This post is about birth defects, and abortion. Strong opinions and upsetting subjects are aired within. Please don’t read on if you are easily upset.
A minor in Ireland has been prevented from leaving the country in order to obtain an abortion. That’s a pretty awful story, but that sort of thing is probably quite common in countries that do not allow elective terminations. The complicating factor in this case is that the foetus has a condition that means it cannot live for more than a few days after birth.
Nobody wants to have an abortion. Nobody seeks out the experience. Nobody has the procedure and then gets on with their life without consequences, depression, insomnia, feelings of worthlessness, fear for future fertility – there are many and varied repercussions, most of them long term, and very unpleasant. It is a painful, and impossibly difficult choice for most women, and none of us has the right to judge from outside.
But surely, even the most rabid right to lifer has to admit that giving birth to a child without a brain, that cannot survive a week after birth, is far worse?
As I prepare for my 12 week scan, the scan that will give me a probability that Ampersand has a serious genetic problem, these sorts of issues have been in my mind a lot. Even though I have a very fixed idea of what I will do if the baby has a serious problem, it is not a decision I could take lightly, and I could never tell another woman how she should react in similar circumstances.
A decision like this is for each of us to make on our own, with our own individual circumstances. None of us could say how we would feel, or what we would do in these devastating circumstances, but my heart goes out to this young girl who has had this difficult choice taken away from her.