Where is Truth?

“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus. I have a hard time when reading those words aloud because there are two ways to interpret them. Most people take them at face value, an honest question about the meaning of truth. On the other hand, what if, in truth, Pilate had a “who cares” inflection to the words. What if he was blowing off the whole concept of truth – indeed, Truth Himself was standing before him – as inconsequential?

We have before us these days the same situation. What is truth, we ask, as deception swirls around us in every venue, particularly in news headlines which play to one audience-grabbing theme and then will segue into something less sensational but bearing truth. This is especially apparent in “news” coverage about pre-born life. The onslaught against the truth about the beginnings of human life is deadly.

How the News Tugs Your Heartstrings With Half-Truths

On February 25, Fox News Digital presented a story by Kendall Tietz: “Pro-life states consider abortion exceptions in cases of fatal fetal anomalies.” It was the same old stuff, eight paragraphs about the Texas woman who couldn’t abort her child with Trisomy 18 in her state and had to travel to get the procedure elsewhere. The story went on to describe potential legislation in Nebraska, which would allow abortions on a “nonviable fetus,” and in Tennessee for “health and life of the want-to-be mother.”

However, the next thirty-plus paragraphs contained the real news, the other side of the story about how the dreaded Trisomy 18 does not always mean a “nonviable fetus” and, in fact, it pointed out there are many of these children of all ages living in the United States. Perhaps the reporter was required to have a grabber headline and a few paragraphs about current legislative measures to kill off a living preborn living child. Perhaps the editorial higher-ups thought a positive story on Trisomy 18 would garner few readers on its own merit

Trisomy 18 occurs when the child had an extra copy of chromosome 18. All trisomies create developmental problems because the extra genetic material creates mixed signals in the baby’s body, though not all children with the anomaly are affected by it the same way. Heart and lung problems, misshapen appendages and head are frequent anomalies. Some of these difficulties cause death in utero or soon after birth, yet other children, with corrective surgery after birth if they survive that long, can live for months or years.

There is, of course, no way to predict while the child is in the womb whether or not the baby is a survivor or for how long.  But then, it appears the majority of those in the medical profession who talk to parents stunned by the diagnosis, already have a simple outcome in mind. Since many of the children could die soon, the medics have decided all should die in a perverted twist of equity.

The parents, reeling from the devastating diagnosis, are given no positive information, rather it is pronounced that the child is “nonviable” and it is far better to abort this damaged fetus now, at whatever stage of gestation, mourn the loss, and get on with life. Parents are vulnerable to such “expert” opinion and most do as they are told. 

This is the point at which the remainder of the Fox story begins. It’s as if the reporter asked, “What is truth?” and got an answer.

“My daughter Verity is nearly seven years old ,” said Beverly Jacobson in an interview with Fox News Digital. “And there are hundreds – maybe even thousands – of babies, children, teens and adults in the United States like her who are living with Trisomy 18.” In the accompanying picture, Verity is seen with a big smile on her face while seated on her mother’s lap.

Jacobson was given the trisomy diagnosis in a phone call, and told if the child survived to birth, it would live only 5-15 days with severe defects. When Jacobson sought more information about her child’s medical needs if the child survived, subsequent conversations, even with the head of a university hospital department, were also less than helpful. The child’s life – if she survived – was described as “futile,” and would be detrimental to the family.

Therein lies the problem – here was the head of the university hospital department leading Jacobson and others like her down a one-way street: get rid of the problem. And how many others taught at the university medical school and at medical schools around the country recite the same words to parents trying to cope with such an unexpected diagnosis. Over and over the words are told to them like a brainwashing regimen toward one avenue – death to the child.

Are these doctors so one-dimensional they can only recite what they were “taught”? This is the way it is, they are told, with no alternatives, far less positive ones. Don’t ask questions, let’s go on to the next topic.  Can these students not use Google to read a bit on their own and truly learn that the horrible death-deserving disabilities they have been taught to abhor are, in truth, not so horrible to those who live with them. Are they such dunces that they just take the professor’s words as Gospel truth without a twinge of conscience, or worse, just to get a grade?

Thousands of parents have fallen victim to these harsh attitudes about a genetic defect. The Fox story quoted  Dr. Tara Sander Lee of the Charlotte Lozier Institute who said, “Before birth, as many as 60% of babies diagnosed with Trisomy 13 or 18 are aborted.…A Japanese study shows that when babies with Trisomy 18 received appropriate care and surgical interventions, 81.5% survived until discharge.” She went on to say with corrective heart surgery, there can be “an even longer median survival of 15 and 16 years.”

