What should a pregnant woman do if she discovers that her unborn child has a defect?

If a pregnant woman discovers through prenatal diagnosis that her unborn child has a birth defect, she should usually carry the pregnancy to term, even if she is advised to abort her defective child by a doctor. There are good reasons why a pregnancy involving a defective baby should be carried to term whenever possible, even if the resulting baby will die from a fatal birth defect. First, a defective human embryo or a defective human fetus is still a human being, even if he or she has a fatal defect. Second, an abortion of a defective human embryo or a defective human fetus still constitutes the killing of an innocent human being. Third, an abortion of a defective baby can put the mother at risk of serious health complications from the abortion procedure. Fourth, a defect in the developing unborn child usually does not endanger the life or health of the mother. Fifth, prenatal diagnosis is not 100% reliable at detecting birth defects and there have been cases where non-defective babies are wrongly diagnosed with birth defects. Last, choosing to carry the pregnancy to term shows respect for the life of the unborn child and sends the message that the defective child is loved by his or her mother.

There are some people who claim that carrying a baby with a defect to term is selfish and immoral, but this cannot be the case because the mother of a defective unborn baby usually does not have a moral obligation to terminate a pregnancy involving a defective baby prior to term and the choice of aborting a defective baby is intrinsically evil and morally wrong. A mother who is pregnant with a defective unborn baby can have a moral obligation to carry the pregnancy to term, even if the defect of the unborn baby is fatal, but a mother does not have a moral obligation to resort to other extraordinary measures to prevent the death of a defective baby. Live Action News recently published an article on a couple who chose life for their defective baby, and here is a link to that article.

Parents who are faced with a prenatal diagnosis of a serious defect in their unborn child should be encouraged to carry the pregnancy to term, even if the baby will die.

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