Abortion-The Hard Cases
Less than 3% of abortions occur because of rape, incest, or fetus deformities. Less than 1% of abortions are because of the most extreme situations. In this article we are going to look at an example of one of the most horrific situations that could occur in a woman’s life. It is based upon a true story. This is a story that will cause even the most pro-life person to ask the question, “is abortion ever permissible?”. Any pro-life person who reads about this story and is sincere, will say that there is no simple canned answer to this question. Some might even say, “yes, in this situation, abortion is permissible. Please take the time to read Dina Zirlott’s story before reading this article.
Without lessening Mrs. Zirlott’s story, her situation falls under the 1% of reasons why women get an abortion. A case for late term abortions, or allowing a baby to die after it is born, cannot be built off of her story because it is not the reason for 99% of abortions, and a majority of those who support late term abortions support them for any reason a woman gives for wanting an abortion.
Dina’s Story-I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter
At age 17 Dina was violently raped at her home. It was not because she was promiscuous, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, because she was a troubled young lady. She had not put herself in a bad situation. It was an act of violence by a young man she knew and trusted. Like many rape victims she felt filthy, ashamed, unable to tell anyone, and this honor student and varsity cheerleader went down a spiraling path of depression, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. On a regular basis Dina would see her rapist at school. (She felt there is no way she could survive going to trial regarding being raped.)
Eight months later Dina’s mother found out about the rape, and had tested to see if she was pregnant. Dina was eight months pregnant. Dina was distraught she did not even recognize the signs of being pregnant. Needless to say during these eight months she did not do anything that a pregnant woman should do for the health of their daughter.
The Worse News Possible
When Dina received an ultrasound, she got some of the worse information anyone could get. Dina’s doctor pointed on the ultrasound to a darkness where gray brain matter ought to be. She called it hydranencephaly, a congenital defect in which the brain fails to develop either cerebral hemisphere, instead filling with cerebrospinal fluid. The fetus continued to experience development because the brain stem was still intact, but she would be born blind, deaf, completely cognitively stunted, prone to seizures, diabetes insipidus, insomnia, hypothermia and more. The doctor said “This condition is not compatible with life.” It was too late for Dina to get a late term abortion because illegal in Alabama and the baby would be born before an abortion could occur in another state. Dina’s words: This is “cruel” and “inhumane.” I had already suffered one trauma. Was that not enough? I was so fragile, hanging on to my life by a thread, desperate for some sense of normality, and still more was now being taken from me in the most visceral sense.
Zoe Lilly was born a month later. Dina, “I remember curling in on myself in the maternity ward, 18 years old, re-traumatized and flashing back to the attack, paralyzed by indecision. My milk came in, and I was furious ― it felt like a cruel joke. I could not imagine then how this would evolve over a year, how I could be so full of love for this child and also wish she had never been born.”
When Zoe was born the doctor asked if the family wanted to take life saving measures to preserve Zoe’s life.The neurologist stated: “The most t basic functions of her body were being controlled by her brainstem, but that was it. It would be a kindness to make her comfortable and let her go in peace.” The family decided to take the life saving measures.
Everything the doctor described would occur with Zoe ultimately happened. A year later Zoe died of heart failure. (The reader really needs to read Dina’s story to understand the horror she went through regarding the rape, seeing her rapist on a regular basis, finding out she is pregnant, and seeing Zoe suffer.)
Late Term Abortion
Dina’s not only caring a baby conceived through rape, but is told at eight months of pregnancy that her baby if born is going to have most of the brain undeveloped, be blind and deaf, little cognitive ability, and suffer physically in an unimaginable way. (It is possible that with the brain so undeveloped that Zoe may not have felt the pain we would imagine. But any mother would certainly feel tremendous pain watching their newborn baby going through ongoing seizures, unable to sleep, experiencing hypothermia, and being blind and deaf.)
There is most likely not a single person on earth that can comprehend what Dina went through. There certainly is no human being that would want her experience. It is unimaginable. So is this an example of a hard that that justifies abortion, even late term abortion, or even allowing the baby to die once born?