Beverly Jacobson and her husband found the truth about six weeks after their daughter Verity’s diagnosis. They got connected with online support groups and she “began to hope that we could meet her alive.”  And they did. Out of this experience came the nonprofit organization, Verity’s Village, to provide families with positive options for their children living with genetic conditions. 

Theirs is an uphill battle. Consider this, parents are given horror not truth from their trusted doctors whose recitation of facts leads to the conclusion that the only thing which will save them from disaster is death of the child as soon as possible. What they say must be true, many parents think. He’s a doctor, he wouldn’t lie about this. And they obey.

Abortion for whatever reason has been present for centuries; it was even condemned in the Didache, the Teaching of the Apostles from 100 AD. And in our recent times, the issue of destroying a living child because of a disability has always lurked beneath the surface of our society, only becoming headline news in the current abortion-crazy political milieu. Rape, incest, and life of the mother can squeak by as exceptions to abortion limits, why not a child that isdeformed and easily labeled “nonviable”? It may have a heartbeat, may be moving within the mother, but its life isn’t worth living. An exception is surely needed for that is the thinking.

The discovery of prenatal diagnosis through amniocentesis blew the doors open on this travesty. Amniocentesis has had legitimate medical uses, particularly in detecting Rh blood incompatibility in pregnancy. But when it was discovered that the procedure’s test results could reveal the genetic Trisomy 21 – Down Syndrome – the hunt was on to discover anomalies and eliminate them. Forty years ago it was common practice: Amniocentesis was only done if the mother agreed to abort the child if a disability was discovered. For a mother to want a diagnosis so she could prepare for a disabled child was not considered a good enough reason for the test. 

From Our Own Magazine ten years ago…

Ten years ago, in 2014, in an effort to counter the growing abortion industry, the Bellarmine Forum dedicated the four issues of its quarterly magazine to examining life issues frombeginning to end, including a prescient view of the end-of-life and assisted suicide issues we are now facing. The second issue, Life: Unborn and Forsaken dealt with the same issues blasted on the news today – death to the disabled – but included the ugly side of selling baby parts; the allure of perfection, written by a doctor who performed in vitro fertilization. Parents with a disabled child were invited to write about the experience. 

In “Is it a Life Worth Living,” Ann DeJak wrote on quality of life, the lack of a certain quality being a big disqualifier for continued life:

“[Our son]Thomas has a quality of life. He gives and receives love in such a simple and innocent way and very much keeps our focus off ourselves. His presence day in and day out in our home is a blessing to our 7 other children and John and me and I daresay to anyone else who comes into our home. This is not to say that Tom’s care is easy or without extreme disappointment, fatiguing frustration, and sometimes heart-wrenching worry…. Love is learned day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Get up, fall down, get up again. Even Jesus fell three times carrying His cross….This is the school of love, this is life worth living, this is quality life. Tom has a quality life by virtue of his capacity to give and receive love. One’s capacity to love and be loved is not lessened because of any particular disability. It can be, rather, perfected and enhanced.”

Elsewhere in that issue, a young lady with Down Syndrome was asked her opinion of  parents and the challenges of raising a child with a disability:

“You can’t get rid of a child with a disability. It’s not the right thing to do….They [the parents] need to get real about it. It’s the kid they have. Just because it’s a lot of work doesn’t mean you should get rid of the kid. Parents can teach the child new things. This whole Down syndrome thing [aborting a child with DS] – the parents need to get a life about that because it’s not difficult to have a kid with a disability. It’s just a part of life.”

Here it is, 2024 and the horrible deception continues. The news media championed the efforts of the Texas woman mentioned earlier in this article who wanted to delete a “much-wanted” child because it would have Trisomy 18 and would die soon anyway. Her doctors had added that carrying the pregnancy would threaten her life, even though Trisomy 18 in the child has no effect on the mother. Many believed what they read about the case because we grow up believing what teachers, doctors, experts, politicians, and newspapers tell us. And if it is on the internet, it has to be true – even if what all of these experts say is horribly wrong and deadly.

What is truth and where can we find it?

This article, Where is Truth? is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

Cindy Paslawski

CINDY PASLAWSKI earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota, back when truth and accuracy were prized. She has been active with the Wanderer Forum Foundation almost since its inception, while working as a reporter for The Wanderer newspaper. She has also worked on the front lines as a church secretary and most recently as a freelance book editor. As the Wanderer Forum Foundation/Bellarmine Forum's executive secretary and publication editor since 1995, she has overseen production of the Forum Focus and the Bellarmine Forum magazines, coordinated Regional and National Wanderer Forums, and saw to the publication of both Saving Christian Marriage (2007) and Slaying the “Spiritˮ of Vatican II With the Light of Truth (2017). She and her patient husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.

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