Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Abortion of harelip fetus condemned

A woman tagged "Bird Loving Fish 521" who posted a diary of her abortion online has been strongly condemned by netizens for terminating the six-month pregnancy, according to a report from the Information Times.
Harelip, also known as cleft palate, is a birth defect that occurs when the tissues form the upper lip do not join in the middle. [Information Times]
After consulting with her husband and parents, Fish decided to have an abortion after discovering through an ultra sound that the fetus had a harelip. Fish has faced many hard questions from netizens, with some asking the difference between a murderer and a heartless mother. "I am totally and utterly distressed at the thought of my baby mumbling and stuttering the way my niece does who also has a harelip. I cannot find a way out," Fish wrote in her first post on the web, July 11."It was the first time I had ever seen the lovely creature who has accompanied me for six months as I lay on a hospital bed for a check up. He is so cute. Sometimes he stretches, sometimes he gapes, and sometimes he sucks his little fingers. However it makes me shiver to see a cleft, ranging from 3 to 7 millimeters in his upper lip," she wrote the next day. "I surfed online for a cure but my niece's suffering and humiliation linger in my mind. When I stopped crying, I called my husband, parents, brother and friends. To my surprise, they also thought I should have an abortion. Finally I made up my mind to give him up," she wrote.Some netizens said they could understand Fish's choice, but the majority condemned the decision."Being a doctor, I don't agree with Fish, since a harelip is not incurable and a life shouldn't be terminated for such a tiny defect. Indeed the mother has the right to choose, but meanwhile she takes away the little foetus's right to live," a netizen tagged as Dr. Zhang Silai posted.In response, Fish wrote "it's futile for me to save my baby without a definitive 'Yes' from doctors or from my family."By contrast, Chinese pop diva Faye Wong and her husband mainland Chinese actor Li Yapeng, wrote on his blog on August 13 that the couple's newborn daughter underwent surgery for a cleft lip in the United States. Li wrote in his blog, "there's a tale in South America that every baby born with harelip is a god. Every year there's about 10 thousand 'gods' like our daughter Li Yan baptized in China. We have worked out a plan to establish a charity fund to help them."The rate of harelip, a birth defect, is about 0.18%, and is on the rise.
To help the harelip children, China has launched a charity programme "Smile Project" to provide medical treatment for the children with the birth defect.

It is a tragedy that this little gem who was a viable baby was aborted because of the medical and cosmetic challenges of a harelip. This is a condition that can be corrected through surgery. It is difficult to understand a decision to proceed with abortion at 24 weeks.


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