I met last Monday with a geneticist and hospice nurse...lots of fun, NOT! Tammy (the nurse) operates Carolina Perinatal Support Network - Compassionate Care, Practical Guidance and Emotional Support for Families Experiencing an Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis. She basically helps support families in honoring the life of their baby, regardless of the length of their baby's life. There are 65+ similar organizations across the country in various cities. Most of these support maybe 2-4 families per year. Yet Tammy, here in the upstate area, supports 25+ families per year. We aren't even a big city, so why is that? Well, the answer might shock you!
I guess I've forgotten that I live in the buckle of the 'Bible Belt'. Apparently sanctity of life is taken more seriously here and abortion rates for fetal abnormalities is not as high in other parts of the country. Tammy told us that for DOWN'S SYNDROME, 95% of babies are aborted! That is an incredibly high and extremely sad statistic! I know several Down's syndrome children, and they are a delight to others and their parents. They often teach us much about unconditional love and they don't get caught up in the supid things of the world (like money, power, beauty, etc.) And I tell you what, I would be ECSTATIC for a diagnosis of Down's right now! What is scary and sad about this statistic is that all of these lives are being terminated because doctors and/or parents don't think these are lives worth being given a chance at life.
So this whole thing got Michael and me thinking... what makes a life worth living? Is it the health of your body or mind that determines worthiness to life? What about the Unibomber? He was brilliant and talented, but what did he contribute to society? What about Hitler? What about the MILLIONS who live their lives daily making lots of money but not caring for anyone in society but themselves? Yet there are people who might only live a short-time on this earth that can have profound affect on everyone they meet. You might not find them through an internet search, but I bet you know at least one of these people, or have seen the direct affect of one of them.
So what makes a life worth living? And who should decide if the life is worthy or not of existence? Well, I can only think of one person who has this authority, and he and his Father had a lot to say on the topic of sanctity of life.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).
My heart grieves for all of the lives considered not worth not living...