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Issues Law Med. 1997 Fall;13(2):125-43.

Perinatal hospice: a response to partial birth abortion for infants with congenital defects.

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Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA, USA.


This article discusses decisions involving whether to terminate late-term pregnancies when fetal anomalies have been detected. Partial-birth abortion performed on fetuses with chromosomal abnormalities, while performed under the guise of reducing suffering, threatens the best interests of the mother and infant. An alternative for parents faced with the decision to terminate their pregnancy is perinatal hospice. Perinatal hospice recognizes the value of bringing these infants to term by treating them as beings conceived with a tangible future. This alternative is preferred because of post-termination psychological distress and because biblical teachings emphasize the dignity and worth of each fetus. Perinatal hospice supports parents through their grief when their infant dies and maximizes the opportunity for authentic mourning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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