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Definition. Anencephaly is the most severe of fetal neural tube defects, resulting from failure of the neural tube to close at the base of the skull in the third or fourth week (day 26 to 28) after conception, leaving skull bones that usually surround the head unformed .

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    1. Definition • Anencephaly is the most severe of fetal neural tube defects, resulting from failure of the neural tube to close at the base of the skull in the third or fourth week (day 26 to 28) after conception, leaving skull bones that usually surround the head unformed. • A child with anencephaly is indeed born without a scalp, without a vault of the cranium, without meninges, without either brain hemisphere and cerebellum, but is usually born with part of its cerebral trunk, brainstem.

    2. Definition • An ultrasound scan can detect an anencephaly as early as the 10th week. However, an anencephaly cannot be picked up or ruled out by an ultrasound scan until the 16th week of the pregnancy. • Further tests must be carried out (ultrasound scan, amniocentesis to check for AFP levels) to determine whether there really is a problem. Screening must take place between the 15th and the 20th week, the best time being the 16th week.

    3. Statistics 7% died in utero18% died during birth 26% lived between 1 and 60 minutes 27% lived between 1 and 24 hours 17% lived between 1 and 5 days 5% lived 6 or more days

    4. Is it ethical to abort an anencephalic, 10 week old fetus?

    5. Definition • Abortionincludes spontaneous (miscarriage) and deliberately procured (induced) termination of pregnancy with the resulting death of the human being at any stage of its development. • Usually done 20-24wks AOG when fetus is believed to be non-viable

    6. Abortion Direct Indirect one in which the direct moral objective of the action (immediate intrinsic purpose of the procedure) is therapy for the mother, but in which the death of the fetus is a side effect that cannot be avoided • Must be justified by: • act itself is directly for treatment of the mother’s pathology • the mother and physician would save the child if possible • death of child is not a means to treat the mother, only a side effect • proportionate reason for the procedure is to save the mother’s life • induced with the purpose of destroying human fetus after contraception

    7. HUMAN PERSONHOOD Pro-Life (Anti- Abortion) Pro-Choice (Pro-Abortion) God injecting a soul into the zygote at the moment of conception is impossible Defective babies: no limbs, no head, no brain, no ability to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch, no ability to think and reason. • Human personhood begins at conception. God injects a soul into the zygote at the instant of conception.

    8. "I believe that each human life is of infinite value, and since infinity cannot be multiplied or divided, remaining implicit in its infinity, so too is all human life precious and worthy of protection, no matter how long or short it may be."-Alison Davis Ethical pRINCIPLES

    9. Violated Ethical Principles • Inviolability of Life/ Human Dignity • All human life from the moment of conception is sacred. All have a duty to affirm, respect, love, preserve, and defend it. • Violation: harming/destroying life To be fully human… does not mean that all human functions must be actually present. By being a member of the human species, one possesses a nature that includes the potential for actual operations, even though this potential may never be actualized due to some anomaly. EVEN an anencephalic baby has HUMAN RIGHTS

    10. Violated Ethical Principles “ The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life”. Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith

    11. Violated Ethical Principles • Respect for Person • A child is the fruit and sign of mutual self-giving of spouses united in the exclusive commitment of marriage, conceived through the conjugal act, carried in the womb, brought into the world as a NEW and UNIQUE person regardless of his features. • Violation: disrespecting the person Lack of Mental Development is not a justifiable reason to disrespect (abort) a person

    12. Violated Ethical Principles “ From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother, it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already.” Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, nos. 12- 13 (1974}

    13. Violated Ethical Principles • Stewardship • Man has dominion over God’s creations: himself, other creatures, and the environment. A dominion that is not absolute but relative, shared with the true owner that is God. • Violation: harming/ destroying present or future creation of God No one can in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy an innocent human being. DonumVitae

    14. Violated Ethical Principles • Beneficence and Nonmaleficence • First, do no harm. The physician should act in the best interest of the patient. • Violation: Physician wants to harm the unborn child • Justice • Concerns the distribution of scarce health resources, and the decision of who gets the treatment "The goal is to add life to the child's days, not take it away nor just days to the child's life." American Academy of Pediatrics 2000 The anencephalic child, during his or her probably brief life after birth, should be given the comfort and palliative care appropriate to all the dying. National Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.)

    15. Violated Ethical Principles • Truthfulness and Honesty • The patient deserves to know the whole truth about their illness and treatment. • Autonomy • The patient has the right to choose their treatment

    16. Violated Ethical Principles • Double Effect • A foreseen evil may be allowed if the foreseen intended good effect is greater than and does not result from the evil effect. Anencephaly is not a pathology of the mother, but of the child, and terminating her pregnancy cannot be a treatment for a pathology she does not have.

    17. Upheld Ethical Principle • Growth through Suffering • Suffering is the greatest paradox of human life • Suffering, when endured with courage and united to the suffering of Christ, can and should be used to promote personal growth in both private and communal living

    18. NO! Is it ethical to abort an anencephalic, 10 week old fetus?