Abortion’s Miscarriage Problem
By acknowledging the tragic reality of miscarriage and supporting those who grieve, we can build a culture of life and encourage our society to recognize the humanity of the unborn child.
The topic of miscarriage is one that is still largely taboo in our culture. It has only been in recent months that women and men have come out of the woodwork to publicly share their grief and anguish at the loss of an unborn child. Their bravery is often met with scorn, derision, or apathy.
I know, because I am one of these women. I have had four miscarriages. The most recent occurred just a month ago.
The sad reality is that many people are either afraid or unprepared to deal with the grief of miscarriage publicly. In a culture that lauds abortion on demand and dehumanizes the unborn child, this is understandable. Why talk about it? Until our society acknowledges the humanity of the unborn child, the pain of parents who lose their children before birth will continue to be ignored.
My Battle with Recurrent Miscarriage
My husband and I have one living daughter, and we have lost four unborn children in the first trimester. Each time, we have shared our pregnancies with family and friends immediately upon receiving positive pregnancy tests. It seemed completely natural to share the joy of our pregnancies, since a new life was created each time. A unique person of great dignity and worthy of celebration was coming into the world. Yet our openness meant that we shared the heartbreaking news of losing a child on four different occasions.
I cannot say that I knew the risks of miscarriage with my first pregnancy. It did not become a reality until we lost our daughter’s twin, and then we began down the path of recurrent miscarriage. Most doctors do not begin testing until two or three miscarriages occur. This makes it difficult for families to get answers early on in order to prevent recurrent miscarriage. After my third miscarriage, I went through a myriad of tests with a Catholic physician trained in Natural Procreative Technology (NaPro) and discovered that I have estrogen and progesterone deficiencies, which are usually treatable. For me, however, the treatment has not yet made a difference. I lost my most recent child while on natural progesterone and HCG injections.
Even after our first loss, we continued to believe we should celebrate each child, no matter how brief his or her life may be. Our grief at the loss of each child has been profound, but it has also served as a reminder that each human being is a gift from the moment of conception until natural death. Sharing our joy and sorrow helps bring a culture of life to a world dwelling in death. We rejoice and defend all human life, and we suffer with those who are grieving. The Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith described the dignity of the unborn this way in Donum Vitae:
Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.
In recognizing the profound suffering of miscarriage, we respect the unique “embodied spirit” (to quote Saint Thomas Aquinas) who is formed at the moment of conception. We demonstrate the dignity and joy of each new life and acknowledge that the loss of a human person occurs in miscarriage.
Miscarriage Implicates Abortion
There is little doubt that the biggest obstacle to helping families celebrate and grieve their lost unborn children is abortion. I began writing on this topic during my most recent miscarriage. I saw the need to harness my own grief and pain in the service of others. The response I received reveals what I suspected: far too many people do not feel they can share their grief because their early loss will not be recognized by family and friends as the loss of a child.
Planned Parenthood wants it both ways. If their rhetoric is to be believed, what is lost in a miscarriage is a baby—that is, if he or she is “wanted.” But if a woman chooses an abortion, then the child is somehow not really a baby…
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