I read an article claiming presidential candidate Rick Santorum does not believe that health insurance should cover amniocentesis because the results often lead to abortion.
Yes amniocentesis has led to abortions, but it has also given parents an opportunity to prepare for children with special needs months before the child comes home from the hospital.
I have been blessed to know a couple mothers who truly valued this time to prepare. In one case, the mother was able to research her baby’s condition, prepare her home and family, sell her car and buy a minivan, and most especially prepare herself for the complications that might take her baby’s life.
She was encouraged to have an abortion many times during her pregnancy; her decision against abortion was questioned and often condemned by those in association with her. However, she stood firm. Her child was given a very slim chance of making it to full term and she prepared herself. Once he made it to term, he was given a very slim chance of survival and again she prepared herself. The well prepared mother took each day as a blessing and cherished every moment. She rallied her family around her and continued to educate herself and her family on what might come next. After nearly three years of being told her child might not survive, she invited all her supporters to her son’s second birthday party. He was a joy to watch, a blessing to all. He still is.
If insurance companies do not pay for this procedure, women are much less likely to undergo it. As with any procedure, it should be the woman’s choice. Comprehensive insurance should be comprehensive. It should leave the decision of which procedure is needed up to the doctor and the patient, not up to bureaucrats and accountants.
The discussion of abortions being linked to amniocenteses should not be centered on whether the procedure is covered; it should be centered on changing the medical community’s feelings that they should encourage abortion when the chances of “normal” life are slim for the child. This is what needs to change.
Abortion may be legal and may be in some cases be in the woman’s “best” medical interest, but to encourage it for the goal of limiting possible emotional suffering or struggle later on, should not be the outcome of amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is a test and while warring against it is easier than changing attitudes, it is not the solution but the cop-out.