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Throwing out the baby

Abortion | A neonatologist says some obstetricians focus so much on the mother they forget about the baby growing inside her

Obstetrics is the branch of medicine dedicated to caring for pregnant women. According to a neonatologist at a Midwest hospital, some obstetricians are so concerned about the mother they forget about the baby.

The neonatologist, who asked not to be identified to protect her position, has worked with OBs who recommended abortions even against the mother’s wishes. In one case, a woman about 21 weeks pregnant with twins came to her hospital after one of the baby’s membranes ruptured prematurely. She was not in labor, but because a ruptured membrane presents an infection risk to the mother and ends in a miscarriage 65 percent of the time, the OBs recommended a dilation and curettage abortion procedure.

The neonatologist, who happened to be on duty at the time, was summoned for a consultation with the mother. She told the mother there was a 10 to 15 percent chance the hole in the membrane would heal, allowing the pregnancy to continue—something the OBs hadn’t mentioned.

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“The mom was horrified that if she hadn’t talked to one particular person—that would be me—she would have gone through with the abortion, because that’s what they were telling her to do,” the neonatologist said.

After the mother chose to continue the pregnancy, her OB wrote in her medical chart he disagreed with that course of action. As it turned out, the hole in the twin’s membrane did heal, and the mother carried the babies to 34 weeks.

“I’m not even on the same page as these people,” said the neonatologist of doctors who aren’t pro-life. “They’re not even looking from the babies’ perspective, [who] are already alive and kicking and moving and growing inside of her.”

In another case the neonatologist was involved with, doctors were counseling abortion to a mother whose baby had been diagnosed with trisomy 18, a genetic disease that usually results in death within a year. The mother insisted that even if the child didn’t live long, she didn’t want to have a hand in its death.

Some doctors, the neonatologist said, seem to forget that “to many families, six months with any child means something.”

See Daniel James Devine’s feature from the latest issue of WORLD Magazine: “Abigail and Samuel,” the story of a pair of tiny twins that illustrates the agonizing challenges premature births present to parents and doctors.

Daniel James Devine
Daniel James Devine

Daniel is a reporter for WORLD who covers science, technology, and other topics in the Midwest from his home base in Indiana. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanJamDevine.

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