May is the month for cystic fibrosis awareness. It is also the month we conduct our annual Great Strides walk, which seeks to raise funds and awareness to combat this deadly disease. As I am a husband and a father before I am an amateur scientist, my loyalty is always going to be to my family.
I’ve said it before…we all have our biases. These are the presumptions that we bring to a particular issue. This can apply to everything from how we handle conflict at work to how we approach a research project. It also comes with us as part of our morality. Flawed though I am, I carry a certain moral code in me, just like you do, that I bring to the issue of cystic fibrosis.
At first, I was intrigued about the decline of cystic fibrosis in Brittany, a region of France. I’m not a mathematician, so wrapping my head about a formula that could show the increase or decrease in cases in any region just about blows my mind. I just don’t see how two people who haven’t been tested for a disease can prevent the future chances (roughly 1 in 4 according to Mendelian genetics) of the mutations being passed down. So when the cases were being reported in a decline in Brittany, I looked into it.
“We show, in this study, that the birth incidence of CF has dropped in our area following the implementation of prenatal diagnosis.” It’s so clinical…so sterile. We have found a drop in CF since we learned how to predict if a baby in the womb has CF. Well, there’s only one way that ends, isn’t there? So here are the numbers according to the Scotet study: A full 35.8% of CF children were aborted on the sole basis of them having CF. Not allowed to live. Killed in the womb. Let it sink in for a minute.
This is evolution at its finest. Humans, the current evolutionary peak in nature, have decided to conduct evolution for themselves. After all, in mid-century 1900s and before, people with CF didn’t usually live into their teenage years anyway. This is just speeding up the process. And why have a child who suffers when you don’t have to?
This doesn’t just apply to CF either. “They both now take part in both premarital and prenatal testing, and even though every one in five pregnancies is abnormal, they can determine which embryos carry two copies of the same mutation and choose to terminate.” This is in regards to Samaritans who can suffer from a wide array of genetic conditions. Yes, that’s the same Samaritans that Jesus talked about as being a good neighbor.
None of us want to pass on bad genes to our children. We want them to have the best of us…we want them to be better than us. So the answer is this: “Doctors can test a fetus early in pregnancy and terminate it if it carries the mutation.” This is in regards to Huntington’s disease. So that’s how we’re going to handle disease…terminate the mass of cells that just happen to be developing into a baby, just like we might cut out a cancer.
Look, it’s clear that I’m not a normal person when it comes to things like this. I’m a Fundamentalist when it comes to abortions. I love babies, though I’ve only fathered three of them myself. And though I am a Fundamentalist, I’m also very flawed. I’m sure everyone is a hypocrite about something, and I have played the role in my life too.
But this is tantamount to the Tower of Babel. We have decided to be gods. If a developing baby (we call it a fetus so that we don’t have to admit that it’s a baby) proves to have a genetic disease, we terminate (KILL) it. We have decided to take evolution into our own hands.
Alicia and I were very surprised to find out she was pregnant with our third child. We had decided long before to stop trying. At first, I was extremely hesitant to have another baby after our daughter was born with cystic fibrosis. I did not want more than one sufferer in our family. We had already dealt with one “tune up” and a minor CF-related surgery with Samantha. My heart couldn’t take another child with that. So I told Alicia I wasn’t going to have another child. We could adopt maybe someday, but that was it.
I came around at some point, but by then we had both gotten a little older and another child would change the dynamics of our family a lot. So even though I wasn’t as worried about the genetics anymore, we decided two children were enough.
Imagine my surprise then, when she told me we were going to have another child! We went in for our first meeting with her OBGYN and wouldn’t you know it, one of the first things we talked about was genetics. I don’t remember the exact conversation word for word, but here’s the gist:
Doctor: So I see you have cystic fibrosis in your family history.
Us: Yes. Our daughter has the disease.
Doctor: Do you want to test your baby for it?
Us: No thanks.
Doctor: It’s a relatively easy test.
Us: That isn’t the point.
Doctor: So I assume you’d keep the baby even if you found out it had CF?
Doctor: Ok, then we’ll approach this by checking via ultrasound as the baby develops to check for signs of CF so we’ll know how to handle the baby once he or she is born.
Us: That would be wonderful.
I’m not better than you, and this isn’t an attempt on my part to pretend to be better than you. The sins you struggle with are not the sins I struggle with and vice versa. But ending the life of a baby is not a sin I struggle with.
I am convinced that the vast majority of humans would not kill their newborn babies even if they found out immediately after birth that the child had a crippling disease. They just wouldn’t. So in order to combat that issue, humans kill the baby when it’s a fetus so they don’t have to admit that it was a baby. This is how modern evolution works.
We found out a few weeks after our youngest daughter, Hannah, was born that she carries the same mutation we do, but only from one of us (since we both carry the same cystic fibrosis mutation, we’ll probably never know which parent she got it from). She does not have cystic fibrosis, but she is a carrier. Theoretically, she, like her parents, are protected from tuberculosis, though I’m not going to put her in a position to test that theory.
I just don’t understand how researchers and writers can be so sterile when talking about abortions as if though they are the best way to handle genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis, Tay Sachs, sickle cell anemia, etc. Yet it’s true…staring me right in the face. The research proves it’s a tool being used in many parts of the world now.
This doesn’t mean that people who abort their babies are bad people any more than my sin makes me a bad person. Yet I do believe that it makes a person misguided and maybe shows a weakness on their part to look for the easy way out. Samantha has had three hospitalizations and two procedures since she has been born, all CF-related. And she has gotten off “easy” as it were. Many sufferers have gone through more.
Yet I wouldn’t have given her up for the world if we had known she was going to go through this. Instead, we work to find a cure by supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and raise awareness through talking to people about CF, my writing, etc.
To join our fight against cystic fibrosis, click HERE.
To stay up on the latest research on evolution and creation, click HERE.
 Scotet et al. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 2012, 7:14
 Kenneally, Christine. The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape our Identities and our Futures. Viking Publishing Group, New York, NY. 2014. pg 300.
 Ibid – 293