Wednesday, August 03, 2005
  Susan Torres, May She Rest In Peace










Susan Torres was a 26-year old mother to two-year old Peter and a vaccine researcher at NIH in Virginia. On May 7th, Susan, who was 17 weeks pregnant, collapsed. She was diagnosed with stage four melanoma and her family was given no hope for her recovery. Her husband Jason and her family made the difficult decision to keep Susan on life support until her baby could be safely delivered.

Yesterday, August 2, Susan Anne Catherine Torres was delivered by Caesarean section. Baby Susan weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces and was 13.5 inches long. There were no complications and she appears healthy. Of course, being so tiny, she will be monitored in the neonatal intensive care unit for some time.

Susan's husband, Jason Torres, had quit his job in order to stay by his wife's side. Shortly after his daughter's birth Jason gave his consent for Susan to be removed from life support. The family bade goodbye to Susan Wednesday morning as final sacraments of the Catholic church were given.

Before the birth of his niece and his sister's death, Justin Torres of The Fact Is wrote,
"In this midst of this tragedy and the grief that lingers like a context, like a fog, over every conversation and meal and moment in the hospital, we have hope. Doctors believe that they may be able to save this baby, keeping Susan alive long enough to deliver the child prematurely. It is no more than a fighting chance, far less than a certainty, that the baby will live. But we have hope. Keeping this baby alive is Susan's last act of love, one that has been tremendously moving to watch even as it makes you question everything you thought you knew about the fundamental justice of the world.

But this is where abortion, and the utilitarian mindset that it engenders concerning the sanctity of human life, steals its way into this tragedy. I think of it as "the moment," the little whisper of hesitation, shared not just by the doctors but even by my family. It's the moment in which you think, is this right? Are we doing the right thing? Wouldn't it just be better to let go, start over, find closure?

Once the soothing clich├ęs start, it is difficult to make them stop. You have to force yourself to remember: this is a child's life. And children are always a good thing, devoutly to be wished for and fiercely to be fought for.

For my family, the moment was no more than a hiccup. Still, it is clear that for some of the doctors involved in this case, the decisions my brother and Susan's parents have made are foolish. That is the effect of abortion: that it has in various, subtle ways sapped the intrinsic human impulse to fight for the good of children.

I don't wish to be too harsh, and I certainly do not wish to suggest that these doctors - many of whom have taken enormous and personal interest in Susan's case - are in any way agents of the culture of death. These doctors are trained to assess chances and deploy resources where they are most effective. I respect that. We are here to fight; it's their job to tell us the truth and give us their realistic assessment. And many of them are fighting alongside us, to my immense gratitude.

But I wonder. Fifty years ago, medicine could not have done what we are trying to do. But I suspect that if it could have been done, no one then would have hesitated. The answer would have been, Of course, we must try to save the child, because saving children is what medicine is meant to do.

Thirty years after Roe, we have not yet fully come to understand all the ways that abortion has distorted our culture, coarsened it, made it less loving and less noble. The moment of hesitation I describe is the culture of death whispering insinuations at us. It is important that we continue to shout truth from the rooftops to drown out its voice."
A fund was established to help defray expenses not covered by insurance. You can still give to The Susan M. Torres Fund.
 
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Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.

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