It's So Personal, Ctd: A Doctor's View

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A reader writes:

Dr. Tiller's death - as any murder - is a great tragedy and subtracts something irrevocably from the human race. I don't want to dim the burning importance of this terrible event. But I feel I must make one important point. I disagree with late-term abortions in general, but late-term abortions for congenital cardiac defects are inexcusable. As a physician who specializes in taking care of children with these problems, I can categorically say that their care has improved immeasurably in the last decade.

A number of commenters have specifically singled out hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). While it is true that, as late as 15 years ago, the two options for HLHS were heart transplant or what was referred to as "compassionate care", in the hands of a skilled surgeon and a modern cardiac intensive care unit, children with HLHS have a better than 50% chance of surviving through all three surgeries.

Yes, the surgeries are long and difficult, and the recovery periods are longer. This field is some of the most technical and demanding in all of children's health care. But 100% of fetuses on the receiving end of an abortion die. It is indisputably a sad and disheartening thing that people in this country ever feel compelled to resort to abortion after the age of viability. But it is even sadder when that decision is made on the basis of bad information.

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