Pro-life or pro-choice?
I am both.
I want to launch back into blog writing by starting a series of discussions about abortion. As a child I was taught that abortion was murder and murder was a sin, therefore, abortion was also wrong. I didn’t begin to question this until adulthood when I heard about some of the reasons for medical terminations and realised that abortion is not a black and white issue. Abortion is not always right or always wrong and ultimately, I do not believe we should ever judge the woman who has had an abortion because we have not lived their lives or walked in their shoes. I want to share some of their stories in order to broaden our views about this sensitive issue.
Sometimes there are medical reasons for having an abortion. This is better known as a medical termination. For my first blog in the series, I would like to share the story of a mother who walked this difficult path:
A woman in her early thirties who had had one miscarriage and two subsequent children, was trying to conceive another child. She underwent fertility treatments and conceived after a year. While she was pregnant she discovered that her baby had a large cystic hygroma. This is a growth on the head or neck that contains cysts that continue to multiply. The baby’s lymphatic vascular system did not develop normally. Her lungs had fluid in them and were not developing in a way that sustains life after birth. Her heart and other organs were also surrounded by fluid.
Multiple specialists gave this baby a poor prognosis. In other words, they told the mother that her baby was going to die one way or another. They said that if the baby made it to full term, they could put the baby on life support through a very complicated procedure while still in the womb. The baby’s life would be sustained by medical equipment after birth, only to die a very slow and painful death outside of the womb.
This woman and her husband made the agonising decision to have a medical termination at 15 weeks gestation. This was not an unplanned pregnancy or an unloved baby. This was a baby who was very much loved and longed for by parents who had to undergo treatment just to conceive in the first place. This was a hopeless situation in which the baby girl’s parents had to make an excruciating decision to end her life in order to spare her more pain.
So, at 15 weeks this baby was induced and born into the world to minimise her suffering as she died. Her parents held her tiny lifeform in their arms and grieved the loss of their darling daughter. They were so grateful just to meet her and have the memory of holding her. Even though they experience some guilt and, at times, a lack of support for their decision, they are convinced it was the right decision for their circumstances.
“Do what is right for your baby. Don’t listen to others who think they understand … they don’t. You cannot know how it feels until you are
faced with a choice that really isn’t a choice. You may think you
would never make the decision to terminate, but will find you change when you are presented with all the information from multiple specialists.”
The mother of this precious baby joined support groups to process all that she had gone through. She later had another healthy baby.