The Ethics of Choice
Women’s reproductive health care has been a hot topic in the media of late. In the U.S. especially, right wing politicians are working extra-hard to roll back our access to contraception, abortion, cancer screenings, and information. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and news articles related to all these topics, but the one I read today really stood out. It’s not a polarizing opinion piece, written from a position of abstraction, but Mira Ptacin’s beautifully written personal account of making the choice to have a late-term abortion. An excerpt:
“All is lost. All is not lost. This is what I thought as the needle went into my belly during the amniocentesis that immediately followed the ultrasound. It’s what I repeated in my head moments after the amniocentesis as we met with the genetic counselor, Dr. Iglesias, who explained the scientific facts of what may have gone wrong during the baby girl’s development in my womb. We were in his office, and it smelled like lettuce and mayonnaise and the rest of the lunch he had just finished. Dr. Iglesias sketched out the twenty-three chromosomes. They looked like Cheetos. “It could have been chromosome number 3, or 7, or 21, or 23,” he told us, pointing at his drawings with his pen.
“Purely a genetic fluke, nothing you could have done,” said Dr. Iglesias, who then asked for our family medical histories, and our medical histories. He handed us pens. We were confused, shaken, tired. “If it doesn’t die before you deliver it, it will have very serious problems,” he said. “It would likely not achieve consciousness and certainly would not live without some kind of extraordinary intervention.” That’s when I was given three choices: terminate the pregnancy now, do nothing and likely miscarry, or induce and deliver vaginally a baby who will die or be dead. Terminate. Miscarry. Induce.”
It gave me a lot to think about and illustrated how the decision to have an abortion (or not) is never made lightly. Read the whole piece here.
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