Pregnancy Through Rape
As a man who will never be raped and become pregnant, I cannot relate with any woman who has been raped. So my position has to be based upon what I see as principles in Scripture, what I believe is ethical, and moral, and to be consistent in regards to abortion is immoral, not upon emotions or feelings. As a strongly pro-life person I absolutely believe two wrongs do not make a right-the wrong of rape and the wrong of killing an innocent baby. I also know women who have no regrets carrying their baby (conceived by rape) to term and either keeping the baby or giving it out for adoption. At the same time I can completely understand a woman who has been raped may feel her only option is an abortion. Especially a woman who has no relationship with Christ and does not have the power of the Holy Spirit living within her. But also understand how even a Christian woman may feel the need to abort the child. I would personally would encourage her to surround herself with supportive friends, get godly counsel, cry out to God for strength, and to strongly consider carrying the baby. But I would personally honor her decision to have the baby aborted if it was very early in pregnancy, I can accept rape and incest as reasons for abortions done early in pregnancy. I don’t agree, but I accept.
Unborn Baby with Defects
With Dina’s story it goes much further than rape. It is clear the baby will be born with multitudes of conditions and will for sure experience unimaginable suffering and not live for very long. Another challenge for someone who is strongly pro-life. I do not believe that just because a baby will have deformities that it should be aborted. People with deformities are not lesser human beings. It is very clear that there are multitudes of people born with deformities that live productive lives. I am totally against eugenics (the trademark of Nazi Germany). Aborting an unborn baby just because it has a deformity is a form of eugenics.
At the same time, when looking at Dina’s situation and the condition of Zoe, as an extremely pro-life person I have to say I completely understand Dina’s statement: “I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter.” I would also say as a pro-life person, I believe the right thing to do was for Dina to give birth to Zoe. I strongly believe in a miraculous God that can do miraculous things and doctors have been wrong. However, I also know that God is sovereign and many times does not do miracles. But I believe Zoe had the right to be born. I believe every child has the right to be born (even in rape, incest cases, even though I respect those who believe otherwise).
Based upon the facts of Zoe’s physical condition when she was born, it is very similar to a person who has a sickness or accident and is diagnosed as being brain dead. 99% of the time these individuals die when life support is removed from them. It is the life support that is keeping them alive. I believe the removal of life support is ethical if all parties involved consent to it. Thus if Dina had decided to not take life saving measures it would have been ethical and infanticide.
Looking at Dina’s story, and the issue of a pregnancy conceived by rape, and a baby with unimaginable birth defects, I as a pro-life person believe there are the 1% hard cases where abortion is permissible. I would not feel right telling someone like Dina that it would have been wrong if she got an abortion. I most likely would have counseled her that it would be best to carry the baby to term, but it would be okay to not take extreme life support measures to keep Zoe alive when born. I can completely understand the neurologist stating it would be kindness to keep Zoe comfortable and let her pass in peace. But I would totally support someone in Dina’s case if they decided to preserve the life of their baby.
Christ in the Situation
I have no idea if Dina or her parents are Christians. I personally believe in these 1% situations that all things can turn out for good if Christ is in situation. If you read Dina’s story there is tremendous pain, suffering, and it appears she is still very wounded. I believe through Christ men or women who are raped can be emotionally healed. I believe through Christ they should file charges against the perpetrator and God can give them the strength to go through the trial process. I believe healing can come from doing what is the right thing, justice being served. I believe that through Christ a person can carry a baby conceived in rape or incest. Nothing is too big for God. I know about suicidal thoughts and know the personal hell I have gone through and God carried me through it. God is no respecter of people. His grace is sufficient for EVERYONE. I believe that a person with Christ could go through the hell of seeing their baby suffer like Zoe, and not have regrets that they did not allow their baby to die. I believe a person through Christ can raise a child with birth defects. I believe these things because others have gone through these things with Christ in their life and have powerful testimonies. I became a believer in Christ because of the story of a baby born with Down’s Syndrome and the ‘hell’ that their parents went through. Their birth and story changed my life. (Angel Unaware by Dale Evans) There are individuals who were conceived through rape or incest, or born with major defects that are thankful they were not aborted.) ALL THINGS CAN WORK OUT FOR GOOD with God in the picture.
If you are considering an abortion, we appeal to you to reconsider. I understand there may be some very strong reasons why you are considering an abortion. Understandable reasons. But your decision has eternal consequences. Please give a call 24/7 at 1-866-926-8463. 1-866-WANTGOD. We have people to listen to your story.
If you have had an abortion this must be very hard for you to read. You may have guilt, shame, condemnation, and believe God hates you. I want to assure you that is not the case. He instead wants to comfort you. Please me a call 24/7 at 1-866-926-8463. 1-866-WANTGOD. We have people to encourage you.
I judge no one who has obtained an abortion. I had my own child aborted.