A Choice of Life or Death
This is a true story.
My wife has spent many years volunteering in various causes, most of them related to the Pro-Life movement. One of the organizations she volunteers for operates a group home for women in crisis pregnancy situations. This home specifically helps pregnant homeless women get through pregnancy in a stable and safe environment. They are able to have their babies, and given the time and resources to get back on their feet. This includes staying in the home for several months after their baby is born.
Yesterday, a tragedy beyond the comprehension of most parents occurred. One of the women my wife has been helping gave birth to a baby boy last week. He was full term, and was full size, but he had some heart issues. As a result, he needed surgery. After he had his surgery he made it through the weekend. His poor little body was battered by the trauma of such an event, but alive and improving. His mother was hopeful – until the state stepped in.
Previously the mother of this new boy had lost custody of her other child. In Oklahoma domestic violence can be grounds for removal of children, even from the custody of the victim. Since the mother in this case had not regained custody of her two year old – that is due to happen later this summer – someone with the Department of Human Services decided to take custody of the baby while he was in neonatal intensive care. This was done despite the child being in a secured environment both in the hospital and in the group home he where mother and child would recover. By doing so, medical decisions were removed from the mother and given to bureaucrats.
In the afternoon of April 22nd, a worker with DHS decided to intervene, consulted a “judge” and instigated an emergency hearing to decide the fate of this little baby boy. The mother was forced to plead her case in the administrative judges’ chambers, with the hospital on speaker phone. Upon his decision, and over her objections, the baby was taken off of life support, drugs, ventilator, and pacemaker. This began while the mother was away from the hospital, and before she could even hold her child. She arrived back at the hospital shortly before the end. Her baby died at 5:38 pm.
If this story does not rip at your heart, nothing will. This is someone who was relying on private charity, attempting to rebuild her life, and life and death decisions about her child were taken from her by the state. There was no trial. There was no chance of appeal. Our government has taken it upon itself to “protect” the children, even when that means stripping parents of their rights, and making decisions that may kill those very children. In this case, it did.
I don’t know the answer to all of this. I know a tragedy has occurred. I know the state should not have the power to strip parental rights without a jury being involved. I know people are victimized by their government in the name of safety and protection, all the way down to a newborn in the hospital.
I know my heart is heavy for this mother and her children, and I will hold my family close tonight and pray for her.