Monday, January 26, 2009

FAQs in response to hypothetical comments

1. How could you possible not know that you were pregnant, and so very pregnant at that?
• I had a simultaneous illness that “masked” many of the symptoms
• I gained virtually no weight and continued to fit in regular clothes
• I still experienced period like bleeding
• Every pregnancy is different. In my first I had almost no nausea, my second an average amount of nausea and my third so much nausea that I required medications. This pregnancy my major “symptoms” (in retrospect) were heartburn and vertigo.

2. But you are so “far” in your pregnancy!
• First, I believe that life begins at birth. Lines in the sand are just that, shifting philosophical boundaries that I think each person has the right to determine for herself based on religion, biology, philosophy, whatever. Being “closer” or “further” for me is relative. More than half way and I would have considered continuing the pregnancy. I have absolutely no justification for my line. It is just mine.
• While some 1970s feminist fantasized about an “artificial” womb that could replace the uterus, so far as I know, even if I hit the magical marker of fetal viability at 24 weeks (which does not take into account the low survival/high complication rate for premature fetuses) I would not be able to find a doctor to deliver me at 24 weeks. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology explicitly precludes inducing birth prior to 37 weeks without medical justification.

3. I’m pretty sure you are going to hell, eternal damnation, fill in the blank torture, but I will pray for you.
• Thanks for your concern. Please flip to the concordance in your Bible. See “judge not” and “casting stones.”
• Perhaps instead of harassing women about their choices, you should
a) spend your time rocking crack babies at the local hospital
b) become a licensed foster parent and/or start adopting unwanted children
c) contemplate sterilization so you do not spread your views to the next generation.

4. Aren’t you worried about being plagued by a lifetime of regret/remorse/guilt?
• No. In addition to teaching the abortion debate for decades, I have been through abortions with friends and students. Relief is the predominant emotion these women felt. I have no doubt that women who are pressured into abortion or who hold religious/moral beliefs that are in conflict with the idea of abortion may experience regret/remorse/guilt. However, assuming that a causal relationship exists between having an abortion and the production of regret/remorse/guilt is weak logic.
• Ironically, I now realize that I began the process of making this decision for myself during prenatal testing in prior pregnancies. There is no point in undergoing prenatal screening unless you know what you will do with that knowledge. I thought through my ethics in a much more concrete fashion during those pregnancies.
• I suppose the benefit of being forty years old and in this unenviable situation is that I am aware that even the worst times in life are survivable. I am certain that this abortion will not rank as the most difficult decision of my life. I know its hard to believe if you are 20 and reading this, but sadly it is true. Life can suck really badly at times.

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