NRL News

Unexpected (and pleasant) fallout from a story on perinatal hospice

by | Apr 19, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

perinatalhospice60We were very glad to be able to post yesterday about a story that actually treated perinatal hospice with (relative) fairness.

Based as it was on a news story that appeared in last Sunday’s Washington Post, it was doubly satisfying.

Perinatal hospice is a deeply humane movement that is spreading. As the Post’s Danielle Paquette explained, it is actually

a bundle of services, untethered to a hospital or medical center. Hospice nurses and social workers help families prepare for loss, coaching parents on what to say to siblings and co-workers. They take calls at 2 a.m. They recommend family therapists for couples whose relationships strain under grief. They teach mothers how to deliver painkillers to a dying infant, should the baby live long enough to go home.

Perinatal hospice is an alternative to abortion. It is a life-affirming way of helping parents deal with soul-wrenching reality that a child they deeply want will die in utero or likely within hours or days after birth.

I mention this post again for two reasons. First, its intrinsic importance not only to a “flourishing community” of parents who are connected online, but also to parents who will be faced with “non-viable pregnancies” in the future

Second, I was surprised that the Post would write a balanced story that is connected in any way, shape, manner, or form to abortion. But I was shocked when the militantly pro-abortion Jezebel website ran a follow-up story titled, “Perinatal Hospice Care Has Increasingly Become an Alternative to Abortion.”

Stassa Edwards recycles some of the usual negativity about states that (in some instances) require counseling about perinatal hospice but (in most cases) merely require that a list of providers be made available.

The operative three statements in Edwards’ piece are:

(1) “But for many women, perinatal hospice care has increasingly become an alternative to abortion and part of the grieving process. The Washington Post reports that perinatal hospice, ‘a birth plan about death,’ is now one of many options that women carrying fetuses ‘incompatible with life,’ have available to them.”

(2) “Now there are roughly 202 perinatal hospice programs in the United States. The programs focus simultaneously on grief as well as medical instruction.” And after citing critics,

(3)” Yet it’s clear that perinatal hospice is a service increasingly in demand. Undoubtedly perinatal care raises a host of ethical issues, for both mother and baby, and those discussions are bound to sticky subjects like quality of life, pain, grief, and mourning. The Post’s story profiles three women who chose perinatal hospice and it’s certainly worth reading in full.”

Perinatal hospice is a blessing for families in crisis. Kudos to Paquette for introducing this truth into the “mainstream media.”

Categories: Hospice