Facial Anomalies

The good thing about the fetal medicine business is that I don’t have very strong opinions one way or another about all the amazingly difficult decisions parents have to make when things are awry. I think that terminating a 2nd trimester fetus with no anomalies or pregnancy complications is disgusting (Sam Harris agrees, both of us being atheists). However when it comes to abortion, my take is that it ultimately matters very little if we don’t survive death. And it probably matters even less if we do!

I only shot one clip today and something fascinating happened. The speaker, talking about cleft lips asked if anyone has hadf a patient who wanted to terminate just because of a cleft lip. Keep in mind cleft lips are relatively easy to correct after birth and even involvement of the palate is very correctable nowadays. Barring a syndrome or some other life threatening associated anomaly all we are talking about is a surgical procedure with an amazingly good outcome rate (the little scar on Joaquin Phoenix’s lip would probably not even be evident if he were born today with current procedures). In the auditorium of about 300+ people there were about 4 hands that went up and one of them was the doctor sitting in front of me. I can’t imagine terminating a second trimester fetus for this alone. Maybe sometimes it may be the tipping point for someone who wanted to abort anyways.

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