A hard case, with clearly defined moral answers


Recently a judge granted an exception to Texas’s 6-week abortion ban to Kate Cox, who is 20 weeks pregnant and whose baby has been diagnosed with trisomy 18, a severe genetic birth defect.

First, I want to say I have all the sympathy in the world for the mother. Knowing your child has such a serious condition has got to be one of the most frightening things a mother can go through. That being said, no condition justifies the intentional killing of an innocent human life. That is a bedrock principle that any truly just and compassionate society should base itself on.

Unfortunately, we obfuscate that simple principle by using vague and misleading language about abortion and the issues that surround it. So, I want to re-assert this principle at the outset.

Back to Mrs. Cox’s predicament: not only has her child been diagnosed with a horrible disease, but she also has had to visit the emergency room twice with severe cramping and “unidentifiable fluid leaks.” And doctors contend that going through with the pregnancy might result in “severe complications threatening her life and future fertility.” (NOTE: since I originally wrote this, the Texas Supreme Court has denied Mrs. Cox’s request because her claim that her life was at stake was not substantiated. It seems now that she plans on going to another state to kill her baby.)

This indeed is one of those “hard cases” that pro-abortion advocates use to justify abortion for any and all cases, which is one of the many problems with their argumentation.

If you say to a pro-choicer, “I will agree to banning abortion except in cases of incent, rape, and threats to the life of the mother,” they will never agree to that because the vast majority of them and their Democratic allies in government have made it clear they want abortion legal for any reason throughout the term of the pregnancy.

Therefore, please keep in mind that they are using this case not so much to highlight the needs of women such as Mrs. Cox as they are to legalize abortion in general.

But back to the particulars of this case. If Mrs. Cox is saying that abortion should be allowed when a child has been diagnosed with a disease, I must disagree. That mentality leads directly to a kind of eugenics that was supposedly delegitimized in the middle of the last century given how it led to nations aborting and killing not only diseased unborn children, but whole classes of people, most notably the Jews. We all know, however, that such murderous mentalities are not a thing of the past, as we have seen with Hamas’ murders of innocent Israelis and their demented vocal supporters in our country.

Plus, trisomy 18 is not an automatic death sentence for children. If the child survives birth and receives proper care, they can survive and live a quality life. Unfortunately, doctors tend to obfuscate this fact and instead insist that it is better to just abort the child or even deny it oxygen after it has been born. Yet another sad and dark legacy of our culture of death.

But, you say, what about the “life” of the mother? Here is a very important point: the pro-life position is not that it’s ok for the woman to die in order to carry a child to full term. No. If a procedure is really and truly necessary to save the life of the mother but as a side effect results in the death of the baby, that is morally acceptable.

It is only when the primary purpose of the procedure is the intentional killing of the child that it becomes morally unacceptable.

This may sound like semantics or word games, but it is a solid moral argument. When we fought WWII and were trying to defeat the Nazis, many innocent civilians were killed. Their deaths were indeed tragic, but their deaths were not the goal of the allied forces, just a very unfortunate consequence of that effort.

Same goes here. Plus, if we’re talking about the health of the mother, Mrs. Cox’s baby is at 21 weeks by now, which would require a gruesome dilation and extraction abortion where the baby’s body parts are ripped apart and its skull crushed. This procedure can also often result in harm to the mother (not to mention the child) and negatively impact future fertility and overall health.

Often when a child has trisomy 18, they die before being born, which results in miscarriage or stillbirth. While both of these results are also tragic and potentially dangerous for the mother, they have none of the moral culpability that abortion has. If the child is delivered and dies of natural causes, it is tragic, but much less tragic than if the death had resulted from the mother and doctor cooperating to intentionally kill the baby.

The hard fact is that pregnancy is a difficult, potentially hazardous condition for the mother. We rightly use medicine to minimize her risk and suffering as well as increase the chances of a healthy birth. That is the true purpose of medicine.

But in this case, medicine is not being used to ensure the health of the mother and child, but to kill the child. That is a fundamental perversion of the discipline and results in our society being less good, less caring, and less noble.

I will pray for Mrs. Cox, her baby, her husband and her family in general as they now move forward with the intentional killing of their unborn child. They may think this is the “best” solution, but I fear they will discover the opposite is true and that the emotional, spiritual and psychological damage cannot be undone.

Such are the wages of our sinful and confused culture. The Coxes and many more thousands and millions suffer as a result.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.


  1. Usually this time of year Trey sends a Christmas letter with a wish for peace on earth and goodwill to men. What a shock to see this mess from him instead …

    The very fact that Trey knows all these details about a stranger’s complicated pregnancy (and sees fit to gossip about them in an online forum!) should make it very clear that this “debate” has gone way too far in America … I know Trey can’t manage the support and respect Suz mentions — but can he at least manage “privacy” and allow women’s bodies to belong to themselves and agree this issue is NONE OF HIS BUSINESS?

    When you experience an unwanted pregnancy, Trey, then you can weigh in on the subject, for yourself. Until then, stop proclaiming your opinion which you aren’t even entitled to have.

    And because Trey is apparently too angry this year to say it …

    Joyous Noel, PTC!

  2. Every time I think that Mr. Hoffman has sunk as low as possible, he proves me wrong. If anyone can find an ounce of compassion in this letter for this forlorn Texas mother who is struggling just to maintain her health and humanity, then you have a vivid imagination.

    For Trey to send this caustic missive merely days before Christmas is even more abhorrent. His god will have to offer him absolution because this insensitivity is beyond a human’s ability to forgive. Can his lust for dominating women ever be satisfied?

    • …oh, Trey…
      I understand your opinions and beliefs on terminating a pregnancy.
      You have elucidated on them often enough.
      Not everyone agrees with you. Including me.

      The decision in this case is not yours or mine.
      It is up to Mrs. Cox, with the advice of her physician.
      This is exactly as it should be.
      For all women, and for all of the health care decisions they face.

      Privacy, support, and respect would be a welcome change from your condemnation.

      Talk about a Christmas miracle!