'Abortion is Never the Answer': Pope Francis speaks out on selective abortion of the disabled
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A pregnant mother finding out her child will be born with a severe disability and has a very low chance of survival after birth will likely fall to her knees, look to the sky and ask God, "Why me? Why my child?"
"I cannot give more days to your life, but I can give mroe like to your days."
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many people infer that the Lord chooses his strongest children for the most difficult challenges. What is a parent to do when they receive this kind of news from their medical team? Unfortunately, some parents turn toward abortion as a solution to this tragic news.
However, abortion should never be the answer when faced with a difficult prenatal diagnosis and selective abortion of the disabled is the "expression of an inhumane eugenics mentality," according to Pope Francis, during a Vatican conference called, "Yes to Life: Caring for the precious gift of life in its frailness," on perinatal hospices.
"The Church's teaching on this point is clear: human life is sacred and inviolable and the use of prenatal diagnosis for selective purposes must be strongly discouraged because it is the expression of an inhuman eugenics mentality, which removes the possibility for families to accept, embrace and love their weakest children," he said.
According to The Catholic Herald, there are more than 300 hospitals, hospices and ministries around the world that provide extensive perinatal palliative care. These facilities offer medical care and support for families who have received a diagnosis indicating their baby will likely die before or soon after birth.
"Sometimes people ask me, what does perinatal hospice look like? And I answer, 'It looks like love,'" author and mother Amy Kuebelbeck shared at the conference.
Amy was a little more than half way through her pregnancy when she learned her unborn son had an incurable heart defect. She chose to carryout her pregnancy and give birth to her baby. After a little more than two hours with Gabriel, he passed away.
"I know that some people assume that continuing a pregnancy with a baby who will die is all for nothing. But it isn't all for nothing. Parents can wait with their baby, protect their baby, and love their baby for as long as that baby is able to live. They can give that baby a peaceful life -- and a peaceful goodbye. That's not nothing. That is a gift," Kuelbeck wrote in her memoir titled, "Waiting with Gabriel: A Story of Cherishing a Baby's Brief Life."
According to Sister Giustina Olha Holubets, a geneticist at the University of Lviv and co-founder of "Imprint of Life," a perinatal palliative care center in the Ukraine, "Imprint of Life" helps mourning parents with grief accompaniment, birth plans, the sacrament of baptism and burial.
Their motto is, "I cannot give more days to your life, but I can give more like to your days."
"Your testimony of love is a gift to the world," Pope Francis told the perinatal hospice providers. "Taking care of these children helps parents to mourn and to think of this not only as a loss, but as a step in a journey together. That child will stay in their life forever, and they will have been able to love him."
"Those few hours in which a mother can lull her child can leave a mark on the heart of that woman that she will never forget."
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