Sunday, April 28, 2013

How Complicit Are We in Jennifer Morbelli's Death?

Jennifer Morbelli, 1984 - 2013

Lifenews has a good article asking if perinatal hospice could have prevented Jennifer Morbelli's death during a botched late-term abortion by the notorious Roy Carhart. I want to bring up a related issue -- how much can her death be laid at the feet of our own passively accepted culture of death, one that tries to control the uncertainties, inconveniences and sufferings of life by pre-emptively choosing death?

Poor Jennifer Morbelli, advised by doctors that abortion was her best option when her very wanted child was diagnosed with fetal abnormalities. Now Jennifer is dead, victim of an circuit abortionist who killed the child and then moved on, leaving an untrained staff to treat the mother in the days-long process of seeing that her dead child was expelled without incident. It was not. And sepsis claimed another woman, this one a University of Delaware alumna. This is the face of safe, legal abortion.

But Jennifer Morbelli's death can be laid at our feet too -- it is our upside down culture of death that brought her to the abortionist who was unhampered by the medical standards that any Ob/Gyn practicing normal obstetrics would have to meet. No Ob/Gyn can leave a patient unattended, without providing a medical professional to take over, when a woman is undergoing a days-long labor and delivery , even if the baby has died in utero as happens. Medical care is still extended to the woman, for her safety.

Eric David Stabosz, 1983 - 1984

I will get personal about it. In 1983, at 30 weeks gestation of my baby, I was informed that my child had fetal abnormalities. I was told that the ultrasound showed what looked like tiny, flipper-like arms and legs. My husband and I were devastated. Taking a shower that night, I looked down at my swollen belly and thought to myself, "I'm carrying a monster". I was horrified. I was also grateful that this had not been discovered early on, because I had an overwhelming desire for an abortion. If I'd gotten the news earlier, how much of a temptation would it have been for me to desire an abortion despite my Church's teaching and my own knowledge that it was wrong? 

I was also blessed to have a wonderful Filipino Ob/Gyn, Dr Gloria Suazo, who had delivered all my children and was Catholic, like me. Dr Suazo did not do abortions and would never recommend one. She was so devoted to both patients during labor and delivery that when this son Eric went into fetal distress during my labor, Dr Suazo did an emergency C-section that she was later notified was questionable . Considering the pre-natal diagnosis, she should have considered ignoring fetal distress.

The process I went through during my son Eric's 100 days of life was similar to that described here in this burgeoning service of perinatal hospice. The only difference was that we continued to explore possibility's for Eric's survival, with his medical team's full cooperation . And, in fact, my virtual friend Evelyn Kraemer Mann writes about her son Samuel's life regularly-- Samuel has thanatophoric dwarfism like Eric had and had his seventh birthday last July. The Catholic News Agency did a good story on Samuel when he turned three.

Samuel Mann, 2005 - present

My point is, how tragic that we live in a culture where death is turned to again and again as the preferred solution to imperfection. Pre-natal diagnosis has morphed from a means to help children during gestation and prepare parents to deal with life-threatening diagnoses in their newborns to a method for choosing death by abortion over an undesired outcome of a flawed child, with all the attendant grief and difficulty that can bring. It's as if we think we can forestall the grief and horror of an early death by pre-emptively imposing that death first. We are doing the same thing at the end of life -- pre-emptively imposing death on our lived ones and ourselves in the hopes that by controlling death, we can forstall or even avoid its terrible sting. 

Jennifer Morbelli was as much a victim of our culture of death as of abortionist Roy Carhart. If you in your heart believe that pro-actively imposing death is the solution to dealing with circumstances that threaten normal life, your heart too is contributory to the death of innocents.


Anonymous said...

We do have a culture which does not respect the rights of the unborn. I would extend it to say that even childrens rights are not fully respected in our society. This story was so sad and unnecessary to have happened. Yes, I do believe that our culture often focuses on the wrong things and this influences peoples decisions greatly. Thank you for your viewpoint which is right on the mark.

Mike & Lisa DellaVeccchia said...


"Madison" or "Leigh." Names typically given by a family not wishing to reflect Judeo-Christian values in naming their children. It is a lot like Tyler and Peyton and Kendall and Casey and Riley and Jaiden and other new American safe names disinfected of all connection with God.

But then, when the abortive family buried her with her mother, they invoked the name of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital en memoriam.

As a side note, the name "Jennifer" possibly means "white fairy" or "white phantom" in a Proto-Celtic or Brythonic-Celtic language.

Either language is dead. But the souls of the mother and her daughter are not. So why pick a dead language to name a child, in the first place?

Or, maybe they named her after they killed her. Dead language. Dead baby. Dead mother. How fitting.

But at least, by naming the dead baby, the grandparents got to appear as if they were decent people who valued the humanity of their murder victim, if merely to salvage some modicum of posterity after they had killed her and caused their daughter's death. By bringing their daughter to Leroy Carhart---a man who shamelessly demonstrated that he could have cared less about the lives of mother and child---they might manage to redirect public attention away from their deadly ambivalence and onto their damage-control enactment of tenderness, compassion, and sensitivity: "See? We named the baby Madison-Leigh! We loved our granddaughter! We killed her. But we loved her. If we did not love her, would we have awarded her the franchise on that awesome name that we assembled ourselves out of the American unisex baby power name kit?

"Did we tell you that we also believe that we named a fetus, rather than a human being?"
But then again, the name Madison as a surname was a variant of Mathieson meaning son of Matthew.

Or did Jennifer just name her daughter after the mermaid in the movie "Splash?"

Leigh, in Old English, means "clearing in a forest." And in Proto-Germanic, it means "meadow."

So, altogether, the full name of the murdered child could very well mean "mermaid in a clearing in a forest." Although this sounds moronic, it would perfectly simulate the degree of jubilance that the parents and grandparents probably had about the child---a terrestrially relocated anthropological fish, who is not entirely human, exposed and parching in the sun, wind, and thunder of vanity, selfishness, and ambivalence. Better to let it die. Or just kill it.

Or was a hidden injection of 'Matthieson' into the name of the child an unintended stroke of God's etymological pen overtaking the unwittingly interpretive will of the parent or the grandparent---or whoever filled out the birth certificate (if there can have been one), or the confirmer of the obituary? Madison is at least the offspring of somebody whose parents were the offspring of somebody whose parents' parents believed in God---or who were at least nominally the inheritor of their nominal predecessors' connection with God.

Nevertheless, the baby has entered Heaven with at least a derivatively biblical name that it could announce at Saint Peter's gate.

It is also typical for a family that is so concerned with appearances and caste superiority, to hedge public opinion of themselves by turning to the mainstream religion and that religion's values, of their upbringing---or of their ancestors' upbringing---to represent themselves, while stylishly never admitting that their unrepentant behavior runs counter to the Bible's prohibition against murder.

Anonymous said...

Really? The husband, aunt & grandparents took this woman to a butcher and all you talk about is the meaning of this poor childs name. My daughter is named Madison and I take offense at your comments. My sisters name is Leigh. I was raised Catholic. Maybe you should preach about the atrocity that occured rather than names.

Jennifer Starr said...

I'd rather be named Jennifer than a stupid name like 'Lisa'.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, you are a psychopath!