it is upto her to take notice and remedy her future behaviour. Btw, when you say the sick baby was killed in a 3-hour operation, I assume they were actually trying to save its life, but it died accidentally? How can a woman bring herself to kill one twin and let the other one live? It is not right, and she has learnt this to her cost. Let us hope this will be a warning to other mothers with similar ideas of selective abortion.

  2. Well wriiten. My heart goes out to that poor woman who probably acted on the unethical advice of her doctors. My prayer is that more doctors would protect the lives of the unborn, that society would do more to care its weaker members, and that God would comfort this lady during this time of grief.

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  4. I think you are right to point out the hypocrisy of those who consider this a terrible tragedy, but support the abortion of unwanted fetuses. It is possible that it might be worse in a sense, because the interests of the mother are thwarted. But that can't make it as tragic as people are making it out to be, since surely she can have another child.

    So, I'm going to be consistent in my views and say that this was not a major tragedy. Sure, it was a bad thing for the mother, but I'm sure she will have another child and be very happy with that child. I don't think I will convince you of this, given that your worldview is radically different from mine. But, I thought I should point out that one can accept your point about the hypocrisy of this case, while reaching a different conclusion.

  5. This twin survived its mothers womb for those many weeks, who are we to play God and say it would not have lived long? Surely with Medical advances, Doctors would have at least given it every chance to survive outside the womb.
    I am a mother of twins, and my daugther is expecting twins! If we were to be informed at anytime of any "abnormality!" or "defect" we would give our unborn every chance possible. Some of the most beautiful children I have known have been Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy...
    What is the perfect human being? Only Jesus was pefect! These two small lives are safe in His hands. May the Mother be comforted at this time at her loss to know they are in Heaven and Perfect and without blemish. The World sees the outward body, but many who are physically well or atractive to the eye, are not attractive inside!......

  6. I would like to direct a comment to the person who calls this 'karma in action'. What a disgusting thing to say, who are you to say that she deserved this? You are basically saying that she deserved for this to happen to her. Which is a horrible and frankly shockingly disgusting thing to say.

    Also this woman might not have been a Christian, and therefore might not have the same views as Christians, so why should she believe in what the bible says? People are able to decide for themselves, and essentially it is between the two people involved in making the baby that should be deciding. It is not your place to judge that what she did was 'wrong'. She did what was right for her, and at the end of the day they were her children.

  7. Wow! Such a powerful reminder of how people disregard the sanctity of life. Psalm 139 explains that God "knits" us together in our mother's womb...and He makes no mistakes.

    Heard about this tragic story a few days ago, and in fact reference in my blog today as well. Keep up the good work!

  8. >> May the Mother be comforted at this time at her loss

    Why does she need comfort? The stupid bitch CHOSE to kill BOTH her children. Even after losing the first, she didn't think to spare the life of the "defective" twin. She deserves a kick up the arse, not comfort.

    >> My heart goes out to that poor woman who probably acted on the unethical advice of her doctors.

    What utter tosh, David. So SHE had no part in it, it was the wicked doctors who MADE her do it? Please don't spout such nonsense.

    As for Amy - yes, they were her children. And she chose to kill them. She deserved everything she got, and more. I fervently hope this awful creature doesn't fall pregnant ever again.

  9. This is a tragedy on so many levels. It is the tragic story of loss and heartache for the mother and father and their entire family; for the doctors and the technician; for all living with a disability especially like one that this little boy may have suffered; for us all as a society.

    Let's not judge, as we don't know all the circumstances-let God do that. Let's pray for forgiveness and healing of so many hurt and broken lives-let Jesus do that.

    Let's get angry, but not with the people. Let's each and every one of us take a good look at ourselves and wonder how our society came to this and what we can personally do about it. Let's make our voice heard. Let's fight for the godless laws to be changed. Let's write to the Victorian government and ask them to repeal this diabolical Act. Let's write to the media and the government and continue to request removal of bias in reporting, that they speak out the truth of the consequences on society and even years down the track upon the people who make these choices. We can firmly, but lovingly oppose this.

    Meanwhile, I'm sure God is weeping in heaven as he watches us, while he lovingly gathers these little ones to his bosom. "All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing".

  10. the womb.
    I am a mother ofทางเข้า sbo twins, and my daugther is expecting twins! If we were to be informed at anytime of any "abnormality!" oทางเข้า sbobetr "defect" we would give our unborn every chance possible. Some of the most beautiful children I have known have been Down's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy...

    1. thank you my son has downs and is the greatest thing on earth to me.

  11. I have had FIVE heart surgeries to correct two separate congenital heart defects; ages 3 months old then 6, 8, 26 and 33 years of age. This is just about the most disturbing thing I've heard about in a long time! I am living proof that God can and does allow people with congenital defects live long lives!

    My parents were told that I would live through that first night after my 1st surgery in 1964 when I was just three months old. Then they predicted I would not live until age 5 then age 18 but here I am at age 48 and still kicking! The doctors are wrong sometimes so its really sad when they give advice to terminate a pregnancy because the baby will have to undergo surgeries in the future. Well...we ALL will have medical problems as we grow older and the truth is that no person is truly born "healthy" because we will all succumb to disease and ultimately death.

    Although these parents and the medical "professionals" clearly made a grave mistake here by aborting BOTH babies, I will pray for them because everyone needs redemption and no one should have to live a life of guilt and shame until it gets so bad that they are literally consumed by it and it kills them. We should pray for them to find Christ and to be able to forgive themselves for the terrible damage that they did to two innocent people.

  12. wow i cant believe a mother would give up her child because of a defect expecially with the medical advances we have today. i had a set of identical twins with heart problems in which one passed and had a 3rd daughter with the same problem. i would give anything to have my baby back even though at the end she suffer brain damage also

  13. I have a congenital disease, Ataxia telangictasia, my parents were told that i would be in a wheelchair by the age of 10 and most likely not survive past 20, i am 23 and heading to my second Paralympic games as a track cyclist!

    NO one has the right to say who dies and who lives, only God can decide!

  14. Whether you believe in God or not murder is murder. We do not have the authority to decide who lives and who doesn't. It is truly a shame that this woman would have to go through such a heart wrenching ordeal. Her intentions may have been as pure as she could muster yet still not a choice the she or anyone else should be able to even entertain.

  15. i,m not going to say she had it coming.

    but i feel nothing for her and hope she will never be able to have anymore babys.

    GOD wanted both those little ones here and it was not her right to kill one while letting the other health one live.

    did it not dawn on her that maybe the doctors that told her one was sick did,nt know what the hell they were talking about.

    doctors have been known to be wrong that is why they call it a practice.

    shows you what kind of mom she would have been one gets sick just kill it off.

    my 4 year old has downs and yes at times its hard but i would never ever trade him for anything in the world he is as close to perfect as GOD wanted us all to be.

    anyone who kills a baby caz someone eles says there is something wrong with them should never be allowed to have any kids at all they r shollow and to salfish to be able to love anyone who they deem as inperfect.


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