On January 2, 2020, CBN News posted an article:
Those of us in the fight for life and justice, for both the born and unborn find this appalling. That against the wishes of a mother, her child – who is NOT brain dead – would be removed from life support at the decision of a team of medical professionals and citizens, so that she would die. The mother has said very clearly “I want to be the one to make the decision for her,”. As should be her right.
What I’m having a difficult time comprehending is the unconscionable statements made about this child, and the slanderous statements about the mother of this child could be made by a public figure in the pro-life community, Abby Johnson. Yet, here we are. In this post I hope to be able to expose the hypocrisy of the pro-life movement when it really comes down to the issues of life. The best thing that I can do is let the comments speak for themselves. I have used her own publicly made comments, and I have some questions and thoughts as I think through this. I hope this will help us to all think through these issues, and not blindly follow talking heads of the pro-life establishment.
Abby Johnson is a well-known Catholic pro-lifer, event speaker, author, and heroine of the movie Unplanned which is based on her own real life events. She is an ardent opponent of the total abolition of abortion all while saying things such as:
“I use my voice to end abortion every single day. Do you understand what happens if a state decides to “defy” the federal government?…no more Medicaid for children or medically fragile children. Many hospitals would close…How is that a prolife response.” emphasis mine
Abby attempts to paint the abolition of abortion as not being for or pro life because the abolition of abortion seeks to encourage states to defy the federal government and Supreme Court by establishing state sovereignty. Due to this Abby attempts to paint abolitionists as not caring for the life of medically fragile children. We are accused of not actually being for life at all.
But in the case with this alive very medically fragile child Abby Johnson shows that she in fact does not care for medically fragile children – at least not this little girl, Tinslee Lewis. Against the wishes and desire of the child’s mother to allow her child to live, Abby Johnson says:
“This is the right decision. This little girl is terminal. Every day that she is kept alive is excruciatingly painful for her. There are worse things than death.”
First, this is an extremely callous public statement. I shudder at the thought of Tinslee’s mother reading this statement that was made on Twitter. First “This is the right decision” – not according to the mother of the child. This is the child that God gave this mother, God entrusted her life and well being to this mother’s care. Period. “This little girl is terminal” – guess what Abby, all life is terminal. Unless Jesus returns before us, we all die. What is important is what we do in the meantime. The value that we uphold for human beings that are worthy of life and dignity simply because they are made in the image of God. There are worse things than death is a repugnant statement to every single person that has ever lost a child. How shameful and wicked to say that. If there are worse things than death then why even fight against abortion at all if death is not the worst thing? Why do you not think it is the worst thing that this mother would most likely ever endure to not be able to hold or kiss her child? To sing to her, to watch her get excited at watching Trolls. Abby- why is that not the worst thing?
The hospital has unquestionably made a death sentence for Tinslee Lewis. By choosing to take her off of life support they ensure that she will die. Being prolife we should be against the death of this human being. Being in agreement with taking her off of life support is inconsistent with the values of those that seek to preserve life for the born and unborn. When Challenged with having an inconsistent view Abby Johnson says:
“How is that? Death is a part of life. Sometimes, when all medical interventions have failed, we have to let God be God. He can either choose to sustain her or take her with Him.”
We can seek medical help, that God has in His kindness provided to us. He has given us the minds and hands and doctors and technology to support life. This is a fatalist view to say that God can choose to sustain her or not. We can stop going to doctors and dentists and taking antibiotics. When we get sick we can just die if God does not choose to sustain us. He does sustain us- He gives us help- If this is true that God can choose to sustain then we can just sit at home and do nothing because God is going to do what He wants anyway. Is God going to do what He wants – YES – however God establishes the ways and the means by which these things come about. If we reject the assistance that God has established for us to sustain life then we are simply fools.
And if we apply her rhetoric to abortion then we should offer no medical assistance to children who survive abortion, I mean after all, God can choose to sustain them. If they die, then I guess by Abby’s estimation it’s God’s fault because He didn’t choose to sustain them. And if that’s the case then why do anything to stop abortion at all?
“This isn’t euthanasia. This is allowing God to be God and for her body to naturally live or die. Euthanasia is pulling the plug when someone could live. This little girl can’t.” – Abby Johnson
“Allowing God to be God and for her body to naturally live or die” The mother of Tinslee Lewis is not disallowing God to be God by trying to preserve the life of her daughter. If I stop taking my blood pressure medicine I will die. I am not shaking my fist at God by trying to preserve my life and avoid a stroke or aneurysm by taking my blood pressure medicine.
Regardless of whether or not this fits the legal definition of euthanasia it is crude to just refer to “pulling the plug” on Tinslee. How obnoxious for her mother to have to see a public figure for the prolife establishment speak about her child in this way. Concerning the mother of Tinslee, Abby has some very hurtful things to say as well.
“Sometimes, it is hard to families to make the best decision. Obviously. They are too emotional to make the best decision. If the family is prolonging an inevitable death, at the expense of this little girl who is experiencing excruciating pain, then someone has to step in” – Abby Johnson
“The parents aren’t allowing God to have His way. They are artificially keeping her alive. They are playing God” – Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson casts doubt on Tinslee Lewis’s mother to be able to make the best decisions for Tinslee…based off of what? How does Abby Johnson have any insight into the decision making capabilities of Tinslee Lewis’s mother?? Because she’s too “emotional to make the best decision”. The family is prolonging an inevitable death and someone, i.e., government and hospital, has to step in. Because ‘surely’ (sarcasm) they care for and know better how to make decisions on whether or not this woman’s child should live or die. So Abby, you are saying that the parent is unable to make informed decisions about the health care of her own child? Abby Johnson is using crafty legal language to accuse her of being an unfit mother. Abby accusingly says the parents are playing God…but the hospital is not playing God by petitioning the courts to end the life of this child.
So I have to ask myself, why is this famous prolife leader and speaker so pro-death in the case of Tinslee Lewis?
Where is Abby Johnson’s compassion for this medically fragile child?
Why is Abby Johnson advocating for the ending of life support for this child?
Why is Abby Johnson not supportive of this mother in making decisions for her own child?
Why would she publicly say such cruel things?
The position that Abby Johnson actually holds is very in line with pro-aborts that we hear frequently out at the clinics, which goes the baby should die because it might be in poverty, or sick, or abused, that they will have to endure suffering. Death isn’t the worst thing. It is better to die than be challenged. It is better to die than have difficulty and hardship. It is better to die than endure pain. This is weak and this is cowardly and it comes from a heart that loves death. There is really no circumstance where we should not seek to preserve the life of our neighbor.
“If we allow some children to die because of certain circumstances, then we become eugenecists. No better than Hitler.” – Abby Johnson
Well said. You, Abby Johnson, are no better than Hitler.