Friday, October 17, 2008

How Roe v. Wade Can Affect You in Ways You Couldn’t Imagine

The following was submitted by a guest blogger who chooses to remain anonymous.

I’m a married, 31 year old male with one child. By all seemingly reasonable measures, abortion should not play a role in my life. I mean, of course my wife and I would choose to have the baby if we got pregnant, even if unintentional, right? That’s what I thought, until the unthinkable occurred.

In week 13 of our first pregnancy, we learned that our unborn child had a serious medical condition: gastroschisis. Gastroschisis is when the intestines form outside the abdomen wall, rendering them exposed upon birth. The situation is quite severe, yet typically fixable with one or two surgeries and a few months in the hospital. It was a no-brainer: we’d go ahead and have the child.

In week 20, we returned for a full anatomy scan where the doctor recommended that a specialist take a closer look at our baby’s heart. In week 22, we learned that our child was suffering from a number of grave heart conditions that would require multiple open-heart surgeries immediately after birth. Compounding this surgery, on top of the procedures to fix the gasrtoschisis which was reprioritized due to the heart, the outlook was poor. Nobody was willing to give us a direct answer, but we were basically told that there was a very reasonable chance the baby would not live long after birth. And even if so, the quality of our child’s life would have been questionable at best.

We decided to do the unthinkable: abort the pregnancy in the 23rd week. We did the right thing for us and our soon-to-be son. It’s a terribly unfortunate story, and my wife and I will never be the same. On the bright side though, there is a happy ending as we now are parents to a beautiful baby girl.

Regardless of where you stand in regards to Roe v. Wade, I hope my story offers you new perspective on the issue. We are all pro-life and we are all anti-abortion – the debate is really about choice. So don’t let yourself be fooled by meaningless political trademarks that would have you believe abortion is always a bad thing. As difficult as it may be for many of us to admit, terminating a pregnancy is sometimes necessary. Whether single or married – this personal issue has very real implications for everybody who is thinking (and not thinking) about having children. Choice should reside with parents, not government, as they know what’s best for their own child.


At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened upon your posting as I was reading some political articles concerning abortion. I understand that the prognosis for your baby was not good, but what struck me was how you said that the baby would probably have a poor quality of life and not live long after birth. However, how could you know for sure? There has to be a small part of you that regrets your decision. I type this as I hold my five month old, and I simply cannot imagine ending his life no matter how sick he was. When his life ends is not for me to decide. It comes down to the fact that you chose for him to die rather than giving him a chance to live first. A baby is always a baby, a human life from God, no matter how sick they are. It is for God to decide when a life should end. I understand not everyone is a believer, but after witnessing the birth of your daughter, it had to have crossed your mind.

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you make an excellent point that we are all pro-life and anti-abortion, why would any of us want to end a life. This is about choice which for you and your wife must have been heart breaking and huge, and my thoughts and well wishes are with you. Congrats on the birth of your other child.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I strongly agree that no matter what your stance is on the issue, it is NOT for the government to decide. The role of government ought to be providing enough resources for the parent(s) to be able to make whatever decision is right - both for themselves as well as in ethical terms. That is not the case today. If vehement pro-life advocates really want to have an effect on reducing the number of abortions in this country, they ought to be supporting much more extensive government services that would help the parents.

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was the writer of this piece and wanted to thank the three of you for your responses.

Regarding the first comment, I just want to give a little further insight into my thought process. To reiterate, our baby would likely not have lived to see his first birthday. And even if so, his quality of life would very likely have been poor at best. Is there a chance that he would have lived and recovered fully from all of this? I suppose, but that wasn't in the realm of realistic possibilities according to the doctors. And I'm not a believer in miracles - I go with science. And the best scientific or medical opinion available dictated that our son had a 100% chance of suffering, with an ever so slight chance of living a painful, shortened life. And for what it's worth, those opinions came from one of the best hospitals in the country located in New York City.

Again, it was a painful decision, but to me it wasn't really a decision. Instead, it was just a tragic occurrence with only one reasonable conclusion. Do I regret anything? Of course not - it wasn't my or my wife's fault. Things just happen sometimes. And every day I look at my healthy daughter, I am reaffirmed that we did the right thing.


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