In his book Made to Live, Montreal physician Paul Saba gives examples of families and patients who chose life over death, despite the challenges. The book is inspired by his experience with his own daughter, who doctors suggested should be aborted.
I am a physician who believes that every life is valuable. This stems from my Christian beliefs and medical ethics, demonstrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, where Jesus portrays a man who helps take care of a severely injured stranger.
These beliefs are countercultural. During the time of Jesus, these beliefs also did not fit with the majority view that considered it noble in the name of autonomy and freedom to kill an infant or commit suicide if that person was weak or unhealthy.
Believing all life is valuable goes against today’s culture as well, where premature death by abortion, assisted suicide or euthanasia are legalized and promoted.
When my wife became pregnant, the doctors encouraged us to abort our young baby because they diagnosed a severe cardiac malformation and possible Down’s syndrome. They predicted our future daughter would have a poor quality of life.
We were faced with definite challenges for our Jessica. If we insisted on controlling the situation and preventing the problems by aborting her, Jessica would not be in our life today, and the joy of her presence would never have been.
Women confronted with the challenges of malformations or diseases in their babies – or raising their child alone – need to be supported by their family and community. I believe most women would keep their babies if they had support.
For people faced with the end of life, we need to love, care and ensure them that all medical treatments will be available.
In my book Made to Live (www.MadeToLive.com) I give several examples of families and patients who chose life over death, despite the challenges.
I believe Canada, like many countries that have adopted assisted suicide and euthanasia, finds it easier to eliminate people with physical or mental challenges rather than invest resources in healthcare. Governments market death as a solution for all kinds of illnesses. They falsely assert there is nothing to do to shorten illness and suffering except to die on your timing and display autonomy and freedom. Unfortunately, people who fall into the marketing schemes that governments and interest groups promote accept these lies.
We must give life a chance – never abandon someone even if the chances of survival seem remote. We are created by God in His image. In my mind, I see the fresco in the Sistine Chapel, where God is touching Adam’s hand giving him life. God gives us life. We have the responsibility and obligation to do everything to heal and preserve life and not intentionally end life through abortion, assisted suicide or euthanasia, which are the ultimate abandonment of our neighbour.
Why do some people plan their baby’s death or their own death? I believe people want to take control of their lives. But in trying to control our lives, we lose control. There are all kinds of addictions – alcohol, drugs, compulsive gambling, sexuality. These addictions control our lives. Why? Because humanity is not comfortable with the unexpected. In aborting our babies or being euthanized, we wreak havoc on our lives and the lives of others.
My intention is to encourage people to be hopeful, pray, act and value life because every life is precious and valuable – and as my daughter Jessica wrote: We are made to live.
Dr. Paul Saba is a Montreal physician who has studied, trained and worked in Canada, the United States and underdeveloped countries. His book Made to Live describes a physician’s journey to save lives. He's also the founder of Physicians for Social Justice.