The most recent episode of the television show “The Good Doctor” tells a life-affirming story in which an ailing mother and baby are both treated by a medical team. Monday’s episode of “The Good Doctor,” which follows the residency of Dr. Shaun Murphy, accurately portrays the sometimes extreme pressure parents face to choose abortion. A 36-year-old woman who is 22 weeks pregnant faces a difficult choice in how to treat her preborn baby’s life-threatening condition while managing her own health conditions. Despite the pressure of her doctors and husband to choose abortion, the mother insists on preserving her child’s Life and ultimately succeeds. As NewsBusters notes, “How refreshing, in an age when pro-abortion storylines are so frequently worked into television scripts, to see a pro-life message win out.”
Over the course of the episode, the mother, Barbara, fights for her baby’s Life. Barbara has already suffered three miscarriages when doctors discover that her preborn baby has a life-threatening tumor at the base of the spine. This type of tumor, called a sacrococcygeal teratoma, endangers the baby’s Life because the tumor grows so large that the baby’s heart and blood supply are overtaxed. In recent years, this condition has been successfully treated using groundbreaking open fetal surgery. One tiny Texan who is living proof is Lynlee Hope Boemer who underwent open fetal surgery at 23 weeks’ gestation. Today, Lynlee is a healthy one-year-old.
While “The Good Doctor” presents the option of open fetal surgery, the procedure is complicated by Barbara’s health conditions. Sadly, mothers in difficult medical situations are often told they must end their baby’s Life through abortion in order to save their own. The truth is that abortion is never necessary to save the Life of the mother. Continuing pregnancy can be an immediate threat to a mother’s Life, but even in these rare circumstances abortion is still not necessary. Doctors can end the pregnancy through the birth of the baby instead of deliberately, and violently, ending that Life while still within his or her mother’s womb. Although sometimes the baby is too premature to survive, doctors did not deliberately kill that child in an abortion and the mother’s health conditions can be better addressed after the pregnancy has ended.
Challenging medical situations pose serious risks to mother and baby. Patients must be given all of their options in order to give informed consent to a medical procedure that endangers their lives or the lives of their preborn babies. In the episode of “The Good Doctor,” a meeting of doctors and hospital administrators includes a discussion of the possibility of pretending to do the surgery and deliberately ending the baby’s Life in an abortion. Thankfully, even in a room full of people who think Barbara should choose abortion, they unequivocally reject that as “unethical and illegal.” Because Barbara refuses to change her mind, the team is forced to find a creative solution that will minimize the risks to Barbara’s health while performing life-saving surgery on her baby.
The episode leaves many aspects of the complex case unexplored but gives the audience much to ponder. If Barbara had not tirelessly advocated for her baby, her doctors would have killed him or her. Additionally, the amazing advances in open fetal surgery have given us an unprecedented look at the humanity of preborn Life. While the medical team unfailingly uses the dehumanizing term “fetus” and “it” to refer to the baby, the surgery demonstrates that there is a unique human Life in Barbara’s womb. This is why Margaret Boemer, the mother of Texas baby Lynlee who was successfully treated with open fetal surgery, is eager to show people the video of her baby’s surgery before birth. She says:
After seeing the video of the Open Fetal Surgery there is no denying that Lynlee is a baby that is a precious life that should be protected and not aborted. To see Lynlee’s perfectly formed body being carefully placed back inside of me, her legs and feet, no one can argue that she is just a clump of cells that should be robbed of the chance at life outside the womb. Lynlee’s little 1lb 3oz body at 23 weeks 5 days is a gift from God and it was His to allow to live through so much.