Thursday, March 16, 2006

ER and Abortion

The following is something I wrote when I first started blogging. No, this is not quite best of but since it is popular, I thought I would repost it for those who are new to this site (since nobody but me appears to hit the archives).

Recently there was an episode on ER which dealt with abortion. Abby is pregnant with Kovac's baby and decided to get an abortion. At the same time a teenager comes into the ER pregnant and it turns out that she is raped. She is not only a teenager but a professing Christian. Her parents decide she should keep the baby but Neela guilts Kovac (implying that his Catholicism is keeping him from giving the patient the proper care) into doing something about it and he offers the girl a way to induce a miscarriage. A procedure where the cervix is opened to give the fetus the opportunity to fall out. When she asks him if it is a sin, he says that it is a medical way of giving God a chance to reconsider.

After the procedure the teenager quotes the Bible, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee and before thou came forth from the womb I sanctified thee and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Kovac recognizes it as Jeremiah 1:5 and he replies "Man was born of dust and it was only when God breathed life into Adam that he became a living soul. Genesis." She asks him if he is a Christian and he shakes his head yes.

"What should I tell my mom? She'll think you're having a miscarriage and you will be."

When I watch shows like this I'm struck by how incredibly wrong the writers are about how a Christian would act or talk. They are at a loss how to portray Christians in any way that would resemble reality and when the Christian speaks they come across as one-dimensional talking points. The writers clearly demonstrate that they are completely clueless about Christianity (though I was a little impressed that Kovac attempted to address her concern with an appeal to the Bible even though a person with a little knowledge of the Bible would be able to respond to his point). I think that the producers should hire a Christian consultant who reads their stuff and critiques it (I am ready and willing).

But the reason for this post isn't all that because this is obvious and a given when you watch TV. Of course ER is going to advocate going behind the backs of the parents. Of course a doctor who says he is a Christian, who knows Jeremiah and the creation story, would be pro-choice and willing to give a young 15 year-old girl a medical procedure that could induce a miscarriage behind the backs of her parents and encourage her to lie to them. But what I was struck with was the long term implications of what he so blithely did. When she is more mature in her faith, when she thinks about what she did and really come to grips with the understanding that God creates life for a reason, that what happened to her was not an accident as far as God was concerned, then she will understand the depth of her sin in ending that life. He should have suggested she talk to a pastor or priest before she had the procedure so that she understood what she was about to do. At the very least, he should have suggested that she talk to someone afterward so that she was not silently living with what she did.

The horror of carrying a child conceived in rape is nothing compared to the horror of realizing that you have ended a life. This doctor let down his patient by giving her what she wanted, not what she needed. From a Christian perspective, one that she should share, the taking of a life is wrong and eventually she would have come to realize this because it is clearly what is taught in Scripture.

Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, you have to understand this, as a Christian we don't take these things lightly and it is a Christian that was being portrayed, not someone who did not care what God thought about what she did. A Christian desires to follow the word of God (what He says in the Scriptures).

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  1. Moonshadow said...
    I did read this when you first posted it and thought hard about it but nothing came.

    Reading it again and thinking hard again, did you understand Kovac to be saying that the human soul enters the body upon the first draught of breath and not before? (Genesis 2:7)

    If he is saying that, it's quite profound and biblical ... but it's not Catholicism.

    You allude to a biblical response for Kovac's position. Does the response involve John the Baptist's reaction to Mary's greeting whilst in Elizabeth's womb or something else?
    Moonshadow said...
    Have you watched Million Dollar Baby?
    michele said...
    Yes and the ones I used in my abortion post. I thought that Kovac's response was an interesting use of the biblical text but ultimately from other passages we see that life begins at conception.

    BTW, I may be wrong but I think it's a Lutheran position.

    No, I haven't seen Million Dollar Baby but I heard that it was about assisted suicide which I'm against.
    Moonshadow said...
    Million Dollar Baby is worth watching.

    Here's a review from Christianity Today.

    The fight sequences are difficult to sit through. No wonder the church has condemned professional boxing as "a form of legalized attempted murder."

    I struggled to concede that a man could attend daily Mass for 23 years and still consent to euthanize another. Even though his pastor advises him against it, the pastor could have done more for him.
    Sarah Faith said...
    I was searching for articles written on ER and abortion and I hated this episode. I don't think the girl even really wanted an abortion, Neela and Kovac brow-beat her into it. When she first talks to Neela she say she has two choices raise the child or adoption and when Neela suggests abortion the girl says it is out of the should have ended there but instead Neela pushed this girl and made her think she Needed and abortion. It made me sick and I stopped watching the show.

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