Miscellaneous Stories from the New England Christian Action Council: 1983-1991 [3]

John C. Rankin

(May 31, 2015)

These many years later, I am reviewing my files from full-time pro-life ministry, 1983-1991, when my office for the New England Christian Action Council (NECAC) was in Rockport, then Gloucester, then Boston, Massachusetts. I served as founder and executive director of what was always a shoestring operation. Here are various stories and communications that are worth recording, if for no other reason than I learned from them.

[3] Medical Option Given to “Dispose” of Fetus

Genetic Testing

Meg Lambooy (July 25, 1984)

It is not purpose to relate here my reasons for seeking genetic testing, but to recount the experience of it. Actually, one does not go for genetic testing; it is called genetic counseling. Within the first 10 minutes of my first interview with the geneticist I was counseled that amniocentesis was always available to determine whether or not any “fetus” of mine might be abnormal and that abortion was available to dispose of any such “fetus.” I told the doctor that I did not consider either of these procedures to be options. I also mentioned that I knew the possibility of a miscarriage existed when amniocentesis was performed. My words didn’t seem to phase him. He went on to say that the chance of miscarrying due to amniocentesis was insignificant as compared to the reality of a severely handicapped child. I felt rather sick at this remark. Here, so it seemed to me, was one person telling another that certain other undesirable persons could be gotten rid of if only they were detected soon enough. I also felt that he was telling me I wouldn’t really want my own child if it were retarded or deformed. It would be a greater tragedy to have to raise such a child than it would be to kill it.

The test I wanted done was performed, and the results were negative. However, another problem was detected. (This abnormality, I was told, had been linked to mental retardation in baby boys.) A second test was done. The cells did not grow well, but everything seemed fine. I was told my genes were all right. Then, six weeks later the doctor called to say the cells had begun to grow again, that the abnormality had appeared, and that he wanted to do a third test. Three weeks later I discovered I was pregnant. I saw no good reason to have the third test performed. Believing in God’s sovereignty, I knew that whether normal or abnormal my child had been created by Him for a purpose.