Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Don’t Need Your Ruby Slippers

It has been a rough couple of weeks thanks to the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller. By now you have probably heard of him... provider of the late term abortion. The blog-o-sphere has been burning with his name and the stories of his clients who traveled to Kansas to give what only he would take.

As many of you know, I am pro-choice. And, even if I did have a momentary lapse after looking at pictures of first trimester abortions, I have recovered. Because being pro-choice doesn’t mean that I have to think your choice (or mine) is good or even appropriate.

But if you are going to do it, be honest with yourself at least. Aborting a pregnancy, terminating a pregnancy, pregnancy interruption, losing a baby, letting it go, saving your baby from a “lifetime of suffering”... it all equals the same thing... choosing to end your baby’s life. That is a death sentence.

And I would do it.

You read that right. I know what it is like to be sitting in a doctor’s office with a belly full of broken baby. The difference was that, in my mind, my imperfect baby did not merit a place on Gordo’s broken baby list. He writes,

“If anything, late-term abortions should be less offensive, since they’re so often performed in order to save a woman from having to carry a fetus to term who has one of the following horrific conditions”

He put T21 on his “save me from this horror” list. He put my sweet baby on the hit list. When I let him know that Down syndrome is not a “horrific condition” and not worth a death sentence, he told me I must be lying about being pro-choice.

I am not lying. There are conditions on his list that I might not accept for my child. No, not the ones that are incompatible with life, like T18 or Potter’s syndrome... the other ones... the ones that are compatible... but are so very hard to live with. The truth is that I don’t know what I would do. And I will venture to suggest that you don’t either. Unless you are one of the few amazing parents out there who now know for sure, you just can’t sit back on your couch and speculate that you would choose life for any baby under any circumstance.

And why might I choose to terminate my baby? Because I am scared, selfish, ashamed, guilty, horrified... Because I have convinced myself that “letting it go” is “saving it from a life of suffering.” (Mainly my own suffering, but don’t tell me that.)

Or because I believe there are circumstances where people are better off dead.

Or because I read too much crap on the internet.

So let me say it again here on the internet, Down syndrome does not merit a death sentence. Doctors who deliver doom and gloom with a Trisomy 21 diagnosis do a terrible disservice to parents who are going through a very hard and very susceptible time.

Is my T21 girl a slow learner? Yes. At ten months old, it took her at least twenty readings of a certain book before she caught on to the game “How big is baby?” and she only throws one arm up into the air while squealing with laughter. I appreciate those who would take me to Kansas to spare me this horror, but thanks anyway, I can live with it.


JoAnn said...

Thank you so much for this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your searing honesty and intelligence.

I too am pro-choice. And a Christian. I like to think I would not choose abortion under any circumstances. But you're right...no matter how horrified we are at the very thought of abortion, we never know exactly what we would choose if we were in any particular situation, until we are there. Because we are fallible, selfish....human.

And it is so true that doctors tend to paint the blackest picture possible when they discover that something is wrong with an unborn child.

I praise the Lord that they did not know anything had gone awry with my little granddaughter/adopted daughter Emma, when she was in the womb. Her biological mother was homeless during pregnancy and so did not have pre-natal care. She probably would have terminated if she had been told that her baby had two serious (rare) conditions that resulted in a malformed brain, missing arm bones and cerebral palsy, as well as life-threatening-ly low blood platelet levels.

Emma turned 3 years old two days ago, on June 7th...she is an active happy girl with a loving heart. She loves her life, and we are very blessed to have her in ours.

Leah said...

Yeah, I wish we'd been spared the "horror" that is Down syndrome. (read that DRIPPING with sarcasm!) I'm pro-life. In my view, too many people do the "I don't know how I could do it!" when asked "what if you got a prenatal diagnosis?" Well, most of us would never have voluntarily put ourselves there, but I think most of us agree that while the road is not EASY (Hey, I've raised 5, and NONE of them were easy) it's not all doom and gloom either. Sometimes we have to do things that aren't easy in order to grow! Just my opinion, since we're sharing. ;-)

Lacey said...

It is such a hard topic. I would like to say I'm pro choice, but maybe I'm not. I do think that if a women was raped she should not have to live with that horror, but I don't think determining a medical problem gives us the right to decide life or death. of course my outlook has changed since having Jax, and I also have a best friend with a T13 little girl, also said not to be compatible with life, but she's celebrating her 3rd birthday next week. I also know a couple of T18's and other trisomies. Sheesh, its such a hard question to answer isn't it?

Billy Coffey said...

As much as I try to live in a world of black and white and right and wrong, this is just something I still struggle with. Good people can disagree on this issue and still be good people.

L.L. Barkat said...

"Broken baby list"... that phrase just filled me with sorrow.

Unknown said...

good vibes through the clicking if that is possible. new here, and can't just pass through without blessings and gratitude for your honesty in the face of such turmoil and grief.

Jennifer @ JenniferDukesLee.com said...

Your vulnerability is a rare thing.

I can't NOT think long and hard any time I stop here. You've made me do that again tonight.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that you came by and commented! I went to that blog and also commented on the post re: late abortions- feel free to check it out! I am completely with you. It is possible to believe that abortion is a cessation of life and be utterly prochoice. We make difficult life choices as we move through our lives that have tremendous impact on others lives all of the time. We make those decisions for our precious, beloved pets in the name of compassion. We make decisions for our aging parents. Ethical process is so personal and requires a soul searching inventory to be right in my opinion. I'll be back.

Far Above Rubies said...

Again, you leave me quiet and thinking.

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