St. Luke’s Hospital (Woodlands, Texas) recently told its newborn photographer, Jennie Drude, she was no longer welcome to provide her services to families at their facility. This decision came about when Jennie informed one of her photography clients of her legal rights to stand up to a doctor who was pressuring her to murder the handicapped infant in her womb.
This mother’s baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a rare brain condition in which babies are born without parts of their brain and skull. No known cure or treatment exists for anencephaly, and almost every baby born with it dies within hours after birth.
For grieving families, these few hours are a precious time to share with their dying babies. Jennie lost two of her own six children to anencephaly, and as a photographer now seeks to help families record these cherished hours. She and her husband have become advocates for families who lose their children to anencephaly. Because she was also pressured to abort her babies, Jennie possesses a unique understanding of parental rights in such situations.
Below is a video Jennie and her husband made to commemorate their firstborn, who died of anencephaly. It is beautiful and life-affirming.
Watch: Remembering Dharma Lucille
While this video honors the God-given value of a dying baby’s life, there are those who would rather such suffering infants be killed and disposed of, the sooner the better. Such was the mindset of the doctor who had been treating Jenni’s photography client, “Sandy.” As Jenni sympathized, Sandy relayed that her doctor was presenting her limited options, and Jenni informed her of her rights.
Days later, at St. Luke’s Hospital, Dr. Gibson told Sandy she should get an abortion, and presented a plan to refer her to another hospital to receive an injection that would make her baby’s heart stop beating. The doctor then explained St. Luke’s could not deliver this injection but would perform the delivery of her dead infant if another hospital administered the shot. This suggestion horrified Sandy. When she protested, Dr. Gibson shouted at the already distressed mother.
Later, armed with her legal options, Sandy requested a “compassionate induction,” a procedure that induces labor and allows the parents unlimited time with their baby. When Sandy met again with Dr. Gibson, she claims the doctor called her a “liar” for not following her directives and repeatedly asked: “Who gave you this information? I think I know where this came from.”
Dr. Gibson had delivered two of Jennie’s children born with the same condition and knew of her compassion for families in this situation. Soon after this confrontation, Jennie received a call from St. Luke’s administration informing her she was no longer welcome at their hospital.
Jennie says loosing this job feels like a slap in the face. “I have often said St. Luke’s in the Woodlands is my happy place. It’s the only place in the world I have seen all six of my children.”
In a world where wrong is right and right is wrong, the life-affirming photographer who brought hope to this family and hundreds of others is fired, while the murdering doctor continues to practice “medicine.” We pray for the day when such things will no longer be.